From the time God planted the garden of Eden, rivers have played a major role in human history in every culture. The first mention is recorded in Genesis saying: “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four head waters.”
The mention of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates could possibly mean that Eden was somewhere in the Middle East.
Before we see the rest of the historic rivers there are two other rivers that need mention. One is the river of life. The Book of Ezekiel talks about water coming from under the threshold of the temple and flowing east and growing in depth with distance. It was said of it: “Where the river flows everything will live.” It was looking forward to the day when the gospel would flow out from Jerusalem in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit.
Read along with this Jesus’ proclamation that streams of living water would flow from within the one of whoever believed in Him. Revelation completes the picture drawn by Ezekiel saying that: “The river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” was flowing “down the middle of the great street of the city.” Surely this was what the Psalmist talked about: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God!”
But then there is another river. Only one mention of it occurs in the Bible in the Book of Daniel. Daniel had seen a vision of God and His throne. He described God as the Ancient of Days. There he saw a river–a river of fire which was flowing coming out from before Him! It describes the awesome majesty and glory of our God!
Coming to historical and spiritual significance River Jordan surpasses every other river. It was this river that was split to let the Israelites pass on dry ground. Thus they entered Canaan at Gilgal where the history of their nation begins.
It was the River Jordan where Jesus was baptized. In the Book of Colossians Paul explains the significance of the act of baptism for us: “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”
So it symbolizes your being crucified to the world and dying to sin, being buried with Christ, and again being raised up with him. River Jordan also symbolizes the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus for it was here that Naaman the Syrian was healed of his leprosy by dipping himself in it seven times.
The Book of Zechariah beautifully proclaims, “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David, . . . to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” Have you been cleansed in this fountain?
If you look forward there is going to be drying up of the River Euphrates to prepare the way for the kings from the East to do battle against God Almighty.
Ezekiel by River Kebar and Daniel by River Tigris had great visions of heaven being opened and of heavenly messengers.
The people of Israel sat and wept ``By the rivers of Babylon” when they remembered Zion as they were carried into captivity and exile. This happened when their tormentors asked them to sing one of the “songs of Zion.”
In the Book of Acts. Paul has a vision to travel to Macedonia. On his way, he and his companions went outside the Philippi city gate to the river to find a place of prayer. There they sat down and began to speak to the women gathered there and the Lord opened the heart of a woman named Lydia to respond to Paul’s message.
A river can be a place of significance in your life too!