Posts Tagged With: river of Life

The Unity of the Scroll

close-up-of-torah-scrollJust before Rosh HaShanah, I had the pleasure of being up close and personal with a Torah scroll. My mentor, Dr. Hollisa Alewine, author of the Creation Gospel, was preparing to sing the Akedia (Binding of Isaac) for their Rosh Hashanah service. I was like a fly on the wall watching her careful handling of the leaves (pages of the scroll) and the Words. The Scroll was rolled out to reveal Bereshit (Genesis) 22 in the Torah.

Although I’ve seen Torah scrolls open before, this time was different. As a matter of fact, many things really resonated down to my bones at this particular season of teshuvah. I gazed upon the leaf with its beautifully penned black letters. The deer skin hide upon which they were written 300 or so years ago had turned into a rich amber patina. What struck me so hard was the flow of the Hebrew letters. I was instantly reminded of the River of Life.

I knew that the vowel points would be absent, but the lack of spacing between the words caused my eyes to see (in the spirit) the unity and oneness of the Word of God. Each section of the Torah appears as one ginormous vowel-less Word! To put it another way, each letter is one building block in a stream of continuous Truth. There is no separation. No division. Nothing is disjointed. Everything is connected and cohesive. Removing even a single letter would diminish the beauty, oneness, and unity of YHWH’s Word.

However, to make these consonant letters come to life requires breath or Spirit. One must open their mouth and like a shofar become the vowels that ignite the fiery Words of our Elohim. The ebb and flow of the cantillation flows like rushing waters from the flesh of the Living. The scroll is made from the flesh of a beast created on day six, but it is the spirit of a man/woman made in the image of Elohim that gives it life. Are we a vessel that gives the letter life? Or is our focus only on the dead things of the flesh?

Though touching the letters can harm the scroll’s integrity, I was able to touch the baby soft under side of the scroll. A beast only shows or gives access to its most vulnerable parts when it is submissive to a Higher Power, the Alpha. When we submit our lower or beastly nature (flesh) to the Word of the Almighty God, we become like the deerskin scroll. Through the death of our flesh, we become a living testimony to the Life and Light and Power of a Greater Resurrected Life.

The Words of Life are inscribed on the flesh (of a beast). You are either a man (woman) created in the image of Adonai or you are ruled by the lower nature, the image of a beast. This is true in the beginning in Genesis 1 on day 6 and at the end in the Book of Revelation. Abba desires that His Word be upon a heart of clean flesh. Long after these flesh and blood bodies have worn out and passed away, the Word written on hearts of flesh LIVES.

When Abba teaches a lesson, He usually gives more than one example. When the Hidden Day (Feast of Trumpets) finally arrived, I witnessed this same message through the Living Stones of the people at the Olive Branch. During the service this same scroll was carried around the assembly in a processional and then lifted up high before the people. The Body was One with her King. The King was the focus and the unity was profound. We were of one accord, all connected like the letters on the scroll. All flesh was submissive showing its soft under belly to the Master of the Universe.[1] Words of Life were being etched upon clean flesh.

abrahamWhen Dr. Alewine began to sing the Akeida, the Shekinah (Divine Presence) was heavy and awe inspiring. I could barely stand on my feet. Abraham was willing to take the thing He loved most in this world and give it to Adonai. We also must be willing to submit ourselves to one another and to our King. Flesh must be sacrificed before one can enter the Presence. This is how unity is accomplished and where the glory of Adonai dwells. (Ps. 84)

During these Days of Awe, my prayer is that we learn to walk out the unity of the scroll. We are the Living Letters of Life that flow out from the throne of the King of the Universe. When we open our mouths of flesh, may they be filled with truth, mercy, and righteousness. May we be vessels of reconciliation, love, and light.

L’Shanah Tovah!

  As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. (Ps. 42:1)


[1] The unified Word written on flesh is not just about submitting to the King. It also requires submitting to and loving one another. These are the two great commandments. We will continue to see divisions and separations when the beast (person ruled by the flesh) reigns in our hearts and in our midst. May Abba send us a minister like Nathan to tell us that, “we are that man/woman.” If we have given ourselves over to the beast/flesh, may we repent.

 

Categories: Creation Gospel, Moedim | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Rivers of Eden

tree-of-life-river-of-life-05-08Why does Torah portion Bereshit seem to interrupt the natural flow of the creation narrative to interject the telling of the rivers of Eden? Does this break in the story seem strange to you? In her commentary on Bereshit in The Creation Gospel Workbook 5 Volume 1, Dr. Hollisa Alewine expounds on the odd placement (or is it?) of the details of the one river that divides into four in Genesis chapter two. Dr. Alewine’s commentary on Bereshit delves deeply into the rivers of Eden (about 50 pages worth!).  Obviously, this is a much more comprehensive treatment than I will offer here. If you have the time, I urge you to study the Creation Gospel model and her commentary on Bereshit. I hope to give you a summary of these fascinating rivers and a taste of Dr. Alewine’s work along with thoughts of my own.

Gen 2:10-14  Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.  (11)  The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.  (12)  The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.  (13)  The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.  (14)  The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

 

One River

First, what is a river in Hebrew? In our passage above, the Hebrew word translated as river is nahar. According to Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, nahar is a stream, river, or underground stream. It comes from the root verb nahar meaning to shine, beam, light, burn, be radiant, to flow, and stream. Please keep this imagery of a river as flowing water and flowing light at the forefront of your mind as we continue.

From the Garden of Eden (paradise) the “head” or beginning of the ONE river divided into four other rivers. Before we get into the details of these four rivers, let’s first explore what we know about the number four. As I’ve explained in other places on this blog, four can be a representation of seven or completeness. Day four of creation establishes for us the “governing” aspect of this number.

Other examples:

  • There are four corners of the earth
  • Four corners (horns) are on the brazen altar
  • Four living creatures surround the Throne
  • Four seasons mark the year
  • Fourth commandment is about Shabbat, the seventh day
  • Four gospels testify of Messiah
  • Fourth born son, Judah, receives the scepter (authority, government, rule)
  • Four horsemen complete judgment in the earth
  • Four species are waved at Sukkot, the seventh feast
  • Four corners of garment carry our tzit-tziot (fringes) representing all the commandments

There are many places in the creation (nature) and the Holy Scriptures that speak to the imagery of four depicting completeness just as seven does. The seven branched menorah displays this imagery (in the natural) better than any other motif. Consider that the source or center branch is the fourth branch no matter which direction you begin your count. Messiah Yeshua stands at the center of this lampstand as He is the source from which all things flow. This brings us back to the beginning or Bereshit.

John 1:1-5  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  He was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  (4)  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  (5)  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

It is through the divine Light of Messiah (He as our menorah) that all things came into being and are held together. As the source of LIGHT, He rescues us from the darkness and brings us to redemption. He is the beginning of “in the beginning”.

Col. 1:13-18  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,  (14)  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  (15)  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  (16)  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.  (17)  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  (18)  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

As LIGHT, He is both the source branch on the menorah (4th) and the fullness thereof in its seven pipes.

Rev 1:12-15  Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;  (13)  and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.  (14)  His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.  (15)  His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

Rev. 2:1  “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands

The primordial Light of day one in Genesis 1:3 was not the natural light of the sun, moon, and stars (created later on day 4), but was the glorious spiritual Light of Messiah. He is the Light in the darkness and the Life of men.

While “light” is certainly a symbol for God given to us in Genesis 1:3, there is another symbol that precedes this primordial “light”. In Genesis 1:2, we see the Spirit of God hovering or moving upon the face of the waters. Thus, we learn two things. The Spirit of God is active with movement and that movement is characterized by WATER. Does Messiah have any associations with water? The Beloved disciple John, the one who points us to the beginning and the primordial light, also points us to the ancient waters as the source for eternal life.

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (see also vs. 14)

John 7:37-38  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  (38)  “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

The Messiah Yeshua, as the image of the invisible God, is also the source for the living waters of eternal life. Jeremiah declares that these living waters are from the beginning and find their source in the glorious throne of YHWH.

Jer. 17:12-14  A glorious throne on high from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary.  (13)  O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.  (14)  Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise. (See also Jer. 2:13)

Thus, we see the Living waters in the beginning — before all things. Time doesn’t run on some infinite straight line, it is a circle or a cycle according to what we see in the creation, Hebraic thought, and the Bible. What is happening in the beginning will also happen at the end, completing the divine pattern or cycle. What do we see at the end?

Rev. 7:17  for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Rev. 21:6  Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

Rev. 22:1  Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,

Though the river in Genesis chapter two isn’t named, I bet you can guess what it is called. It is the Source, the Head, and the Beginning. It is none other than the River of Life. The Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures captures this imagery in a perfect circle from beginning to end. The River of Life (like Messiah) was, is, and is to come. It has always been there flowing from the Throne of YHWH. Does the Genesis narrative about the rivers have a little bit more significance in your mind now? Perhaps learning about them can bring us some greater insight into not only the beginning, but the end.

The River that pours forth from Eden (paradise) and the Throne of YHWH divides into four other heads. Now, let’s go back to our menorah motif again. Imagine the River of Life as the source or center branch, fueling or feeding the outer six branches, giving them Life. In the natural, this river would be the Euphrates. Now, I’m not suggesting the Euphrates IS the River of Life; instead, I’m speaking metaphorically.

The rivers are given to us in the following order in Genesis chapter two: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Perat (Euphrates). I believe that every word, in fact every letter, is divinely placed in the Torah. The order of the four rivers is no exception. Again, imagining our menorah, Pishon would be on the first branch, Gihon on the second, the Tigris on the third, and the Euphrates on the fourth branch. Since four represents the whole or seven, the first three rivers connect chiastically to their counterpart on the other side of the menorah. Creation Gospel students will understand this from their study in Workbook 1, but for clarity, please look at this graphic:

menorah3

Notice how one and seven mirror one another as do two and six and three and five. Moreover, you can trace with your finger how they are indeed connected at the base; yet the source for them all is the Messiah or the River of Life. By the way, this “mirroring” or chiastic structure is also true for the seven days of creation, the seven Spirits of God, the seven feast days, and the many sevens found in the Book of Revelation. You can learn all about these fascinating truths by studying the Creation Gospel by Dr. Hollisa Alewine.

Perhaps it is a little clearer now as to why Moses gives us more information about the river Pishon than he does for the other three rivers. Looking at the graphic again, you can see how the Pishon encompasses the entire menorah as the outer shell or completeness of the entire menorah.

Before we move onto the meaning of the names of each river and their significance, I want you to look at the graphic one more time. Now, imagine if there were a second menorah upside down on the top of this one. What would you see then? It would be a complete circle with smaller circles on the inside! Perhaps a wheel in the middle of a wheel? But I digress… that is indeed a whole other study in itself — though it is directly related to this one. (: Nevertheless, it is important for you see the complete picture of this circle or cycle as two of the rivers we will study imply surrounding, encompassing, and circling.

Euprates (Perat)

Do you recall from the beginning of this post how that in Hebrew a river is not only water, but a mechanism for carrying light? Do you also remember the crystal clear waters flowing from the throne of God? (Dan. 7:10) Could these same “fiery” waters be life to the righteous and yet a “lake of fire” to the wicked? This is something to consider since the end has been declared from the beginning. Moreover, the equivalence of fire and water is pictured all over the Bible as both symbols for God and conversely of judgment.[1] For our study, consider that these waters from Eden are both flowing fire and water. Whether they burn or cleanse is determined by whether you are wicked or righteous. These flowing waters from Eden are like the Holy Spirit blowing and flowing around and among His people. Like with Daniel and his companions, the fiery furnace of the Holy Spirit is a cool cleansing heat from heaven that protects the righteous, but burns the wicked.

Instead of starting with the first river listed, let’s start with the last or what sits at the center of the menorah. This is the River Euphrates or in Hebrew Perat. The word perat comes from the word pri, or fruit. (You might recall the latter from the Kiddush blessing.) The source branch (river) on our menorah is meant to represent the Holy Spirit of Messiah. It is akin to the moed (feast) of Shavuot (Pentecost), the feast of first FRUITS.

The Bible doesn’t describe for us how the Perat flows as it does with the other three rivers. This hidden action also points to the Holy Spirit. We cannot see Him, but we can feel His presence like the wind. Perat also has the connotation of “breaking forth”. Power and permanence are two words that would describe this river and the Holy Spirit. For now, think of Perat as the source, head, fruitfulness, and increase. We will build upon this with the other rivers.

Tigris (Cheddekel)

Moving to the third and fifth branches on the menorah, we come to the third river mentioned, the Tigris or in Hebrew, the Cheddekel. This river is said to be “going” or quite literally in Hebrew, “walking”. Creation Gospel students will draw the connection to the “running feet” of the birds and fish created on day five. Cheddekel means rapid, roaring, or noisy. This river isn’t a quiet stream as it is characterized by noise and movement! This should also remind you of the shouting and blowing of trumpets during the fifth feast of Rosh HaShanah. Arousing sleepers from the grave first with Yeshua on early firstfruits and later with the resurrection of His full harvest at the feast of Trumpets does indeed require movement and great noise like the River Cheddekel!

Think of noisy movement, awakening from sleep, and (the Spirit of) power when you think of the Tigris.

Gihon (Gichon)

Again working toward the beginning, we next come to the River Gihon. It resides on the second and sixth branches on the menorah. Gihon means to burst forth, give birth, or to gush. This river is said to encompass (savav) the whole land of Ethiopia (Cush). Do you see the circling or surrounding aspect of this river? Cush means dark or black. It can easily symbolize the darkness of burial as pictured in the Messiah’s burial during the days of Unleavened Bread. Moses, the one “drawn forth” from the water, married a Cushite woman. This is likened to the Torah being drawn from the eternal waters of Eden and the Bride being, “black, but comely”.[2] We are truly black or dark (in darkness) until our bridegroom redeems us with His Light and Fire. Only then can we be portrayed as white, like the linen worn on the High Holy Days. The surrounding flow of the Gihon washes us as do the second and sixth feasts of Matzah and Yom Kippur.

Remember to associate the surrounding flow of the Gihon and its ability to transform us from darkness to light like its gushing/birthing name implies.

Pishon

The Pishon sits on the outer edges of our menorah motif, correlating to branch one and seven. We are given more information about this river than all of the others combined. Seeing that it encompasses or surrounds the entire menorah, this isn’t surprising.

Within the Hebrew word Pishon, we have the idea of dispersing, spreading, scattering, or as Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions notes for H6376, increases.[3] Notice that this river flows around (encompasses) the whole land of Havilah, where there is good gold, bdellium, and onyx.

Havilah and its root, chul, are defined as to circle, twist, writhe, travail, dance, or whirl. Within this word is the idea of birth pangs and tribulation. But like the Israelites travail in Egypt, the more they were afflicted, the more they increased and spread out. This led to the birth of the nation of Israel in the exodus to the wilderness. These themes are associated with the first and last feasts of Pesach and Sukkot. Moreover, to make this connection even more apparent, the rabbinical teachings say that Pishon is synonymous with the Nile River in Egypt.[4]

But what is the point in telling us about the good gold, bdellium, and onyx?

Gold (zahav)

I probably don’t have to reiterate what many have done before me in explaining the Biblical significance of gold. What Dr. Alewine astutely points out is that the text specifies that the gold is GOOD in Havilah. Why does this matter? Because for all the “good” symbolism we can see portrayed in refined gold, it does have a contranym (a word meaning its own opposite). Gold may very well represent heaven, spiritual wealth, and the removal of impurities, but conversely it can represent idolatry as seen in the golden calf. The gold in Havilah was GOOD. In other words, like the pilgrimage festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot, the impurities of leaven and sin have been removed. There is no malice; the streams are pure and gather together the pilgrims to the Holy City of Gold: Jerusalem. (Ever heard the song Jerusalem of Gold?) And let’s not forget that the golden menorah we have been using as a model for all of our fours and sevens is also made from pure gold.

Bdellium (bedolach)

Bdellium is a fragrant gum much like myrrh. It comes from a thorn tree which produces a small particle of resin that appears to “tear” or liquefy when the sun (light) shines upon it. Wow! Does this description remind you of anything or anyone? Wasn’t Yeshua a sweet smelling aroma to the nostrils of His Father as He died on the tree? Did Yeshua not weep for us before His appointed time?

This special resin in Hebrew literally means to divide, separate, distinguish, or even be set apart. Day one and two of creation and the first two feasts of Pesach and Unleavened Bread mirror this separation process. Like the good gold, impurities are what need to be removed or separated. But this process isn’t GOOD unless it leads to gathering together of like kind and like mind as fulfilled in the Jerusalem of Gold. While this is a glorious prospect, it may also be painful as it requires the weeping tears of repentance to enter.

Rashi likened bedolach with crystal and its ability to take pure white light and separate it into the seven colors of the rainbow or visible light.[5] Can you see this same picture on the menorah? One source (Light) streaming into seven beautiful colors that surround the entire menorah like the light refracted from a prism.  Aren’t we told that there truly is such a rainbow encompassing the throne of God? (Rev. 4:3) Could this rainbow of Light be revealed in the seven festivals of gathering in Jerusalem? Is that not their purpose; to bring light unto His people and clear paths for them to walk in?

Dr. Alewine also points out that the manna from heaven had a white look and appeared as dew upon the ground. Have you ever seen light refracted in the tiny water droplets of dew? Do you suppose it was any different when the children of Israel picked their manna up every morning? Could this have been a reminder to the children of Israel of  the Throne of God and its rainbow canopy? In a sense, they were consuming both bread and light at the same time! After all, Yeshua is said to be both!

Onyx (shoham)

Shoham comes from a word that means to “blanch” or “make white”. Hmm. An onyx stone is usually black or dark in color. Spiritually speaking, we call this “whitening” process sanctification or holiness. This idea is similar to the land of Cush we discussed earlier. Dr. Alewine compares this whitening to the “bleached” linen garments of the priests. These garments were made of shesh (shin, shin). Figuratively this connects the priests’ linen garments with man (six –shesh) and with fire (shin aysh).

Do you recall what the high priest wore on his shoulders? Yes, two onyx stones! These were connected to the breastplate by GOLD chains. When we are told that the government will rest on the shoulders of our Messiah (and High Priest), these onyx stones should come to mind. Engraved on these stones are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These are the holy ones that testify to Yeshua’s government of heaven and earth. And it is He alone that takes what was once inscribed in darkness and turns it into light. These will be robed in white, for they have washed their (dark) robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 7:14)

Is the River of Life pictured in the four rivers of Eden, the seven days of creation,  the seven Spirits of God, and the seven moedim (feast days) for Gentiles as well as Jews?

Rev 7:9-10  After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;  (10)  and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”

Yes! Dr. Alewine points us to John 10:16.

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

She goes on to say:

“Did Yeshua come to dismiss his Gentile flock from the appointed feasts? Did Yeshua come to create division between or among the folds at the appointed times, or did he come to make them one flock with one shepherd?” [6]

The rivers of Eden are one more testimony that from the beginning, YHWH has declared the end. The first letter of the Bible is an ENLARGED beht, meaning house or tent. From the onset of all things, the Father’s desire is to build and enlarge His House. Within the rivers and moedim (feast days) the good news of the gospel is proclaimed. This is the only place where the nations will find their healing and rest.

river of lifeConclusion

The rivers of Eden surround and flow around the creation days, feasts, spirits of God, and our menorah motif. But they are meant to flow and move through you and me too! By keeping the appointed times set by the Creator on day four, we are equipped to produce the good gold of Havilah (increase). This refining process is a sweet smelling aroma (bedolach) to our Father as we are proclaiming His government (onyx) throughout the earth.

Moving inward to the surrounding river of Gihon, the darkness (Cush/Ethiopia) is pierced as the sons of God prepare to burst forth in their unveiling. By the time the Tigris (Cheddekel) begins to flow through us, we are primed for new life and resurrection; because like the Tigris, we “walk” in the paths of the Creator. The gospel moves with rapid force throughout the earth.

Finally, the Perat (Euphrates) produces abundance and fruitfulness as a great multitude from every tribe and tongue wave palm branches at the great Feast of Sukkot in worship of the King of kings! These are those that will rejoice with the four living creatures under the rainbow canopy of God’s Throne. Below the Throne, the River of Life flows freely to nourish and cleanse the righteous with the cool fire waters of heaven. The wicked will experience the same flow of this river, but it will be unto them a lake of fire and judgment. The end is the beginning and the beginning is the end! Selah.


[1] Examples: Baptism of water and fire, earth destroyed with water and later with fire, God was a pillar of cloud (water) and a pillar of fire to Israelites in the desert, the Hebrew word for heavens is shemayim, a word that literally means “fire-water”, etc.

[2] See the Song of Songs 1:5 and Dr. Alewine’s Creation Gospel Workbook 5 Volume 1, p. 16

[3] Brown, Driver, and Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions: H6376 פּישׁון pee-shone’ From H6335; dispersive; Pishon, a river of Eden: – Pison.

H6335 פּוּשׁ poosh A primitive root; to spread; figuratively act proudly: – grow up, be grown fat, spread selves, be scattered.

[4] See Dr. Alewine’s Creation Gospel Workbook 5 Volume 1, pages 15 and 20.

[5] See Dr. Alewine’s Creation Gospel Workbook 5 Volume 1, p. 18.

[6] Dr. Alewine’s Creation Gospel Workbook 5 Volume 1, pages 34-35.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, Torah Portions | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Miriam’s Cup Part III

 

For the best context, read Part I and Part II of Miriam’s Cup. This little study on water, the heavens, the Holy Spirit, Miriam, Baptism, and Pesach can only take us to one place: the fountain of Living Waters found in our Messiah! Please join me in drinking deeply from this wonderful well of life.

© Dnally

© Dnally

Before we proceed to the Living Waters and the Messiah, I would like to revisit Baptism or immersing in a Mikvah. While many Christians (falsely) assume that this ritual began in the Brit Chadashah (N.T.), those that have been returning to their Hebraic Roots are fully aware that this custom is far more ancient.

Genesis begins with water and Revelation ends with a river. The Spirit broods over the Creation waters and the angel shows John (Rev. 22: 1-2) a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Notice that it is the Spirit AND the Bride that say, “Come!” They call to the thirsty and freely allow them to partake of the waters of life (Rev. 22:17). This calling action echoes the woman of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. Later Solomon compares this woman to a precious fountain.[1]

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (Pr. 18:4)

From the beginning, water has been associated with YHWH’s Spirit. What better imagery is there for the Spirit of God than that which causes all plant life to grow, nourishes all livestock, cleanses our bodies and garments, and sustains our overall well-being? Aryeh Kaplan, in his book Waters of Eden, states that, “Water is the primary connection that we have with the Garden of Eden.”[2] We seem to have been given a mystical link to this truth in the Genesis narrative. (Gen. 2) This story is strangely interrupted by an account of a river that is sourced in Eden. It breaks off into 4 tributaries that surround and water the entire garden. There may be a scarlet thread that runs throughout the Bible, but there is also a river of life — for those that look for it.

There is an old Midrash that has fallen Adam repenting by sitting in a river. Whether or not this is true is not the point. The emphasis is on the cleansing power of water, literally and figuratively. The waters of Eden are the waters that flow from the throne of God. Therefore, physical water is both literally and figuratively a cleanser. This is the same imagery used with Baptism’s washing away sins.[3] We repent because we desire to return to a clean state. Ultimately, our hope is resurrection unto eternal life and a permanent residence in the Kingdom from which crystal waters flow.

Water, Water, Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink

Have you ever been on a ship in the ocean so far from shore that you can no longer see land? It’s quite an eerie feeling the first time you experience this wonder. There is an overwhelming sense of smallness and vulnerability. The fear of what would happen if you became stranded is daunting. Perhaps you’ve watched movies or read books where this happened to someone. Not long ago, I watched the Life of Pi where an Indian boy is trapped for weeks on a small life boat with a tiger (he had been travelling with zoo animals on a ship that sank). Though he was surrounded by water, there was not a drop to drink. Dependence on condensation and rain water became a very real source of life for the boy and the tiger.

I think we often feel as (spiritually) thirsty as this unlikely pair. We perceive that the waters of salvation are everywhere, yet here we are dying from dehydration. We scramble to suck up the little bit of condensation we find and pray for rain. What we wouldn’t give to have a river of fresh water to quench our insatiable thirst!

Now, you may believe I’ve described an unbeliever or a lost person, but if you’re like me (human), then you too know this “dry soul” feeling even after coming to Messiah. Whether you find yourself in this place because of sin or because of testing, it is a very real campsite for the people of YHWH.[4] But the good news is that it is a temporary stop along the journey. Once we repent or learn the lesson, He refreshes us with the only thing that can really satisfy our souls, which is the Springs of Salvation, the Living Waters.

Is. 12:1-6  Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.  (2)  “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”  (3)  Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.  (4)  And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”  (5)  Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.  (6)  Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Women and Wells

We live in a world of chaos. The waters offered by the world and false religion leaves us dry and thirsty. But the Father knew this from the very beginning. His Spirit brings order and Living Waters to our chaos if only we will drink. In Genesis, these waters are brooded over by the “woman” of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we would expect a significant amount of prophetic testimonies to occur at wells (especially with women). Consider the most famous Biblical woman at a well, the Samaritan. Speaking to her, Yeshua says:

John 4:10-14  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  (11)  She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?  (12)  “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  (13)  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  (14)  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

The Samaritan woman gets all the press as being the “woman at the well” because Yeshua spoke very plainly to her about not only who she was, but who He is! However, that doesn’t mean that her story is the only story of a woman at a well that we should appreciate. In fact, I don’t believe we can fully grasp the Samaritan’s encounter unless we first understand her predecessors. The first century people that heard the testimony of this woman or even those that had just heard a retelling of these events would have had a very specific paradigm in which they would filter this story. That paradigm was the Torah of Moses.

Yeshua’s encounter with this woman is meant to remind you of other stories of women at wells. Have you ever considered that Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all found their WIVES at a WELL of WATER? We’ve already looked at Miriam’s connection to water and wells. I don’t think this repetitive theme is arbitrary. If you are the Bride of Yeshua, He will meet you at a well also. Perhaps this is why so many have a hard time separating Baptism and Salvation.

Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman that He can give her “living water”. What makes water “living”? And why and how does this water become a “well that springs up eternal life” once it is ingested? In order for waters to be considered “living”, they must be moving or flowing. Stagnant or still pools do not have “life” in Hebraic thought. Mayim Chayim (living waters) are characterized by MOVEMENT. Does this remind you of the Spirit of Elohim in Genesis?

We looked at the Song of Songs in the Biblical Role of Women Part III. As we discovered in that post, the imagery in this book is of both a complete and restored MAN and WOMAN. Both are functioning in their purpose and living righteously in the Garden (of Eden). Notice in the verse below that there is yet another association of a woman and life giving water. This is one of the godly functions of the female. A holy and restored woman will reflect the Holy Spirit by giving “water” and nurture to the seed that promotes growth and maturity.[5] Speaking of the woman, the man calls her:

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. (SOS 4:15)

Since the Song of Songs portrays a redeemed man and woman, we could say that both men and women as Yeshua’s Bride are a well of Living Waters. This is, in fact, exactly what Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman. We are often so focused on receiving Living Waters, that we forget that we are to be Living Waters! We water YHWH’s people just as the matriarchs gave drink to the patriarchs and watered the livestock. You are a Spring of Salvation and a fountain of Living Waters, because you belong to Messiah. We already have everything we need, but we still have a choice to make. Will we live it out, today? The choice is ours.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39) 

This truth is why both blood and water gushed from the “side” of Messiah as He hung on the tree. Like the first Adam, Messiah’s Bride comes forth from His side.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:34) 

John later describes three things that testify who Messiah is.

It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  (7)  For there are three that testify:  (8)  the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1Jn 5:6b-8) 

Since Messiah is returning for a Bride of like kind, we also will have these three witnesses: spirit, water, and blood. He meets us at well. We drink from the fountain. Like the Samaritan woman, we drop our water pots and run and witness to as many as we can about Messiah; thus, we become the springs leading others to Salvation. This theme is repeated again and again. We can see it in the Creation Days. We can see it in the Moedim (Feast Days). We can see it in the movement of the 7 Spirits of Elohim (Is. 11:2). The ancient matriarchs teach us how to be His Majesty’s Bride. We first give water to the patriarchs (minister to YHWH), and then we water the livestock (YHWH’s people). This is the essence of the Cup of Miriam.

Applying the Cup

Miriam’s Cup is filled with WATER, not wine. Wine can represent joy, judgment, or even the blood of Messiah. But there are three that testify. Water symbolizes both mayim and the Holy Spirit. By incorporating the Cup of Miriam into our Seder or even our weekly kiddush, we partake of all three symbols. Since the Cup of Elijah comes near the end of the Seder, we include the Cup of Miriam just after the candle lighting. This way, our four cups of wine will be flanked by the prophetess Miriam and the prophet Elijah. Miriam will represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we are continually watered and washed by the Word as we journey throughout this life, and Elijah will remind us of our coming complete redemption at the Messianic Age.

Hopefully, Miriam’s Cup will be a spring board for you to do more study. I would love to hear your thoughts on this tradition and any “connections” you may find. What does Miriam mean to you? How will can Miriam contribute to your families’ understanding of the Exodus?

Haggadah Ideas

  • After the women (or a woman) lights the Shabbat Candles, Have everyone partake of the WATER of Miriam’s Cup. Explain all the wonderful imagery in the patriarchs meeting their brides at wells.
  • Correlate this with the Holy Spirit, Baptism, the Springs of Salvation, Yeshua’s pierced side, the 3 that testify, and the Living Waters.
  • Relate all of this imagery with Pesach and Sukkot (The beginning and the end).
  • Praise YHWH for the women at your Seder and their contribution in rebelling at Pharaoh’s evil decrees.
  • Praise Yeshua for choosing you to be a spotless Bride.

 

 

 


[1] Proverbs 9:1-6

[2] Kaplan, Aryeh, Waters of Eden, New York (2003) p. 35

[3] ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:16)

[4] Remember the bitter waters at Marah? They were to test the people.

[5] Dr. Skip Moen teaches that the “living waters” provided by the woman are also a picture of her role as the ezer kenegdo: http://skipmoen.com/2009/11/28/connections/

 

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