A Study of Psalm 46:4
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.”
These words are to be understood in a figurative sense, as applicable to Gospel times. This river designs the Gospel, the streams of which are its doctrines, which are living waters that went out from Jerusalem, and which publish glad tidings of great joy to all sensible sinners. It is the Spirit and His graces, which are compared to a well, and rivers of living water, in the exercise of which the saints have much joy and peace. It is also the Lord Himself, who is a place of broad rivers and streams to His people, and is both their refreshment and protection. It is His everlasting love to them here intended (Psalm 36:8; Ezekiel 47:5; Revelation 22:1).
The head of this river is the heart of God, His sovereign goodwill and pleasure. The channel through which it runs is Christ Jesus. The rise of it was in eternity, when, like a river that runs underground, it flowed secretly, as it does before the effectual calling, when it breaks up, and appears in large streams, and flows, and so it proceeds running on to all eternity. It is a river that is unfathomable and cannot be passed over. It has heights and depths, lengths and breadths, which cannot be fully comprehended. As for the quality of it, it is a pure river, clear as crystal, free of all dissimulation in the heart of God, and clear of all motives and conditions in the creature. Its water is living water, which quickens dead sinners, revives despairing saints, secures from the second death, and gives eternal life. This river makes all fruitful about it or that are planted beside it.
By John Gill