In John 14:23-29 Jesus promises those who love him are also beloved of God and “we will come to them and make our home with them”. Not only that. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you”. God’s people will experience God’s Presence.
There is even more illustration in Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 where “the temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb”. In biblical times, the temple was the meeting place where people experienced the Presence of God in a very tangible way. “The glory of God” in 21:23 is the Shekhinah which brings to mind the experience of Isaiah in chapter 6 where he had a vision of God sitting on a throne while he was in the temple.
Then there are the three motifs of river or water, light, glory or praise.
In Acts 16:9-15 Paul and his companions went to the river in Philippi. There, Lydia was baptized – and presumably the other women with her. Even though the text says Lydia was “a worshiper of God”, in baptism she experienced the Presence of God in a transformational way. In Rev. 22:1 there is the vision of “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…”.
The biblical association of water and life cannot be over-emphasized. The geography of the land testifies to the life-giving attributes of water. Where there is water there is abundant life – for humans, animals, plants and indeed, for creation as a whole. Where there is God’s Presence there is wholeness.
Next, we will look at the other motifs, light and glory (or praise).