Bishop Sitembele Leads a Study of the Bible
THEME : JESUS RENEWS HIS CHURCH THROUGH THE LIFE GIVING WATER
Exodus 17 : 1-7
Ezekiel 47 : 1-12
Revelation 22 : 1-5
As a way of introduction, I have deliberately chosen Exodus and Ezekiel as an illustration that God has always used an element of water for cleansing and healing.
EXODUS 17 : 1-7
- At Rephidim the Israelites complained to Moses for suffering them thirst and their livestock. Their complaint was as if it was, in the first place, Moses who mooted the idea of their delivery from the Egyptian slavery. Yet it was a divine plan.
- Moses was charged by God to strike the rock with his staff so that water might gush out of it. Indeed they were able to quench their thirst.
- Would you not agree that this act of providence and compassion was a pointer that in the fullness of time Jesus would be pierced with a javelin so that water and blood might come out of His side?
EZEKIEL 47 : 1-12
- Would you not consider Jesus saying I am the living water, whoever comes to me will never be thirsty again?
- Water also comes, through, first and foremost, in small amounts, from beneath the Altar in the Temple.
- As water continues to flow, it is measured from ankles to the waist to the extent of becoming a swimming water.
- To me this has an element of cleansing and cooling.
REVELATION 22 : 1-5
- The river of water whose source is the Altar in the Temple flows down the valleys and slopes resulting in life giving water because wherever it goes and whatever it touches it causes life to sprout.
- The lifeless Dead Sea water becomes good.
- The trees that did not bear fruit became fruity and their leaves were used as tonics for healing.
- The fruit trees became food for the people.
The Revelation reading which is suggested for this Bible Study is, to me, an executive summary of Ezekiel 47. The messenger that is sent to John to show him the river of life, to me, is the fulfilment of the prophecy of the scourging of Jesus at His crucifixion . . . water and blood came from His side thus making good His claim that
He was as He still is the living water that quenches anyone's thirst (John 4 : 10 ff & John 7 : 37-39)
- Ezekiel has a close similarity with the text under view.
- The water that Jesus provides from the Temple, which is Himself, multiplies fruit … tt bears fruit "twelve times a year …) v 2
- There is no waste … the leaves are used for healing the nations.
- There is nothing untoward in the city of God which is housing the Temple of God.
- The city of London Ontario in which this God's Temple is will have nothing of anything that will seek to compromise its integrity as it stands here posing as a witness in this inner city v. 3.
May we therefore always be in leaf and not wither, so that our vibrancy as a Diocese may reflect our rootedness in Jesus. May our love for God and one another never fade, as in winter, but remain glowing for others to burst.
- The second part of v 3 makes it crystal clear that "… the throne of God and of the Lamb, will be in the city and his servants will worship him …"
- Yes, this Diocese has a Cathedra which is a teaching chair of the Bishop of Huron. If you like you may take it as a vicarious chair that represents the holistic teaching and idiom of the Diocese of Huron and what we stand up for as a Diocese. What are the values/vestiges by which this Diocese stands? What makes us a Diocese?
- A diocesan Synod is a replica of an assembled Church of God to do checks and balances of our faithfulness to the apostolic witness and teaching. The throne of God in this Diocese which is kept in this Cathedral Church is a constant reminder that through our Father in God the Bishop, Jesus is our true and real Teacher (Mat 23:8). Our unity, in diversity, is reflected when we heed and rally around our Bishop.
- The latter part of v. 3 reiterates that " … his servants will worship him …" I want to add that the daily worship in this sanctuary and others throughout the Diocese is a guarantee that we may see the face of God if we worship Him in truth and with contrite hearts.
- All Synod Delegates have their name tags on. To me these tags as in v. 4 are a pointer to a day, a day of jubilee, when our names shall have been written indelibly in the book of life.
- Jesus who is the light of the world, as in John 8 : 12-20 dispels all forms of darkness. He is the sun of righteousness … in Him there no night … even as we meet in this Synod we should not fear anything because there is nothing mystified in Him everything is as clear as the Day. There are no hidden agendas. We are marching as to war in the light of God.
- Lastly, we are here according to God's plan to shape and sharpen our Diocese so that it may continue to be a healing power of God for the nations here and abroad.
As verse 5 ends may we be a kingdom of Priests that reign with God in His domain. May the Lord Himself be the Lord and King of our lives as we get ready to tackle our agenda items.
May our deliberations delight the heart of Jesus and bring us nearer to one another as a Diocesan family.
May God help you to be more visible and visionary as you seek to live the servant leadership in God's Basilica.
Prepared by the Right Reverend Dr SITEMBELE TOBELA MZAMANE Bishop of Mthatha : Anglican Church of Southern Africa.