One day a Scottish evangelist asked hymn writer Fanny Crosby if she was disappointed that God had not given her sight. Fanny’s answer surprised him: “Do you know that if at my birth I had been able to make one petition to my Creator, it would have been that I should be made blind? Because, when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”
Fanny Crosby understood how glorious that sight of our Savior in eternity will be. Our passage today offers us a sneak peek at our glorious future with Christ. An angel shows John a glimpse of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. In the very center is the throne of God with a river flowing from it, “the water of life” (v. 1).
Notice that this paradise reflects and surpasses the original Creation of God. The Garden of Eden also had a river and the tree of life (Gen. 2:9). Both were placed in the Garden before Adam and Eve were cast out. Now, we are given access to them. Most wonderfully, the curse has been lifted. God is central in this environment. The trees are never barren. Fruit is plentiful. There is no more darkness or night—God Himself provides light (v. 5).
And we will see God! In the Old Testament, people were not able to look on the face of God. Here, we see God’s face, meaning we will know Him in perfect fullness and communion. We belong to Him completely, reunited in every way. The things that separate us from our Creator—sin, death, decay, and temptation—will be removed, and we will function as we were originally designed to live in harmony with God and others. What a wonderful day that will be!