River of the Water of Life

RIVER OF THE WATER OF LIFE… the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. (Revelation 22:1b-2a)

The river that watered the Garden of Eden separated into four as it flowed out of the garden. “The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah. The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates” (Genesis 2:10–14).(1) Josephus claimed (Antiquities 1.1.3, 38) that the garden in Eden was watered by one earth-encircling river that divided into four parts: Ganges, Euphrates, Tigris and Nile.(2)

There is only one river in the New Jerusalem. Ezekiel was also shown a purifying river flowing from the temple (Ezekiel 47). But that was most likely a Millennial scene since there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem, “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.(3) The river in the New Jerusalem is described by:

Its Source (“from the throne of God and the Lamb”) – All the grace, comfort, and glory that we experience are in God, streaming from Him through the mediation of the Lamb.

Its Quality (“as clear as crystal”) – Even the purest streams on earth today have some degree of contamination. In contrast, this stream is clear, refreshing, life-giving, and life-preserving.(4)

While this may be a literal river, its it full of symbolism as well. Out of the throne of God will flow pure water (“living water”), symbolic of the holiness and purity of God and the city. The water flows down the middle of the great street (the Greek word refers to a major broad street)(5) of the city. Thus, it apparently refers to a main thoroughfare in the New Jerusalem coming from the throne of God.(6)

The waters of New Jerusalem can also represent the glory of the Gospel. Its continuous flow from God symbolizes the uninterrupted continuance of living water derived that is forever fresh and satisfying (we shall never thirst). It is symbolic of life that is full of joy and that is perpetually vital. Like pure crystal, it is free from any kind of taint.(7)

Up Next – The Tree of Life.



  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 624). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 22:1). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 624). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 2485). Peabody: Hendrickson.
  5. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Re 22:2). Biblical Studies Press.
  6. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 987). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  7. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 603). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Author: thebrewisamusing

I was raised in a Christian family and my earliest childhood memories include regular Sunday school and Church attendance as a family. I was taught that our Judeo-Christian values were not just a part of our Sunday routine they should be part of our character and influence all aspects of our lives. I was also taught that as important as these values were they could not save us. We must also be “born again” by accepting Christ.

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