Living Waters Will Flow From Jerusalem
BY Joshua Perez
Key verse: 8
“On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.”
There is a great need for hope in these last days. So much has happened in such a short amount of time to cause what foundations people were building upon to be destroyed and torn down. One virus has crippled the entire world and has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, people who thought they had more time. The injustice done to one African American man had caused the nation to explode in anger. Many people have taken to the streets demanding justice while others use this as an opportunity to spread violence. Those who were given power and authority to protect our communities are beginning to lose the trust and respect of the people. Our world is in a broken state right now. And there is something that we desperately need. We need something secure to hold onto, something more secure than anything in this world. It is hope. And we don’t need a flimsy or a weak, shakable hope. We need a secure hope. And the only secure hope we have is through our Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and receive an unbreakable hope. And with reference to our passage today, we as Christians have a glorious hope that Christ, who came to this world to save us, will come again. This is the hope that we have, secured in the gospel. And it is the gospel truth that we clearly see in this passage this morning.
Before we dive into this glorious passage, I thought it might be helpful to briefly look at where we have come in our journey of Zechariah. I want to look at this book through the lens of the gospel. First, we need to understand that mankind has fallen. We fell from the image of God in Genesis 3. And there was no way we could ever get back to God. We see the sin issue mentioned in verses such as these, “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty” or “I asked, “What is it?” He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.” Sin lives in us like a virus, spreading and damaging anything it touches. We are sinners but thankfully God provided a way for us to be cleansed. We see this cleansing take place in verses such as “The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you” or “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” God does provide for cleansing of sin, but why would he do this? He wants to do this because of his deep love for and commitment to humanity. We see God’s love for his people in verses such as “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her” or “The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.” But the question now is: how did God plan to solve the sin problem, give us cleansing and demonstrate his love for us? It was through the sending of his son Jesus Christ into the world. We see this first coming of God’s son through verses such as “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” And what is the result of God sending his one and only son into the world? Restoration and security. We see this idea of restoration and security in verses such as “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.” It is only in Christ that we can be cleansed, loved, restored, secured, healed and made new. There is no other way.
When we looked at Zechariah 13:1, we had a deep discussion about living water. That verse says this, “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” This fountain of living water has the miraculous power to cleanse people from their sins and their impurities. Surely this fountain must be none other than Christ Jesus himself! He is the only one who can cleanse a person of all the sins of the past and make them as white as snow. We surely cannot do it. We can’t make ourselves clean, or holy, or good enough for God. Thankfully we don’t have to! A fountain has been provided for us that does that very thing. Anyone who comes to the fountain to drink from it will have their sins wiped away. This fountain of water from chapter 13 is the same living water that appears in 14:8. Leading up to this verse there was a lot of chaos going on. In Zechariah 14:1-7 God’s people were being attacked by all the nations of the world. It was a terrible time for God’s people. But God demonstrated his own power and authority by coming to the aid of his people to fight against these nations. Not only did God Almighty wage war on behalf of his people, but he provided a way of escape for them, splitting a mountain in two and creating a valley of escape. The day that this happened was a miraculous day, a day unlike any other day in human history.
So, after God used all of these things to refine and purify Jerusalem, what was the result? We see the result in verse 8. So let’s read v. 8. “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.” The result of everything that happens in v. 1-7 was living water. Life giving water was able to flow out from Jerusalem. But what is this living water? When one searches the scripture, there are many different answers to what living water represents and accomplishes. The word of God, satisfaction, eternal life, the Holy Spirit, Jesus himself, living water represents and accomplishes all of these things. Living water is able to give life to thirsty souls. It is able to fully satisfy the deepest longings of one’s heart. Living water gives life. This living water comes from Jesus himself to give life to the world. God had wanted to open this fountain of living water since Genesis. He has always wanted this living water to flow.
This living water is said to flow out of Jerusalem. Why did the water need to flow out from Jerusalem? Couldn’t it have flowed from another one of Israel’s cities? It is true that Jerusalem is where the temple of God was. It is true that this city was the place where great kings like King David and Solomon reigned and ruled. It is also true that the Lord has clearly set his heart not only on all the people of Israel but specifically on this city. He sought to rebuild it when it was broken down (as depicted in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and even Zechariah). Even though all these things are true, there is still nothing special about this city that should cause the Lord of Hosts to display glorious favor on them. This city was a city filled with sinners. This is the city that would ultimately reject and kill the Son of God. This is the city about which Jesus himself said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Jerusalem is a wicked city. It does not deserve God’s special attention. In much the same way, we too are sinners. We have at times rejected God’s love and direction for our lives. We have not done anything to earn God’s favor, quite the opposite. As Romans 3 says, we have not done good or sought after the Lord. We too are sinners. There is only one reason the Lord would choose to show us or Jerusalem any favor. It is simply an act of his one sided grace. God’s sovereign choice has always been unearned and undeserved grace. In spite of sin, God chose Jerusalem to be the center of life giving water. And in the same way God also chose to give us his life giving water so that inside of us we would have a spring of living water welling up to eternal life.
Does this living water stay in Jerusalem? Verse 8 tells us otherwise. The verse says that living water will “flow out” from Jerusalem. This water was never meant to stay in Jerusalem. It was always meant to flow out of Jerusalem. But where does the water go? Verse 8 tells us it goes to the East and to the west. This water goes to the Dead Sea as well as to the Mediterranean Sea. It goes in both directions, ultimately going all over the world. The verse also tells us it flows out in Summer and in Winter. So this water flow is not confined to a specific time period. The water does not flow smoothly in the summer but then freeze up in the winter. It flows all the time, all year around. This all applies to us as well. We too, when we put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ and drink of him, are changed forever and receive eternal life. This eternal life is a fountain that grows inside of us. But this deep rich water was never meant to be kept just for ourselves. This life giving water is not meant to be hoarded or stored away and only enjoyed by the elect. It was meant to be shared. And God is very creative in making sure this water is shared with others, all the time. When the believers of Acts were not willing to go outside Jerusalem, the Lord stirred up persecution and used it for good, spreading believers to places like Samaria and even into Gentile households, places they never thought of going before. Others were able to drink this living water and be changed forever. The living water is always meant to flow out! So let us not keep this living water all to ourselves. Let us not keep the fact that we are Christians a secret. Let us be bold in sharing our faith. Let us invite people to our online Sunday services. Let’s ask people to come to bible study online. Let’s give our friends a phone call or FaceTime them or send them a video on Snapchat or post a picture on Instagram or Facebook and share our faith, even if it’s as simple as saying “Jesus died for you on the cross”. Let’s ask people if they need prayer for something and then share with them why we want to pray for them. Let us invite many people to come and drink of this living water!
Let us read verse 9. “The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.” In this verse you truly see God’s heart. This verse truly captures all that God has desired for his creation. This is a picture of what the kingdom of God is supposed to look like. You see there is a theme that you can trace throughout the bible. And that theme is the Kingdom of God. At any point in the bible, you can look at it through the lens of God’s kingdom and where it is. In Genesis, God’s kingdom was there in the garden. Adam and Eve were living with God, serving him, fellowshipping with him and obeying his commands. It was truly a harmonious time. But when they gave into the temptations of the devil, man fell away from God’s presence. God had wanted to establish his kingdom through Adam and Eve but now their sin did not allow them to enter into God’s presence. From that time on, there has always been a journey of getting back to God’s kingdom, to where God is. It’s a struggle you see throughout scripture. Creation has been longing for the day when God’s kingdom will be restored on the earth. We see here in Zechariah 14 the kingdom of God finally being restored. But the trigger that was needed for God’s kingdom to be reestablished was the living water flowing out of Jerusalem. Once Jesus died outside the city of Jerusalem, the kingdom of God was able to begin to establish itself on the earth. It is the death of Jesus Christ that allows God’s kingdom to come to earth.
Verse 9 says “The Lord will be king over the whole earth.” Right now, the way things look, it does not seem that God’s kingdom is going to rule over the earth. Violence continues in various parts. People are taken advantage of. Rights are being violated. Christians in other parts of the world are suffering greatly. It surely does not feel or look like God’s kingdom is coming. But this verse points to a time when this will come to reality. God’s kingdom will surely be established on the earth. And as we wait and look forward to that glorious day, what should we do? Jesus tells us what we should be doing. When Jesus was instructing his disciples to pray he taught them to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom. In Matthew 6:9-10 he says, “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” As we wait for God’s kingdom, we should be praying for it to come. This should be our regular prayer topic, that God’s kingdom would come on earth as it is in the heavens above. Let us pray for God’s kingdom to come through us, his people.
As this living water is unleashed on the earth and as God’s kingdom comes on earth, how does it play out in our world? What does it look like? The rest of the passage tells us what this looks like as it flows out from v. 8-9. So now let’s look at v. 10-11. V. 10-11 says, “The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.” When we studied Haggai and the first parts of Zechariah, we saw that the temple needed to be rebuilt. The Jews experienced so much opposition to this building up of Gods house and the city. So, it is astounding that God promises that not only will this city be rebuilt but that it will never again be cursed or destroyed. This city is no mere ordinary city. In Revelation 21:3 it says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! Gods dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.’” This city has always been on Gods heart, to dwell with his people. Not only will we live with our Lord in an unbroken intimate fellowship, but the entire city itself will last forever and ever. It is our heavenly city, our heavenly and eternal hope forever secured because of Jesus Christ!
Let’s read Zechariah 14:12-15. It says, “This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day people will be stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected —great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.” Do you recall all those nations that were gathered against Jerusalem in v. 2? V. 12-15 tell us what happened to them. It is not a pretty sight. Everything they have will be cursed to rot. From the flesh to the eyes to the tongues. Even their animals will suffer! The Lord knows how to deal with the enemies of his people. It is just as God told Abraham, “Whoever blesses you I will bless. Whoever curses you, I will curse.” And we can rest assured that if God does not deal with our enemies in this life, he will surely deal with them in the next life. No one ever escapes the judgment of our holy and righteous God. Amen
Let’s read V. 16-19. “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.” Even though our God deals justly with our enemies, he is still so gracious. His grace is too great for us to comprehend. He is willing to give the survivors from the nations he fought against a chance to come with God’s people to praise the Lord. Those who choose to not worship the Lord will not be blessed. Romans 1:21 says, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” To not worship the Lord, to not lift our voices to sing to him, to not live our lives to glorify his name, is a big mistake. The Lord has invited us to worship him. May we not be found to have rejected his gracious offer.
Let’s read v. 20-21. “On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the LORD Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD Almighty.” There is one main idea that can be seen here in these last two verses. The idea is holiness. The bells of the horses will be HOLY TO THE LORD. The distinction between the cooking pots and the sacred bowls will be taken away, all will be holy. Not only will those pots will be changed, but every pot throughout the entire city will be made holy. And it does not stop there. According to v. 21 there will not be one Canaanite, not one unholy person in the Lords house. Everything will be totally, completely holy. But how is this possible? It is because God is holy. Since he is holy, he has power to make anything or anyone holy. He has taken sinners like us and is working his holiness into our lives. And that process of holy sanctification will continue until that glorious day when we meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face to face. We will be with our Lord forever and there will never again be an unholy thing in God’s house. Regardless of our struggles in this life, we surely have an unbreakable, unshakeable, immovable hope!