1 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 2 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. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22:1-5 ESV)
The heavenly home that God has promised to those who love him is without comparison on this earth. No island resort or king’s palace can compete with the great garden-city that our Lord has crafted to be the everlasting place of rest for his saints.
Inside the massive walls of the New Jerusalem runs the grand promenade. And down the middle of this street, flows the river of life, whose waters sparkle with the brilliance of crystal, so pure and clear that if you were to dip your hand in it, you would not be able to tell that your hand were underwater save for the fact that you felt it was wet! And the water of this river flows forever and is more pure than the ice-cold glacier water of the mountains because it contains the very essence of life itself (22:1). No earthly water that we have ever tasted can compare to this perpetual fountain of youth, for its source is none other than the throne of the eternal God whose strength will never fade and who dwells in brilliant, unapproachable light. The water is the unceasing flow of immortality that all saints great and small will drink from. And they shall rest on the river’s beautiful banks in peaceful days that will never again be marked with hurry or anxiety—endless days that will never again know suffering, sickness, or the pain of death, surrounded by loved ones with eyes brighter than they ever were in life. The faces of our brothers and sisters will have none of the wrinkles and creases that belonged to our former manner life, but instead will ever be ready with smiles of rapturous joy. Their voices will sound with laughter and without any hint of sadness or mourning. And their bodies! They are ageless and perfect bodies full of vitality, strength, and perpetual youth. Never again will we speak of doctors, hospitals or medical devices, except to jest with one another.
And the tree of life will no longer be blocked by the fearsome angelic warrior with his flaming sword, but will yield its delicious fruit that we will freely consume from the King’s orchard. How strange to think that we will be able to eat without purchasing from this marvelous tree that does not produce but one kind of fruit, but twelve! How marvellously abundant is the provision of God that we saints should be able to sink our teeth into the fruit of the tree of life that shall change its shape and taste each month but never lose its key nutrient of immortality.
But as wonderful as the gifts of unending prosperity and peace are, there is one greater gift still—the presence of our Lord God himself. On the day when ours eyes close to this world, they shall open in the King’s country. And though we will see many unimaginable sights, the greatest delight to our eyes will be what old Simeon longed to see—the face of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
And in that day, we will no longer walk by faith, but we shall walk by sight. For we shall see Him as He is. We will see Him who loved us before the ages began, and we shall hear the familiar voice of Him who spoke to us all these years. We will walk in the presence of the One whose very being gives life, and we will touch the nail-scarred hands that purchased our salvation. Though we have never seen him, his face will not be unfamiliar to us, as it was to Mary when she gazed on the gardener outside the tomb. And we will love him, more dearly than we have ever loved before. Our helper, brother, savior, friend, redeemer and sovereign Lord, will never be parted from us again. In that land, we will live forever and ever, and when ten thousand years have passed, we will have another ten thousand to look forward to. Our years will have no end and we will live forever with him in the city that will never have night nor gloom, illuminated with the brilliance of God himself.
What a joy and hope we have to look forward to! Let us therefore not fail to run the race marked out for us, and so gain our eternal reward.