On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’
John 7:37-38 (NIV)
Read: John 7:25-44
Consider: Reading through John’s gospel we get a picture of Jesus performing miracles and speaking publicly about the coming of the kingdom of God. Despite this, opinions were divided, with some believing in Jesus and some rejecting him.
At the beginning of chapter 7 we read that Jesus purposely stayed away from Judea as the Jews were wanting to kill him. This seems a sensible thing to do, yet in John 7:14 we read that Jesus went up into the temple courts and began to teach. At first this might seem foolhardy because the Jews were watching out for him. Think about another time Jesus went to the temple and engaged with the religious leaders in discussion about spiritual things. This is recorded in Luke 2 and took place when Jesus was only twelve years old. When Joseph and Mary finally found him his response to them was as follows: Why were you searching for me? he asked. Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49). The King James version renders this as ‘… my Father’s business’. Can you see that no matter the apparent danger, Jesus was constrained to do the work for which he came to earth. This meant that when he went into the temple courts, he took the opportunity to teach the people (7:14; 7:28; 7:37). Jesus was not afraid to speak out about the people’s need to repent and return to God.
Look at how Jesus drew attention to himself in John 7:37-38 – On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, saying, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from them’. Jesus identifies himself with the words of Isaiah 55:1 where it says: Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Isaiah 55 contains God’s words to the people of Israel and his invitation for them to return to him. By identifying himself with this scripture, Jesus was effectively identifying himself as God.
The term ‘living water’ that Jesus uses should conjure up in our minds the refreshing and nourishing effect clean fresh water has on the body. However, Jesus is not talking about physical water, but spiritual water. John 7:39 gives us the explanation of what Jesus means by ‘living water’: By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Not only was Jesus saying that those who believed in him would receive the Holy Spirit, but also that the believers would be a source of living water flowing out as a blessing to others.
If you are a believer, do you act as a source of living water, spreading the message of the gospel as a blessing to others?
Pray: Father, may we rely on you as the true source of living water. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, so that living waters may flow out from us to a needy world. Amen