Reflection on Ezekiel 47:1-14

“And he brought me again to the gate of the house, and behold waters issued out from under the threshold of the house toward the east: for the forefront, of the house looked toward the east: but the waters came down to the right side of the temple to the south part of the altar. And he led me out by the way of the north gate, and he caused me to turn to the way without the outward gate to the way that looked toward the east: and behold there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went out towards the east, he measured a thousand cubits: and he brought me through the water up to the ankles. And again he measured a thousand, and he brought me through the water up to the knees. And he measured a thousand and he brought me through the water up to the loins. And he measured a thousand, and it was a torrent, which I could not pass over: for the waters were risen so as to make a deep torrent, which could not be passed over. And he said to me: Surely thou hast seen, O son of man. And he brought me out, and he caused me to turn to the bank of the torrent. And when I had turned myself, behold on the bank of the torrent were very many trees on both sides. And he said to me: These waters that issue forth toward the hillocks of sand to the east, and go down to the plains of the desert, shall go into the sea, and shall go out, and the waters shall be healed. And every living creature that creepeth whithersoever the torrent shall come, shall live: and there shall be fishes in abundance after these waters shall come thither, and they shall be healed, and all things shall live to which the torrent shall come. And the fishers shall stand over these waters, from Engaddi even to Engallim there shall be drying of nets: there shall be many sorts of the fishes thereof, as the fishes of the great sea, a very great multitude:But on the shore thereof, and in the fenny places they shall not be healed, because they shall be turned into saltpits.  And by the torrent on the banks thereof on both sides shall grow all trees that bear fruit: their leaf shall not fall off, and their fruit shall not fail: every month shall they bring forth firstfruits, because the waters thereof shall issue out of the sanctuary: and the fruits thereof shall be for food, and the leaves thereof for medicine.  Thus saith the Lord God: This is the border, by which you shall possess the land according to the twelve tribes of Israel: for Joseph hath a double portion. And you shall possess it, every man in like manner as his brother: concerning which I lifted up my hand to give it to your fathers: and this land shall fall unto you for a possession.” (Ezekiel 47:1-14)

Literal Sense: Ezekiel experienced a very mysterious vision of water, trees and the land of Israel, all which are types of spiritual realities.

Allegorical Sense:  The water is a symbol of the washing of baptism, the trees of those who have been baptized and the land of Israel of heaven.

The water flowing from the right side of the Temple represents the water which flowed from the right side of Christ while he was on the cross.

Ezekiel was covered in the waters and then was said to have been able to see, and in the same way once we are washed with the waters of baptism we are able to spiritually see, that is to discern between good and evil.

Ezekiel’s fishers which stand over the waters are the Apostles who were likened to fishers of men (Matthew 4:19) and who stood over the waters of baptism and brought many people to glory.

As there were many trees on the banks of the waters which bore fruit that did not fail, the waters of baptism makes those who are blessed like a “tree which is planted near the running waters, which shall bring forth its fruit, in due season. And his leaf shall not fall off: and all whosoever he shall do shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3)  Such a blessed one is strenghtened and sustained by the grace of their baptism, as a tree is strengthened and sustained by water and their righteous works, the fruit of the Spirit, do not fail in meriting heaven, as Ezekiels trees are said to have fruit which do not fail.

Ezekiel saw the borders of the promised land after being covered with water and seeing trees which bore fruit.  In a similar way, those who have been baptized with water are shown the way to heaven by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

Moral Sense:  These things instruct us to be faithful to our baptism and bear fruit that does not fail.

Anagogical Sense:  If we bear good fruit after our baptism, we will inherit the promised land, which represents heaven.

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