The Water of Life

E. J. Waggoner

The following from one of the lessons by Elder Waggoner in General Conference is so precious we pass it on that all the readers of the REVIEW may have it:—


“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). You who have lived in the mountains know more about it than those who have lived on the plains. You know what living, sparkling water is. And this water that flows from the throne of God is the life of God; and the life is the life of men. It is God’s own life flowing from His throne. 

Do you believe there is any such thing? Is there a real river flowing from the throne just now?—Yes. Where does it flow? A river that flows must go somewhere. Here is a throne, and from it is gushing every moment, and has been from the days of eternity, and will be until the eternity of eternities, a river of life, flowing on and on, without stopping. It is the river of life. Where does it go?

It is a real river. If we were there, I suppose we could see it. Some would, and some would not; but it is a river that may be seen, felt, drank from, and bathed in. The real thing is flowing. Where from?—From the throne of God and of the Lamb.

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them into living fountains of water.” “They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters” (Rev. 7:16, 17). Where is the Lamb?—In the midst of the throne. “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6).

In order that we may have an object-lesson, let this desk represent the throne of God. From it flows the river. It is the throne of God; and the Lamb—the slain Lamb—is in the midst of the throne; and from the throne is that ever flowing stream of life.

“Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe” (John 19:32–35).

That was an important thing. See with what detail and emphasis it was stated: “he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth.” There came out blood and water from the side of the Lamb that was slain; and the blood is the life, isn’t it? 

So on the cross Christ gave His life for us. 

His life has always been given for us; and the cross is merely the manifestation that that life has been given. That one instant when He hung there between the heavens and the earth, offered for man, was a revelation of the eternal glory of God, that He has always given His life to man. The blood came from Jesus that men might see that He has given His life for them. 

There was the water and the blood. One saw that, and he bare record, and we know his record is true. And there are three that bare record,—the Spirit, the water, and the blood. And the three agree in one. (1 John 5:8). All are life; the Spirit is life, because of righteousness; the blood is the life, and the water is the water of life, flowing out from the side of the Crucified One.

Jesus said at one time, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), and then the Jews began to find fault with him: but He spoke of the temple of His body, for He had said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Ps. 40:7, 8).

When the tabernacle was built, it was a very feeble representation of the true sanctuary, which the Lord pitched, and not man. There was an ark in the innermost place, and upon that ark where cherubim; and from between the cherubim the glory of God shined forth, indicating that that was a representation of the throne of God, who sits between the cherubim. But underneath the cherubim were the tables of the law, showing that righteousness is the foundation of His throne; the law of God is in the very midst of the throne. 

But the law of God was in the heart of Christ, showing that His heart was the throne of God; so that when He hung upon the cross, God’s heart was pierced, and from that place where the law dwelt there flowed out the stream of life. What was it?—The pure river of the water of life, flowing from the Crucified One. And the stream that flows this minute from the throne of God, is just as real a stream as was the water and the blood that flowed from the heart of Christ, and it is the life of God. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life from that flowing stream. “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Christ spoke this of the Spirit; therefore that stream of life which flows from the throne of God is simply the Spirit of God, flowing out into all the world. The Spirit and life of God are therefore flowing forth.

—Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 76, 10 (March 7, 1899), pp. 152, 153.