Rivers and Trees

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Revelation 22:1-5

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (vv. 1-2)

The Bible begins and ends with rivers and trees. Have you noticed? The Bible begins (Genesis 1-2) and ends (Revelation 21-22) with rivers and trees.

Way back in Genesis we were told a tale of two trees. Now in Revelation we find one of those trees smack dab in the center of the renewed and perfected heaven-on-earth. In the middle of this garden-city is the tree of life, with twelve kinds of fruit, food for each month. In God’s good future, there always is something to eat, no one goes hungry, all are fed.

And the leaves of this great tree are for the healing of the nations. No more trees used as weapons to kill or destroy. This tree is for the reconciliation of all peoples. This tree is for the flourishing of life. In this city stands a tree and flows a river so that all things are nourished, so that all things are the way they are supposed to be, so that shalom may be fully realized. —Steven Bouma-Prediger

Prayer: God of restoration and renewal, help us rest in the promise of the resurrection and in the vision of this redeemed city, with its tree of life.