Ezek 47.1-23 describes a stream of living water (mayim chaim) coming out from the threshold of the Temple, flowing to the arabah (desert) and emptying into the Dead Sea. This will fertilize the barren land and revitalized and distributed to the twelve tribes. The sanctuary water will produce a bounty of food for the people and it alludes to the “well of salvation” in Isa 2.3 and Jer 17.12. This living water or “mayim chaim” also alludes to true understanding and true teaching.
v 1…Then he brought me back to the door of the house (main door of the Temple); and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east (symbolic of the waters of life and the word of God), for the house (Temple) faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side (south) of the house, from south of the altar.
v 2…And he brought me out by way of the north gate (east gate was closed) and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east (so Ezekiel could see the course of the stream). And behold (take note and see), water was trickling (ran out) from the south side.
v 3…When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits (from the walls), and he led me through the water (to observe the depth), water reaching the ankles.
v 4…Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water (at the end of it), water reaching the knee (as he crossed over it). Again he measured a thousand and led me through, water reaching the loins.
v 5…Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, water to swim in, a river that could not be forded (by anyone on his feet).
v 6…And he said to me, “Son of man (mortal human being; Ezekiel represents humanity), have you seen this (carefully observe how the water started out in a trickle but is now a river in about three miles)?” Then he brought me back to the bank of the river (to stand and see how the waters increased).
v 7…Now when I returned, behold (see), on the bank of the river there were very many trees on the one side and on the other (seemingly all of a sudden).
v 8…Then he said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region (toward the Jordan) and go down into the arabah (desert). Then they go toward the sea (Dead Sea), being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea became fresh (healed of its saltiness so that fish can live).
v 9…And it will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river (“rivers”) go, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there, and become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
v 10…And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi (“fountain of the kid” on the western shore where David found safety) to Eneglaim (“fountain of two calves” on the eastern shore in Moab) there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea (Mediterranean), very many.
v 11…But its swamps (formed by the natural recession of the waters) and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt (uncultivated; a foe to fruitfulness and a type of those who spurned the living waters, reprobates of the world-Psa 107.34; Zeph 2.9; Rev 22.11).
v 12…And by the river on its bank on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food (fruit; a type of the righteous). Their leaves will not wither (fade and drop off), and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing (medicine-Rev 22.2).
v 13…Thus says the Lord God (Adonai Yehovah), “This shall be the boundary by which you shall divide the land for an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel; Joseph shall have two portions (he received the birthright forfeited by Reuben-1 Chr 5.1; Gen 48.5).
v 14…And you shall divide it for an inheritance, each one equally with the other; for I swore to give it to your forefathers , and this land shall fall to you as an inheritance (basically the same as Num 34.1-29).
v 15…And this shall be the boundary of the land; on the north side, from the Great Sea by the way of Hethlon, to the entrance of Zedad.
v 16…Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazor-hatticon, which is by the border of Hauran (Hamath was the northernmost point eastward to Hauran, on the east side of the Jordan, south of Syria).
v 17…And the border from the sea shall be Hazarenan at the border of Damascus, and on the north is the border of Hamath. This is the north side (Num 34.1-9 as fixed by Moses).
v 18…And the east side, from between Hauran, Damascus, Gilead, and the land of Israel, the Jordan; from the border (north) to the eastern sea (Dead Sea) you shall measure. This is the east side.
v 19…And the south side toward the south from Tamar (possibly Engedi, also called Hazazon Tamar) as far as the waters of Meribath-kadesh (Num 20.1) to the brook (of Egypt) to the Great Sea. This is the south side to the south.
v 20…And the west side shall be the Great Sea, from the south border to the point opposite Lebo-hamath. This is the west side.
v 21…And you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel.
v 22…And it will come about that you shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens (“Gerim and “strangers in the land”-this implies that these believing non-Jews were to be regarded as sons receiving full hereditary property along with the Jewish people-Eph 2.11-22; Caleb is an example of this concept because he received an inheritance among Judah-Josh 14.6-15) who stay in your midst (and not temporary residents), who bring forth sons in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.
v 23…And it will come about that the tribe with which the alien (Ger) stays, there shall you shall give him his inheritance,” declares the Lord God.