Zechariah 14:8
And on that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea, in summer and winter alike.
ChristianityTimothy Gibson, M. A.Zechariah 14:8
Summer and WinterUrijah R. Thomas.Zechariah 14:8
The Changeful and the Constant in LifeHomilistZechariah 14:8
The Course of the GospelHenry Belfrage, D. D.Zechariah 14:8
The Gospel RiverHomilistZechariah 14:8
The Gospel RiverD. Thomas Zechariah 14:8
The Living WatersWalford Green.Zechariah 14:8
Living WatersW. Forsyth Zechariah 14:8-11

Emblematic of the gospel.

I. SOURCE. "Jerusalem." Centre of supreme authority and law. The place of holy sacrifice. The city of the great King. Here is God's throne (Revelation 22:1). "Salvation is of the Jews." "Of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came."

II. DIRECTION. There is movement. Not arbitrary, but regulated. Not limited to one land, but for all people. "Beginning at Jerusalem." Such was the law; but from that starting point the messengers of salvation were to go forth to the whole earth. Water seeks the lowest level, and the gospel comes down to the poorest, the most despised, "the chief of sinners."

III. AFFLUENCE. Rich supply - ample to meet the needs of all. In the wilderness the rock waters followed the Israelites in all their wanderings. But this river is sufficient "for the whole world."

IV. PERPETUITY. There are rivers that vary. They run part of the year, and then they fail. But this river never fails. Neither the winter's cold nor the summer's heat can affect its flow. There are rivers that have disappeared - like old peoples and old civilizations - but this river runs on throughout the ages with unchanging life and virtue.

V. BENEFICENCE. Vitality. Life and the power of life. What so sweet and refreshing as the streams of pure water? Carry blessings far and wide. So with the gospel. Converting souls. Purifying society. Advancing the world in the highest forms of civilization. Grand future. Universal subjection. Universal homage. "One Lord." - F.

Living waters shall go out from Jerusalem
Like all his predecessors, Zechariah speaks much of Christ. Some of his prophecies, owing partly to the predominance of figurative and symbolical language, are difficult and obscure. In the text he refers to Gospel days and to the Gospel blessings. He speaks of the Gospel under the figure of living, springing, running waters; and under this figure he indicates to us the beginning, the progressive course, and the perpetual extension of the Gospel, together with its ultimate triumph, as seen in the universal dominion of the Messiah.

1. The character of the Gospel. We must think of the world as a desert, a vast moral waste, void of spiritual beauty and of moral life; and this is in strict accord with the actual condition of peoples apart from the Gospel. The land, the home, the heart, unvisited by the Gospel, is cursed with spiritual barrenness and moral death. If we caused a rivulet of living water to flow over a barren land, what would be the result? The desert land would soon cease to be barren. Let this land be ploughed, let the seed be cast into it, and what is the result? The desert becomes a garden; the wilderness a fruitful field, and the barren land a forest. So let the Gospel waters flow through the desert wastes of a sinner's heart, or through the moral wastes of a country, and what a blessed transformation is the result! Death gives place to life, depravity to beauty, and barrenness to fertility. It was so in the beginning of Christianity. The power of the Gospel has been strikingly proved in the missions to Fiji.

2. The progress of the Gospel. The living waters go out from Jerusalem. Christianity was not a new religion. It was the development, the outgrowth of Judaism. But the waters were to flow in every direction, carrying spiritual fertility with them: everywhere turning the desolate heritages of the Gentile world into the garden of the Lord. Note also the constancy with which the living waters flow; "in summer and winter shall it go." The summer heat usually dries up the rivulet. The host of winter congeals it; but these living waters shall flow on through summer and winter. How strikingly has this been illustrated all through the Christian centuries. Nothing has proved able to arrest or stay the progress of the Gospel.

3. The triumph of the Gospel. From the beginning the Lord Christ has indeed been King over all the earth, but in the text there is associated with the idea of kingly authority that of willing submission. He shall then be universally acknowledged Lord, every knee to Him shall bow, and every tongue confess Him. The day will surely come when men shall be blessed in Him, all nations shall call Him blessed.

(Walford Green.)

I. THE DESIGNATION OF THE GOSPEL. Here called "living waters." It points out the purity of the Gospel. Not the stagnant pool, but the running stream. Holiness to the Lord is stamped on all its principles, commandments, and rites. It is a dispensation of mercy, but it gives no indulgence to the least sin. It points out the refreshment which it yields. How sweet are its offers of pardon to the awakened conscience! It points out also the fertility which the Gospel produces. Christianity aims at forming the love of God in the heart and conduct.

II. THE PLACE FROM WHICH THESE WATERS ISSUE. When Christ ordered repentance and remission of sins to be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, the banks within which these living waters had flowed were broken down, and the stream began to rush over the Gentile world. These waters flow from Jerusalem, as it is by the Church that they are communicated. They are brought to the Church not only that they may be improved, but diffused.

III. MARK THE COURSE OF THESE LIVING WATERS. The statement seems to intimate that the Gospel should bless the nations of the Eastern and of the Western world. There are various circumstances which indicate that a more extensive diffusion of the Gospel will soon take place.

IV. THE CONTINUANCE OF THE COURSE OF THESE LIVING WATERS. Their flow shall neither be impeded by the drought of summer nor the frosts of winter. The effects of the Gospel on the souls of disciples are perpetual also. The knowledge it gives is everlasting light; the peace it yields is everlasting consolation; the love it inspires is a charity that never fails; and the holiness it forms is a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life.

(Henry Belfrage, D. D.)


1. Its nature. It is "living water." Water is precious, but not so precious as the Gospel. That is the river of life, the pure water of life.

2. Its rise. "It shall go out from Jerusalem." The Gospel might be said to have commenced at Jerusalem. "Beginning at Jerusalem." In Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, the river might be said to have broken forth.


1. Its diffusion. "Half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea." It is to go from the east and from the west, from its rising to its setting. The Gospel is for all climes. It is world-wide in its provisions, adaptations, and claims.

2. Continuousness. "Summer and winter." In all seasons of human life individually and corporately.(1) It is constant in the fitness of its supplies for human wants. Men, through all changes, in all places, and through all times, want Divine knowledge, moral purity, heavenly forgiveness, fellowship with the Eternal. The man will never be born who will not require these things.(2) It is constant in the fulness of its supplies for human wants. It is an inexhaustible river. After countless myriads have had their wants supplied it remains deep and full as ever.(3) It is constant in the availableness of its supplies for human wants.


I. THE CHANGES IN THIS SCENE OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE. Suggested by summer and winter. The changing seasons of nature may be regarded as only symbols of the constant mutations in our mortal life.

1. Human life has its changes. The man who reaches his three score years and ten, has run through all the seasons; the freshness of spring, the luxuriance of summer, the ripeness of autumn, and the dreary desolations of winter.

2. Human institutions have their changes. These changes are useful.

(1)They supply us with excitements to action.

(2)They impress us with the constant activity of God.

(3)They remind us that this is not our rest.

II. THE CONSTANT IN THIS SCENE OF OUR EARTHLY LIFE. "In summer and in winter shall it be." What is the "it" here, that is to remain so constant amidst the changes? The preceding part of the verse answers the question: "living waters." The reference is undoubtedly to Christianity, which is the "water of life." But our point is its constancy. In "summer and winter" it flows the same. The changes of the world have no influences on it: it continues the settled amongst the unsettled, the permanent amongst the transitory, the immortal amongst the dying. "Though all flesh is as grass the Word of our God shall stand forever."

1. It is constant in the fitness of its supplies for human wants. Men through all changes, in all places, and through all times want Divine knowledge, moral purity, heavenly forgiveness, fellowship with the Eternal.

2. It is constant in the fulness of its supplies for human wants. It is an inexhaustible river.

3. It is constant in the availableness of its supplies for human wants.


I. THE CHANGEFUL IN HUMAN EXPERIENCE. There is as much variety as in the difference between July and December; between all that is summerly and all that is winterly in our English climate.

1. There is this changefulness in the experience of individuals. In the difference of differing age: Robustness of youth, decrepitude of age. In the difference of differing health: Buoyancy of strength, feebleness of disease. In the difference of differing circumstances: Prosperity, anxiety, poverty; success, failure; popularity, neglect, or scorn. In the difference of differing moods: Joy, sadness; doubt, faith.

2. There is this changefulness in the experience of families. Unbroken home circles, and desolated hearths. Wedding days, and funerals. The cradle the centre of the household, and anon the coffin.

3. There is this changefulness in the experience of nations. Commercially there is a summer and a winter. So politically; so religiously. Rome, Greece, Spain, etc., have had summer and winter. We seem getting towards winter. But though all, whether individuals, families, or nations, thus have "in the changes and chances of this mortal life" their bright, genial, glowing summers, and their chill, gloomy, cruel winters, we notice —

II. THE UNCHANGEABLE PROVISION GOD HAS MADE FOR MAN'S NEEDS. The prophet is telling of a river of blessing that, though it roll through winterly and summerly landscapes, is itself unchanged, perpetually the same. In summer and winter IT shall be. That river is surely the revealed love of God in Christianity. What else fulfils what the prophet declares about —

1. The fountain,

2. The progress,

3. The winter of this river?God's love in Christ does. And that is the sublimely unchangeable IT, which remains the same in all the summers and winters of human experience.

(Urijah R. Thomas.)

The Bible is full of promises. Some of them refer to temporal and some to spiritual things. Some relate to the prosperity of the Redeemer's kingdom.


1. Its representation. It is called — "living waters." This softens, purifies, refreshes the soul. It fertilises. It is described as "living water," — water that springs up. Rising, or springing, up in thought, desire, prayer, pursuit, until it even reaches heaven. All is vitality where this living water is. It is the all-healing balm. It produces a principle of life which strengthens amidst bodily debility, and grows amidst bodily decay.

2. Its origin. "Go out of Jerusalem." Our Lord was of Jewish parents; the apostles were Jews; and most of the first disciples were Jews. In the Acts of the Apostles we discover how these "living waters," issuing from the land of Judea, spread abroad in every direction. In this we see —

(1)The accomplishment of prophecy.

(2)The proof that Christianity can bear investigation.

(3)Showing the goodness of God our Saviour. No nation was ever so favoured as the Jews. Yet they rejected the Messiah.

3. The directions of these "living waters." "Half of them toward the former sea; and half of them toward the hinder sea." The meaning is that these living waters were to spread all abroad. The Jewish Church was a local stationary witness for God. The Christian Church is not local and stationary, but is to go to the world. No dispensation of God can be final, but that which is universal. The blessings procured by our Saviour's death, are offered freely to all men.

4. Its perpetuity. "In summer and in winter shall it be." The most unfavourable seasons for rivers are here mentioned: yet they are not able to hinder the flow and efficacy of these "living waters." earthly rivers may be frozen by the cold of winter, and dried up by the heat of summer; not so with the river of life.

II. THE GLORIOUS RESULTS OF CHRISTIANITY. "The Lord shall be King over all the earth." It is impossible to think of the introducing of Christianity, without expecting great results. The effects of Christianity are described in two ways.

1. By universal subjection. At first sight this seems to announce no more than what He is already. But we must distinguish between right and acknowledgment. The design of Christianity is to make men feel their obligations to God. There is a difference between God's providential and God's spiritual government. The great thing to be attained is, for God to reign in us, by His grace; for Christ to reign in the heart, in the conscience, and in the affections.

2. By uniformity of homage. "One Lord, and His name one." Here the image changes, and the prophet leads us from the palace to the temple. "Our Lord" does not exclude personal distinctions in the Divine essence. Now there are lords many and gods many. Many have idols in their hearts. The time is coming when all these idols shall be utterly destroyed. "His name one." The Lord shall be known by all the tribes of mankind, and in all places of His dominion.

(Timothy Gibson, M. A.)

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