Streams of living water – What does our name refer to theologically?
Throughout the Bible, God promises that his presence brings healing and wholeness for all creation. In the time of the Old Testament, God’s presence in the world is symbolized in the temple in Jerusalem. The prophet Ezekiel receives a vision of a river of living water flowing from the temple, bringing abundant life wherever it flows. On its banks are trees of life, yielding their fruit every month, and the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations (Ezekiel 47: 1-12). This vision of the wholeness (shalom) of the Kingdom of God reappears in the Book of Revelation, as God’s future for the earth is revealed to the apostle John: God will not merely be in the temple, but the entire earth will be his dwelling place, as heaven comes down on earth and God lives with his people. Then his glory and shalom fills all creation: no more suffering, injustice, brokenness and death (Revelation 21: 1-5; 22: 1-5).
This future Kingdom of God is anticipated in a very real sense among the people of God, as God is present in them already through the indwelling of the Spirit. When Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom in word and deed, He made clear that the presence of God was no longer in the temple, but in Him, the Messiah, and that the living water of Ezekiel’s vision was to be found no longer in the temple, but in Him. And then Jesus promised: everyone who believes in me, will be a temple of God – God will be present in them through his Spirit, and streams of living water will flow from within them, to bring life and healing to the nations and all creation (John 7: 37-39).
In the followers of the Messiah the new creation has already begun, although in part, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As God’s Kingdom-people, they live from ‘the powers of the age to come’ (Hebrews 6:5) while the ‘present evil age’ continues around them. They are commissioned and empowered by the Spirit to proclaim the Kingdom of God in word and deed, until Jesus returns and the Kingdom will be fulfilled, and God will be ‘all in all’ (1 Corinthians 15: 20-28).
Our name also relates to lifestreaming which is the practice of putting everything about your life out in public on the web – this relates to our witness to all of life in Jesus.