The River of Life begins in Genesis and runs throughout the Bible. It is seen for the last time in Revelation 22. It is a frequent type of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to it in John 7:38-39 when He says that out of the believer shall flow rivers of living water—spoken with reference to the gift of the Spirit. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so if He saw the baptism of the Holy Spirit when in the flesh under the emblem of rivers flowing out of the soul—then it is the same which He saw at the creation of the world:
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads: the name of the first is PISON…and the Name of the second river is GIHON…and the Name of the third river is HIDDEKEL…and the fourth river is EUPHRATES.” -Genesis 2:10-14
The one river with its four streams corresponds to the gift of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The manifestations of the gift come out in streams as given by the same Spirit but different operations (I Cor.12: 4-13). The streams reflect the maturity or growth of the individual.
The name of the first river is PISON which means overflowing or covering. When our heart is cleansed by faith and we are saved, the river begins to flow ever so gently. The soul is like dry ground—so grateful to drink of the fresh overflow of water.
The second river is GIHON which means bursting out or breaking forth. When applied to the soul, it is the intense desire to pour forth the joy of the Lord in praise, thanksgiving, and Preaching. As the waters gather momentum while flowing through a narrow channel, they cut a wider and wider path. This water in the heart bursts forth as the Spirit gives expression or utterance.
The third river is the HIDDEKEL, which is equivalent to our rapids! It means active or vehement. How many a person has experienced the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, only to find that new boldness of testimony that just pours forth. One can ride the rapids without sinking, but it usually results in a few incidents of being thrown overboard and getting wet.
The fourth and final branch of this river is the EUPHRATES, which literally means His Sweet Waters. How refreshing is that quiet stream that warms and saturates the whole being with the sweet spirit of Jesus, and brings us into His Presence.
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God…” -Psalm 46:4
We are the city of God and this River of Life flows into us from the Throne of God.” Its streams (the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates) create the emotion, the passion in our lives. They elicit the feelings that come as we go to the throne and allow this River to flow into us, then out from us!
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come,’ and let him that hears say, Come, and let him that is thirsty come…” -Revelation 22:17
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest (Presence of God) by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” -Hebrews 10:19-22
Come to the throne! Come and drink of that pure water! Come and be washed in that crystal clear water! Come frequently, not just once in a while. We don’t want the water to stagnate in us. We need the river to continually flow through us—to be a channel for it to get
to others. Jesus told the woman at the well that He would give her water which would cause her never to thirst again.
Come on up to my Throne, my people
I delight in your presence with Me.
Come on up, sit with Me in high places
I will meet your every need.
Here in the heavenlies, you may linger
Here at My Side, you may stay.
Then all else will grow dim and silent,
Come to Me, to My Throne, Come away!
Sing, oh sing, in My Name, my people.
I receive your praises with joy.
Come closer yet, oh how I love you!
I rejoice over you, oh come to Me!
-Words and Music by Yvonne Karl
Jesus, our King and Bridegroom, desires to fellowship with us, His bride. He longs just as much to have that relationship with us, as we long to have it with Him. He knows we are thirsty, and urges us to come to Him for a drink!
“I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely; let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely…” -Revelation 21:7; 22:17
The last invitation that Jesus gives in His Word is COME TO THE WATER!—to the River of Life, the streams whereof will make us glad! He sent the Holy Spirit to draw us to that River, and then causes it to flow into us and out of us. When Jesus died on the cross for us, this River flowed out of Him as water and blood poured from His side. The River of Life continues to flow freely! Come!
Come experience the Pison (the gentle cleansing of salvation); the Gihon (the exciting, bursting forth of the Holy Spirit); the Hiddekel (the bold, active ministry of the Holy Spirit); and the Euphrates (warm, sweet Presence of the Lord).
“He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, ‘out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,’ but this he spoke of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…” -John 7:38-39.
When we find ourselves dry and thirsty, in need of spiritual water to quench that thirst, we just remember that all we have to do is COME! The water is always flowing freely. We may experience it directly from God Himself as we worship Him and rest in His Presence; or we may experience it as it flows from a brother or sister in the Lord who has been in His Presence. Wherever this water is, we will find its “streams make us glad!” We will let it flow out of ourselves onto others and then we can sing to them:
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see; Opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.
C. Yvonne Karl, Volume 2, Number 3, (c)1987