Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb...(Revelation 22:1)It's amazing how studying the most arcane doctrines can yield inspirational truths. I'm nearly half way through The Trinity, an apologetic work written by three seminary profs who take on the anti-Trinitarian tendencies found in some Adventist groups, the JWs, the Unitarians, etc. So far it has helped me to better understand the Biblical evidence for the trinity, but at the end of the chapter "Trinitarian Evidences in the Book of Revelation" I found something awesome.
Revelation 21:9-22:5 symbolically describes the glorious church descending out of Heaven to inherit the Earth through her relationship with Jesus. It is called New Jerusalem, except that unlike the old Jerusalem it has no temple. This is because the city itself is a temple, a sanctuary having the same cubic proportions as the Most Holy Place in the temples of ancient Israel (Rev. 21:16, 1 Ki. 6:20, Eze. 41:4).
Now if this tripartite symmetry reflects a triune God we should expect to find evidence that the three Persons of the Trinity dwell within this metaphorical temple. The passage is littered with references to "God and the Lamb", which of course refer to the Father and the Son. But where is the Holy Spirit?
Read the passage at the beginning of this post again. Did you catch it? Now check out these passages.
For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants.(Isaiah 44:3)
If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within." When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him.(John 7:38,39a)The Holy Spirit is the river that flows from the throne to feed the tree of life and give life to the inhabitants of the city. What a beautiful symbol! It fits perfectly with the function of the Holy Spirit who makes what the Father and Son do in the throne room a life giving reality in the hearts of believers (see this study).
It's hard to put into words how I feel about this image of the Holy Spirit. It's like I imagine diving into Him and drinking up God's refreshing love. This song says it best:
I Can Hear Your Voice
Michael W. Smith
I'm in the river that flows from your throne
Water of Life
Water of Life
It covers me and I breathe again
Your love is breath to my soul
I can hear Your voice as You sing over me
It's Your song of hope breathing life into me
I can feel Your touch as I come close to You
And it heals my heart
You restore and renew