Healing Leaves

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Revelation 22:1-2

And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (v. 2)

The Bible begins and ends with rivers and begins and ends with trees. In Genesis 2 we read of four rivers and two trees. In Revelation 22 we find one river and one tree.

As in Ezekiel 47, the river of the water of life flows, bright as crystal, from the throne of God and the Lamb. This life-giving river rushes right through the middle of Main Street, and on both sides is the tree of life.

This tree puts forth twelve kinds of fruit, one for each month, so there is always food to eat. And the leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations. Think of the ways trees have been used destructively in the past. To make battering rams to lay siege to medieval cities. To make sailing masts for colonial warships. To make paper for propaganda that fuels the fires of ethnic cleansing and human hate. This tree, the text makes clear, is for the healing of the nations. This tree is for shalom.

Chances are that in your medicine cabinet right now half the drugs are from the natural world. Plants provide natural cures for all kinds of ailments, like rosy periwinkle (Catharanthus roseum syn. Vinca Rosea) for Hodgkin’s disease. A foretaste of God’s good future perhaps?


Great Physician, make us healers of all that breaks shalom.