Shall We Gather at the River ~ Hymn 375

By: Alan Harvey

Posted: April 22, 2020

Category: Daily Devotional

Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal

Ezekiel 47:1-12

Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple; there, water was flowing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.

Going on eastward with a cord in his hand, the man measured one thousand cubits, and then led me through the water; and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured one thousand and led me through the water; and it was knee-deep. Again he measured one thousand and led me through the water; and it was up to the waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross, for the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, “Mortal, have you seen this?”

Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on the one side and on the other. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. People will stand fishing beside the sea from

En-gedi to En-eglaim; it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of a great many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

When I was growing up in Union, South Carolina, the closest river to us was “The Broad River.” We would cross a bridge above it any number of times during my youth. As I looked out the rear passenger window of our family sedan, I noticed beneath the bridge the other characteristic of the river that could have been an equally worthy name. It could have been known as “The Brown River.”. ye, the Broad River was wide and from my viewing point it was almost always the Brown River. Perhaps some artists noted some beauty spots along the river, but I always noted its width and color. Of course, the seasons could make it more beautiful … with the change of leaves in autumn, with banks piled high with snow in winter, and with bright green leaves that clothed the trees in spring and summer.

The prophet Ezekiel is given a vision of a beautiful river flowing from the Temple. The river displayed different depths — a thousand cubits ankle deep, a thousand cubits knee deep, a thousand cubits waist deep and a thousand cubits fine for swimming but too deep to be crossed. Brackish water becomes fresh. Marshes and swamps will be left for salt. On the banks of both sides of the river there will be fruit trees to bear fruits of the month for every month of the year. In addition to the trees supplying fruit for food their leaves would be for healing. This beautiful river scene is shared by John in The Revelation. This crystal-clear beautiful river will have its source and its ending at the throne of God. What a glorious sight that will be!

“Shall we gather at the river, where bright angel feet have trod, with its crystal tide forever flowing by the throne of God. Yes, we’ll gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river Gather with the saints at the river that flows by the throne of God.”


Almighty and Eternal God, enthroned in the Temple by the beautiful river, we thank you for visions experienced and shared by prophets and visionaries. Through their beautiful descriptions we are given a glimpse of your home to which we long to be welcomed once we have made that great crossing. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.