|John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink: En de te eschate hemera te megale tes heortes eistekei (Pluperfect Active) ho Iesous kai ekraxen (AAI) legon (PAP), Ean tis dipsa (PAS) erchestho (PMid or PPass Imperative) pros mekai pineto. (PAM) :
J C Ryle introduces his comments on John 7:37-39 - The text which heads this message contains one of those mighty sayings of Christ which deserve to be printed in letters of gold. All the stars in heaven are bright and beautiful; yet even a child can see that one star excels another in glory. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; but that heart must indeed be cold and dull which does not feel that some verses are peculiarly rich and full. Of such verses, this text is one. (Thirst Relieved)
Now (de) - This (Greek "de") is an adversative, but frequently notes transition and here serves to introduce one of the greatest invitations in the Bible. Recall that in the first few chapters of John, Jesus was widely accepted and praised, but beginning in John 6 and John 7 we seeing a rising tide of resentment to His ministry and message (Jn 6:66, 7:1, 19-20, 25). He was beginning to disturb the status quo and ruffle the religious feathers of the Jewish leaders.
As you read the Scriptures and encounter words like "now," always take a moment to pause and ponder asking questions (depending on the context) such as when and where is now?
In this case (as usually happens), we are forced to examine the context of John 7, in which John records…
So the setting of Jn 7:37-39 is in Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Booths. The Feast of Booths occurred in late September, to early October and was one of the three great feasts all males (if they were able) were required to celebrate (Dt 16:16). Josephus, the Jewish historian, referred to the Feast of Booths as the holiest and the greatest of the feasts.
Ryle adds that Jerusalem was "the metropolis of Judaism, and the stronghold of priests and scribes, of Pharisees and Sadducees." (Shorthand for the "religious people"!)
BACKGROUND ON FEAST OF TABERNACLES
(See also excursus below)
The Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim writes that The Feast of Tabernacles was "the most joyous of all festive seasons in Israel was that of the 'Feast of Tabernacles.' It fell on a time of year when the hearts of the people would naturally be full of thankfulness, gladness, and expectancy. All the crops had been long stored; and now all fruits were also gathered, the vintage past, and the land only awaited the softening and refreshment of the 'latter rain,' to prepare it for a new crop. It was appropriate that, when the commencement of the harvest had been consecrated by offering the first ripe sheaf of barley, and the full ingathering of the corn by the two wave-loaves, there should now be a harvest feast of thankfulness and of gladness unto the Lord." (For much more detailed discussion see Feast of Tabernacles - note the link to next page of article is at bottom right of the page)
The Feast of Tabernacles (2Chr. 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Zech. 14:16), also called the Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16; 34:22), the Feast to the Lord (Lev. 23:39; Jdg. 21:19). Sometimes it was simply referred to as "the feast" (1Ki 8:2; 2Chr 5:3; 7:8; Neh 8:14; Isa 30:29; Ezek 45:23,25) presumably because it was so well known. Its observance combined the ingathering of the labor of the field (Ex 23:16), the fruit of the earth (Lev 23:39), the ingathering of the threshing floor and winepress (Dt. 16:13), and the dwelling in booths (or tabernacles), all of which was to be a joyful celebration for Israel (Lev 23:41; Dt 16:14). The "booth" in Scripture is not an image of privation and misery, but of protection, preservation, and shelter from heat and storm (Ps 27:5; 31:20; Isa. 4:6). The rejoicing community included family, servants, widows, orphans, Levites, and sojourners (Dt. 16:13-15).
To summarize, the Feast of Booths was a time of thanksgiving for the harvest. It was a happy time. Devout Jews lived outdoors in booths made of tree branches for seven days as a reminder of God’s provision in the desert during the wilderness wanderings. (See excursus on the Feast of Booths below) There were two practices that were not mentioned in Scripture but were included in the oral tradition passed on from Moses. One was the “special commandment of the willow,” and the other was the water libation. Each morning there was a solemn procession from the temple mount to the pool of Siloam for a pitcher of water. A priest would fill a gold pitcher with water as the people sang together from Isaiah 12:3 (See Commentary) The procession would return to the Temple Mount with trumpets blasting and great fanfare; there the priest would pour the water into a silver basin by the altar of burnt offering each day for the first seven days…
SUKKOT LINKS TOGETHER THE PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
Cecil summarizes the "three directions" the participants should have been pondering when they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles for the Feast "looked back and reminded the people of how God had provided water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings (Ex 17:6, Nu 20:8-11). It looked at the present and praised God for the provision of the harvest and most likely acted as a prayer for the coming year (Ps 118:25). But the ritual also looked toward the future and spoke prophetically of the coming days of the Messiah when God’s blessing would be poured out on the nation (Zech 14:8 = "living waters will flow out of Jerusalem," Zech 14:16-19 = "to celebrate the Feast of Booths")."
Notice in the chart below that the last great Feast of Israel is Sukkot and on the Jewish calendar it follows the last ingathering of the harvest of grain, but it surely points to the last great ingathering of souls when the Messiah returns, an event regarding which He prophesied declaring "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other." (Mt 24:30-31, see parallel passages that speak of this great harvest of souls which coincides with the re-gathering of the Nation of Israel - Isa 11:12-note, Ezek 36:24-27-note, Ezek 37:21-28-note, Ezek 38:8-note, Ezek 38:12-note, Ezek 39:27-29-note).
A few thoughts on these OT prophecies of the Feast of Booths, the future fulfillment and Jesus' invitation at the Feast of Booths in Jn 7:37-39. Recall that one reason for the Feast was to celebrate God's good provision of "living water" during their 40 years of "wilderness wanderings." It is notable that the OT descriptions of the "wilderness wanderings" state very clearly there was "NO WATER." (Read Ex 15:22, 17:1, Nu 20:2, 21:5, 33:14, Dt 8:15). No water in the wilderness meant certain physical death in only a few days. God saw their physical need and provided for their physical need, "painting" a beautiful picture of His desire and ability to provide for their (and every man's) spiritual need that they might not remain spiritually dead throughout eternity! Moses summarized the dry, desert times of Israel's wandering, writing "He (Jehovah) led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you (supernaturally) out of the rock of flint." (Dt 8:15). And so the Jews who were celebrating the Feast in John 7 would have (should have) been very familiar with God's provision of life giving physical "living (springing up, gushing forth, running, flowing) water" in the Old Testament. As they celebrated the rituals associated with the Feast for seven days, the Jews were in a sense re-enacting the picture of God's OT provision as they would dip living (running) water from a pool (which came from a spring) and joyously transport it back up the hill, through the Water Gate and to the Temple priests who poured it out on the altar. Onto this scene came Jesus, crying out to dry, parched, thirsty souls living in the "wilderness of this world," and with NO WATER that gives life to one's soul. Instead they had forsaken the fountain of living water and constructed their own cisterns and systems of Law keeping, of doing "good" works, etc. And yet these religious activities failed to satisfy the spiritual "thirst" God had placed in each of them. Into this "spiritually dry desert", Jesus came and stood and cried out offering them a drink from Himself (the same One from Whom their ancestors had drunk physical water! 1Cor 10:4!). He offered them living water that they might live spiritually, even as their ancestors were enabled to live physically in the OT after receiving the physical water. As Wiersbe says "At the feast, the Jews were reenacting a tradition that could never satisfy the heart. Jesus offered them living water and eternal satisfaction!" Could God have "painted the picture" more clearly? Even as Jesus was the Source of the physical water in the OT, He declares that He is the Source of the spiritual water in the NT. In so doing, He is showing that He is ultimate fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles! What a gracious, merciful, mighty God we are privileged to worship! And worship we will at the Millennial Feast of Tabernacles, celebrating the final ingathering of souls into the His glorious Kingdom. Hallelujah! Hosanna! Maranatha! Amen!
Now on the last day - While some feel the last day was the seventh day of the Feast of booths, a large percentage of commentators interpret the last day as an added eighth day.
LAST DAY SEVENTH DAY
If the last day is the 7th day of the feast, this would have been the last day a pitcher of water was carried from the Pool of Siloam. The famous Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim favors this as the last day - see his discussion - The Feast of Tabernacles
Douglas Cecil (foreword by Howard Hendricks) favors the last day and in light of that belief offers an interesting description of how the events may have unfolded…
From my personal survey of a large number of John commentaries, it appears that most observers feel that the last day was actually the day after the seven day Feast of Booths. Scripture specifically describes this day which was to be a day of rest (a Sabbath) from all laborious work.
As Westcott says "It is uncertain whether the libations (libations were offered on the altar each day of the Feast of Booths) were made upon the eighth day. If they were not made, the significant cessation of the striking rite on this one day of the feast would give a still more fitting occasion for the words.
Below are passages that describe this "eighth day".
As Ryle says "The time was ‘the last day of the feast’, when all the ceremonies were drawing to a close, when the water drawn from the fountain of Siloam, according to traditional custom, had been solemnly poured on the altar, and nothing remained for worshipers but to return home." (Thirst Relieved)
The great day - So whether it was the seventh day or the eighth day, John makes it clear that it was in some regard a great day. This implies that the it may well have been the most well attended of all the days, for the Jews knew it was a great day. In any event, unbeknownst to the Jews, it was a great day, in fact the greatest day, because the greatest Person would issue the greatest invitation ever offered to sinful men. In an abbreviated form, Jesus would proclaim to them the Good News, the Gospel of their salvation. But sadly, it was not as some say "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse," because this was (and is) an offer that can be refused by the one who has no ears to hear nor heart to receive what Jesus is offering. Jesus spoke to this dullness of hearing and hardness of heart with he quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10-note in Mt 13:10-15. In fact God considers Isaiah 6:9-10 so significant that it is quoted no less than six times in the NT (Mt 13:14, 15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10; Jn 12:40; Acts 28:25, 26, 27, 28; Ro11:8)!. Compare the Jewish response to the Gospel in Jn 1:9-11 with a Gentile response in Acts 16:14.
Pulpit Commentary - It may, moreover, have been called “the great day” because it was the closing day of all the festivals of the year. Josephus calls it “the very sacred close of the year.”… Meyer, Alford, Godet, Lange, and many others regard the eighth day as that here referred to by the word “great,” and find, in the very absence of the ceremonial of drawing water from the Pool of Siloam, the occasion which provoked the reference of our Lord to his own power to meet the spiritual thirst of mankind, thus repeating what he had said to the woman of Samaria
Colin Kruse has an excellent discussion of the context of John 7:37-39 - On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) Jesus promised living water to those who believed in him (Jn 7:37). To appreciate the impact of Jesus’ promise we need to understand the first-century water-pouring ritual during this feast. For the first six days of the feast they used to fill a golden flagon with water from the Pool of Siloam and carry it back to the Temple. When they reached the Water Gate, three blasts on the Shofar (ram’s horn trumpet) were sounded. When they arrived at the temple, they processed around the altar and sang the Hallel (Ps 113–118, eg see allusions to salvation in Ps 118:14, 15, 21, 25-26, partially fulfilled in Messiah's first advent = Mt 21:9), the people shaking their Lulavs (bundles of myrtle, palm and willow bound up with a Citron), while the priests shook theirs (made from willow [poplar] branches). The flagon was taken to the priest on duty at the altar who had two silver bowls, one for the water and the other for wine. These bowls were filled and then the contents poured over the altar. On the seventh day they processed around the altar seven times (Sukkah 3:9; 4:4–10; 5:1–4). People believed that when the Messiah came he would provide water (as he would provide manna) just as Moses had done: "As the former redeemer made a well to rise, so will the latter Redeemer bring up water, as it is stated, And a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim (Joel 3:18). (Qohelet Rabbah 1:9.1)" The evangelist sets the context of Jesus’ promise/proclamation: On the last and greatest day of the Feast. As noted above, the Feast of Tabernacles began with a solemn assembly on the first day, continuing for seven days, and was followed by another solemn assembly on the eighth day. When the evangelist refers to ‘the last and greatest day of the Feast’, it is difficult to know to which day he refers. If it was the eighth day, there would be no more water-pouring ceremonies, no more processions. These ceremonies had ceased. If it was the seventh day, when the priests and people processed around the altar seven times, singing the Hallel, shaking their Lulavs, and rejoicing before the Lord while the water was poured over the altar, the symbolism in Jesus’ proclamation would be striking. On the day when the last of the water-pouring ceremonies was performed amid much singing and rejoicing, Jesus invited people to come to Him, the One Who provides the rivers of living water. It seems preferable to say that ‘the last and greatest day’ was, in fact, the seventh day, when the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles reached its climax. (The Gospel According to John- An Introduction and Commentary Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
Of the feast (1859)(heorte) means feast, feast day, festival, holy day. In the NT heorte always denotes Jewish feasts or pilgrimage festivals (Passover =Lk 2:41, Feast of Unleavened Bread = Lk 22:1, Feast of Tabernacles = Jn 7:2).
Mounce - Jesus and His disciples celebrated the feasts (Jn 2:23; 5:1; 7:10, 14). More than half of the occurrences of heortē are found in John (Jn 12:12; 13:1), where the beloved disciple demonstrates that the OT feasts find their true significance in Christ (Jn 7:37). There is only one usage of heortē outside of the gospels (Col 2:16). Here Paul teaches that believers are free to eat, drink, and celebrate feast days without condemnation. But they must always remember that these feasts are “a shadow of the things that were to come” and that Christ fulfilled these feasts (Col 2:17). (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words)
The derived verb heortázo (1858) means to keep a feast or celebrate a holiday (1Co 5:8; Ex 5:1; Ps 42:4)
BDAG on heorte - a day or series of days marked by a periodic celebration or observance,
Homer used heorte for a feast or festival. Later writers (Aeschylus, et al) sometimes used it with the meaning of "sport" or "play" (holidaymaking, amusement, pastime).
NIDNTT - heortē has the basic meaning of performance, fulfilment (for the benefit of a deity). In its usual meaning of festival it is attested since Homer (Od., 20, 258 f.). Among the Greeks a great many events were elevated by means of festivals out of the common run of daily life: the change of the seasons and the high points of the year’s work from seed-time to harvest (fertility festivals); family events and the relationship between the individual and the community (family and tribal festivals). In later times especially, these festivities were practically always associated with certain deities and named after them. In addition to many festivals of local significance, there was an increasing number which were general throughout Greece. The list of these “legally sanctified portions of time” (Plato, Definitiones, 415a) produced a well-filled calendar of feasts which covered the whole year (in Roman times about a third of the total number of days in the year!) and every area of human life. It was not until later that important political events were also given festivals (memorial feasts), e.g. the battle of Marathon and the victory of Salamis… Spanning the whole realm of nature, every kind of occupation, and every special situation in life, numerous gods were honoured with a festival. Processes that were natural in origin were not only continued, but exaggerated to excess by celebrations involving immoderate indulgence in wine-drinking and love (especially in connection with the cult of Dionysus. Preparation for such feasts included fasting, washings and changes of clothing. The festival itself was celebrated with prayer and song, music and dancing, processions, sacrifice, sport, games and competitions. Markets and fairs were also part of the festival, and hostilities were usually interrupted. (New international dictionary of New Testament theology)
In the present context the feast refers to is the Feast of Booths.
The LXX uses heortē to translate the Hebrew hāg, which referred to a procession, round dance or festival (1 Kings 12:32–33; Neh 8:18). The LXX also uses heorte to translate mo'ed which refers to the appointed time (Lev 23:4 = "these are the appointed times"; Nu 28:2, Zeph 3:18).
See Dictionary Articles -
Heorte - 25x in 23v - NAS = feast(23), festival(3). notice 6 uses in John 7 = Jn 7:2, 8, 10, 11, 14, 37
Matthew 26:5 But they were saying, "Not during the festival (Passover - Pesach), otherwise a riot might occur among the people."
Matthew 27:15 Now at the feast (Passover - Pesach) the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted.
Mark 14:2 for they were saying, "Not during the festival (Passover - Pesach), otherwise there might be a riot of the people."
Mark 15:6 Now at the feast (Passover - Pesach) he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested.
Luke 2:41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;
Luke 22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.
John 2:23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.
John 4:45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.
John 5:1 After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
John 6:4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.
John 7:2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.
John 7:8 "Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come."
John 7:10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. 11 So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, "Where is He?"
John 7:14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.
John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
John 11:56 So they were seeking for Jesus, and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think; that He will not come to the feast at all?"
John 12:12 On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
John 12:20 Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast;
John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover (Pesach) , Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
John 13:29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something to the poor.
Colossians 2:16-note Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
Heorte - 84x in the Septuagint - Ex 10:9; 12:14; 13:6; 23:15f, 18; 32:5; 34:18, 22, 25; Lev 22:21; 23:2, 4, 6, 34, 37, 44; Num 10:10; 15:3; 28:2, 17; 29:12, 39; Deut 16:8, 10, 13f, 16; 31:10; Jdg 21:19; 1Kgs 8:65; 12:32f; 2Kgs 23:16; 1Chr 23:31; 2Chr 2:4; 5:3; 7:8f; 8:13; 30:13, 21f, 26; 31:3; 35:17; Ezra 3:4f; 6:22; Neh 8:14, 18; 10:33; Esther 8:12; Ps 74:4, 8; 81:3; 118:27; Isa 1:14; Jer 31:8; Lam 1:4; 2:6f, 22; Ezek 23:34; 36:38; 44:24; 45:17, 21, 23, 25; 46:9, 11; Hos 2:11; 9:5; 12:9; Amos 5:21; 8:10; Nah 1:15; Zeph 3:17; Zech 8:19; 14:16, 18f; Mal 2:3;
THE CRY HEARD
While Jesus' original cry was in Jerusalem, His words immortalized in Scripture have been heard around the globe, on every continent. And yet how tragic that there are still so many thousands of unreached people groups who have yet to hear Jesus' great cry! Perhaps God's Spirit is calling you take Jesus' cry to them. As Paul asks "how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!"" (Ro 10:14 -15) How many nameless souls, like those who first heard Jesus' words, stand on the brink of eternity not having heard Jesus' invitation, for they have never even heard the Name "Jesus" by which they must be saved (Acts 4:12). Consider praying daily for these thirsting, unreached people groups, for Jesus wants to offer them a drink through you ("from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water" - Jn 7:38)! I highly recommend the daily prayer devotional Global Prayer Digest which specifically seeks to target the most unreached people groups in the world. Make it part of your daily devotional time - your eternity (and many of those you pray for) will be richer because you prayed (see 1Thes 2:19-20-note)
Jesus stood - This translation obscures a subtle word picture. The verb stood is more literally translated "was standing," "which gives us a graphic touch" (Vincent) of Jesus standing and watching the ceremonial proceedings. Some commentaries observe that when teachers instructed in ancient Israel, they would do so for a sitting position, but here Jesus is standing to teach.
Robertson adds that stood is "Past perfect active of histēmi used as imperfect and intransitive and first aorist active of krazō. Picture Jesus standing (linear) and suddenly crying out (punctiliar)."
Jesus' standing and crying out surely must have arrested the attention of the crowd. Boice calls this "the most important and happy invitation you and I can ever receive, and the great promise that goes with it."
Jesus… cried - "This invitation emphasizes that main issue in life is Jesus Christ. It is not politics, race relations, economics or health—but Jesus… Christ presents Himself symbolically as the water of life and indicates that all who come to Him for salvation will receive the Holy Spirit (cp. I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13). It is an invitation to all with a great promise. (Analytical Bible Expositor: John)
Ray Pritchard - Note that Jesus stands and cries out with a loud voice. He pleads with people to come and drink the living water. You would think it would be the lost world that cries out for help, but it is the Lord himself who pleads with us. This is a strange thing. We are the ones who choose to die. It is God who pleads with us to live. He doesn’t say, “Clean yourself up and then I’ll give you living water.” Thank God, we can come begrimed with the dirt of our sin, and the living water itself will wash us clean. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
Cried out (2896)(krazo) refers to a loud cry, one expressive of deep emotion and occasionally translated shouting (Mt 21:15, 27:23). Krazo is an onomatopoeic word for the very pronunciation imitates the hoarse cry (croak) of a raven ("caw, caw" - Listen). Thus figuratively, krazo described one crying out loudly even with an urgent tone! When Peter was sinking in Jn 14:30 "he cried out (krazo), 'Lord, save me!'" Imagine Jesus' loudly crying out with deep emotion - "Come and drink!"
In the Septuagint (Greek version of the OT) we see this same verb describing the Seraphim cry out "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts." (Isa 6:3) Krazo is used in Jeremiah to warn the people of Judah and Jerusalem of impending judgment (Jer 4:5, 25:34). In Jer 11:11 (cp Mic 3:4) krazo describes the cry of the people to Jehovah when judgment comes, but He says "I will not listen to them." Jer 11:12 depicts the people crying out to their idols which "surely will not save them in the time of their disaster." But krazo is also used in one of the most mercy filled verses in the OT - "Call (krazo in the aorist imperative) to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know." (Jeremiah 33:3)
Krazo was used 3 times by Jesus including the present passage - (1) A second use in this same chapter - "Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know." (Jn 7:28) and (2) In His last words on the Cross - "Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." (Mt 27:50) So John's use of krazo gives us a sense of the dramatic effect as our Lord on the last day shouted out these great words. He wanted all present to hear and heed His cry! There must have been a great throng present and surely all present heard His gracious invitation to "Come!" Dear reader, are you thirsty? Are you thirsty? Let me rephrase that "Is your soul thirsty?" Does your innermost being feel a gnawing sense of imminent dehydration spiritually speaking? Have you come and drunk of Jesus? Does the Spirit flow out of you like a mighty life giving river to the dying world?
THE ESSENCE OF THE GOSPEL
Ray Pritchard writes that "Jesus’ words must have shocked His hearers with their stunning simplicity: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" (Jn 7:37). That short statement contains the essence of the Gospel message. It is centered in a person-Jesus Christ. It is offered to all without restriction-If anyone. It is predicated upon human need-If anyone is thirsty. It demands a personal response-Let Him come to me. It invites personal participation-and drink.
If - Jesus introduces this invitation with a crucial condition. Without thirst for the things of God, we won't seek Him (Ro 3:11b). The mystery is that no one seeks for God, so that any thirst for the things of God that a sinner has reflects His working on our hearts to prompt that holy desire!
A UNIVERSAL INVITATION
Anyone - This promise is open to anyone! So no one is too bad to be lost, even as no one is too good to be saved. No one is too guilty, too miserable, too bad to come. It they sense their soul is dry (dead) and parched (spiritually), the sense a need and they are simply to come and drink.
Ray Pritchard - Here is good news for the worst of sinners. Christ turns no one away. Here is good news for homosexuals trapped in their sin. Here is good news for murderers and adulterers and liars and thieves and cheaters. Here is good news for angry men and woman. Here is good news for defeated, despairing, discontented souls who feel like giving up. Here is good news for those ruined by drugs and alcohol. Here is good news for prisoners—and for all who are trapped in the prison of sin. Here is good news for the worst of sinners. If you are thirsty, come and drink the Living Water. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
Douglas Cecil applies this truth of Jesus' universal offer to personal evangelism, noting that "the flow of living water is available to “whoever believes.” Notice that Jesus’ offer is all-inclusive. It is open to everyone—“whoever believes.” In other words, becoming a source of living water to a lost world is not just for those who are more gifted in evangelism. It is not just for those who have the “bent” for evangelism; it is for everyone who believes. In our Christian culture we tend to believe that evangelism is only for the gifted. I often hear phrases like, “I just do not have the ability to be able to be involved in evangelism.” However, that mind-set contradicts what the passage says. The passage tells me that anyone who believes has the ability to reproduce in Christ." (Ibid)
THE AGE OLD QUESTION…
Thirsty - This metaphor speaks not of physical thirst but spiritual thirst. In the OT we see the related phrase "my soul thirsts" for God.
Spiritual thirst is a picture of one of our greatest physical needs, our need for water. A man can live many days without food, but cannot survive long without water (cp Amos 8:13). By analogy our greatest spiritual need is for Jesus and the new birth His Spirit brings about when we place our faith in Him.
Remember the Sprite commercial which had the tagline Obey your Thirst? Jesus is saying "Obey your spiritual thirst. Come and by faith drink of Me." No matter how much we drink from the wells of worldly wealth, fame and pleasure, we will only become more thirsty.
The only real thirst quencher of our parched soul is Jesus
So the devout sons of Korah cry "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (Ps 42:2). And David cries "O God, You are my God (Rich Mullins uses this phrase in his song "Sometimes by Step"); I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." (Ps 63:1)
Spurgeon commenting on Ps 42:2 observes that spiritual thirst "is more than hungering; hunger you can palliate, but thirst is awful, insatiable, clamorous, deadly. O to have the most intense craving after the highest good! Not merely for the temple and the ordinances, but for fellowship with God Himself (cp "Come to ME [JESUS]," in Jn 7:37). None but spiritual men can sympathize with this thirst for the living God. Because (Jesus) lives, and gives to men the living water; therefore we, with greater eagerness, desire Him. A dead god is a mere mockery; we loathe such a monstrous deity; but the ever living God, the perennial fountain of life and light and love, is our soul's desire. What are gold, honour, pleasure, but dead idols? May we never pant for these." (Ref)
Commenting on Ps 63:1, Spurgeon adds that "Thirst is an insatiable longing after that which is one of the most essential supports of life. There is no reasoning with it, no forgetting it, no despising it, no overcoming it by stoical indifference. Thirst will be heard; the whole man must yield to its power; even thus is it with that divine desire which the grace of God creates in regenerate men; only (Jesus) Himself can satisfy the craving of a soul really aroused by the Holy Spirit." Commenting on "a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water" he adds that "A weary place and a weary heart make the presence of (Jesus) the more desirable: if there be nothing below and nothing within to cheer, it is a thousand mercies that we may look up and find all we need (Heb 12:2, 1Pe 1:13, Col 3:1-2). How frequently have believers traversed in their experience this dry and thirsty land, where spiritual joys are things forgotten! And how truly can they testify that the only true necessity of that country is the near presence of their (beloved Jesus)! The absence of outward comforts can be borne with serenity when we walk with God; and the most lavish multiplication of them avails not when He withdraws. Only after God, therefore, let us pant. Let all desires be gathered into one. Seeking first the kingdom of God--all else shall be added unto us (Mt 6:33). (Ref)
Nothing can quench our spiritual thirst but Jesus (Thus He says "come to ME!") The dirty wells of this world can never satisfy the deepest need of our soul, which can only be filled by Jesus. As Augustine said "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
Ray Pritchard discusses the Biblical depiction of the Spirit as Living Water - In short, Jesus was offering something brand new in the history of the world, a complete inner transformation by means of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words must have shocked His hearers with their stunning simplicity: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" (Jn 7:37). That short statement contains the essence of the Gospel message. It is centered in a Person-Jesus Christ. It is offered to all without restriction-If anyone. It is predicated upon human need-If anyone is thirsty. It demands a personal response-Let Him come to me. It invites personal participation-and drink. What a wonderful picture of how the Spirit works in the human heart. Those who come to Christ find “living water” that satisfies the deep thirst within. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, that “living water” produces a new life that eventually bubbles to the surface (Ed: Cp Jn 4:14-note "a well of water springing up to eternal life") and becomes evident to others. Living water won’t become stagnant. It always produces a dynamic, abundant, exciting new life. Those who respond to the call receive the Holy Spirit as a permanent, indwelling, life-changing presence. To speak of “streams of living water” highlights four facts about the Spirit’s ministry in the believer: (1) He takes up residence within the “inner being.” (2) He “flows” with an inexhaustible supply. (3) He brings the life of God to the soul. (4) He satisfies the deep thirst inside every heart. Finally, this word picture also seems to imply a “flowing out” from inside the believer to the lives of those around him or her. As the “living water” flows from within, other thirsty people will wonder, “He (or she) used to be thirsty just like me. Where did all that water come from?" If we are dying in the desert, the most important thing in the world is a cup of cold water. Jesus promises more than a cup. He promises a never ending flow of clear, cool, clean living water. Streams without pollution. Rivers that will never run dry. The Holy Spirit brings the life of God to the thirsty soul. That’s what the Holy Spirit provides for us. He will fill our lives with living water. If we are thirsty, we are invited to take a drink and see for ourselves. Have you ever felt like spiritually “dry ground"? Have you ever felt “thirsty” for more of the Lord? Have you ever felt empty and needing to be filled? The Holy Spirit is God’s answer for our deep inner thirst. When He comes into our lives, He comes like a river rushing over dry ground. He pours out His blessings and our lives begin to blossom again. No one need stay “dry” or “empty” or “thirsty” forever. We weren’t made to live in a desert. God’s river called the Holy Spirit can flow through our lives, slaking our thirst, filling our emptiness, covering the arid ground with the water of life. (Four Pictures of the Holy Spirit - Water, Wine, Wind, Fire - Keep Believing Ministries)
Blaise Pascal alluded to soul thirst asking “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” (Pensées VII, p 425)
"Is anyone thirsty?" has been the call of God to sinful man throughout the ages. In a parallel passage Isaiah records a very similar invitation in the Old Testament
To the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus had expressed His physical thirst to introduce her need for spiritual thirst saying…
And even in some of the last words in the Bible, God seeks those who are thirsty, as John records in the Revelation of Jesus Christ…
Are you thirsty? The words of Horatius Bonar's great hymn beautifully testify of Christ the Smitten Rock and the Living Waters that flowed forth His pierced side on Calvary's Cross…
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one
Stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.
Or listen to Michael Card's Version of
Robert McCheyne - All believers should be thirsty; alas! few are. Signs: 1. Much thirst after the Word.—When two travellers are going through the wilderness, you may know which of them is thirsty, by his always looking out for wells… (2.) Much prayer.—When a little child is thirsty for its mother’s breast, it will not keep silence; no more will a child of God who is thirsty. Thirst will lead you to the secret well, where you may draw unseen the living water. It will lead you to united prayer… (3.) Desire to grow in grace.—Some persons are contented when they come to Christ. They sink back, as it were, into an easy chair, they ask no more, they wish no more. This must not be. If you are thirsty believers, you will seek salvation as much after conversion as before it. (The Works of the Late Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne)
Ray Pritchard on spiritual thirst - Inside all of us there is a thirst that nothing in this world can satisfy. We all have a “God-shaped vacuum” that only God can fill. Some people thirst for sexual fulfillment, so they hop from one relationship to another. Some people think career advancement is the key to happiness, so they move from job to job. Husbands leave their wives for other women, and still they are not happy. Wives leave their husbands for other men, and they aren’t happy either. Some of us are adrenalin junkies, always on the move, looking for the next jolt of excitement, the next big adventure, the next battle to fight, trying to fulfill the “Wild at Heart” impulse we feel on the inside. But adventure itself never lasts very long. Life returns to the ordinary and we wonder, “What do we do now?” Some people thirst for significance, others thirst for power, others thirst for fame or wealth or close relationships to fill the lonely void inside. There is the thirst of the intellect—we want to know the truth. There is the thirst of the conscience—we are guilty and need forgiveness. There is the thirst of the heart—we desperately search for happiness and don’t know where to find it. We come to Christ because we are thirsty, and until we see our need and cry out for help, we will never come at all. As Jesus said, only the sick need a physician. Only the hungry will be fed. Only the lost are found. Only the thirsty drink the living water. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
As J Vernon McGee says Jesus' "invitation is open to everyone, but it's limited to those who are thirsty. Are you thirsty? Are you discontent?… Oh, friend, go to Him! He has the water of life… If you are enjoying drinking at the cistern of this world, you will never come to Him, but if you are thirsty, come to Him, the (Ed: ONLY) One Who can and will satisfy." (David a Man After God's Own Heart)
Thirsting and hung’ring for Thee, Jesus,
"If Any Man Thirst" - "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty." Isa. 44:3 But who is thirsty? Casually wanting a drink of water is not thirsting. We know nothing of thirst, with water on tap at our elbows. When every pore cries, "water"; when lips swell; when every thought, hope and desire is concentrated in a fever for one cooling drink—that is thirst. Do we have such craving for fulness of the Spirit? Do we pant after God as the hart after the water brooks? We talk lightly about the need of more power. Five minutes later we have changed to some other subject; it is merely a topic for polite conversation among the saints. We are too shallow, we do not go to the deeps of any subject, we flit like butterflies from theme to theme. And never even in dreams have seen, The things which are more excellent. We are inclined nowadays to discount the experiences of the giants of another day who were so consumed with fever for deeper blessing that food lost its taste and sleep could not be had. More comfortable routes to Beulah Land, have been devised. But deep desire brings deep delight and when one compares the mighty preaching of those days with the thin pipings of these times it is evident that a shallow sense of poverty has brought a shallow sense of power. The living water has not been poured upon us for we are not thirsty. (Vance Havner - Consider Jesus)
Ray Pritchard on what how to experience a river of living water flowing out from our innermost being (Jn 7:38) - The first step is coming to Jesus. It’s all very personal. Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me.” He doesn’t say, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to the church.” Or “let him come to the pastor.” Or “let him walk an aisle or sign a card.” Or even “let him learn Bible doctrine.” Jesus invites a thirsty world to come to him. Christianity is Christ. It’s not a religion; it’s a relationship. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
Is thirsty (1372) (dipsao from dipsa = thirst) is used to refer to literal thirst (Mt 25:35, 37, 42, 44; Jn 19:28) and figurative thirst (Mt 5:6, Jn 4:13, 14, 6:35, 7:37, Rev 7:16, 21:6, 22:17). And so we see that dipsao is used to describe both physical thirst and the deep spiritual longing that is in every heart.
Thayer - Figuratively, those are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened: John 4:13f; 6:35; 7:37; Rev. 7:16; 21:6; 22:17;
It is worth noting that in John 7:37 in Jesus' invitation He uses three verbs, each one in the present tense. One could amplify His invitation this way "If anyone is continually thirsting, let him keep coming to Me and keep drinking from Me." Note that in Jn 7:38 the verb believe (which parallels the verb drink in Jn 7:37) is also in the present tense, conveying the sense of "keep on believing in Me," something genuine believers are enabled to accomplish by the Spirit. May the Spirit Who ever seeks to glorify Jesus, continually make us thirsty for more of Him, and less of the world, so that we keep coming to Him, drinking from Him, believing in Him, that His Name might be glorified among the nations. Amen.
Dipsao - 16x in 16v - Usage: am thirsty(1), thirst(5), thirsts(1), thirsty(9).
Dipsao - 29v in the Septuagint (Lxx) - Ex 17:3; Jdg 4:19; 15:18; Ru 2:9; Job 18:9; 22:7; 29:23; Ps 42:2; Ps 63:1; Ps 107:5; Pr 25:21, 25; 28:15; Isa 21:14; 25:4-5; 29:8; 32:2, 6; 35:1, 6-7; 41:18; 48:21; 49:10; 53:2; Isa 55:1; 65:13; Jer 31:25.
Notice the first use in Ex 17:3 speaks of literal physical thirst, which prompted the Israelites to come to Moses and grumble!
Here are some interesting OT uses of dipsao…
John Piper has a good word on if any one is thirsty - My father has been in evangelism for about forty years, and he told me one time that the hardest work is not getting men saved but getting them lost. To put it another way, the hardest thing is not to satisfy their thirst but to make them feel thirsty for God. All men thirst. But not all thirst for God. We are the only species of God's creation afflicted and blessed with chronic longing. Dolphins are content to frolic in the sea, dogs are content to lie in the sun, frogs are content to bump their bellies from pond to pond. But man is not content. He is afflicted with chronic restlessness. Everything we set our hand to gets old. We fight without success against an epidemic of boredom. Fad after fad, fashion after fashion, challenge after challenge leave us thirsty in the end. Why? It's a hidden blessing. George Herbert describes the blessing beautifully in a poem called "The Pulley."
When God at first made man,
So strength first made a way;
For if I should (said He)
Yet let him keep the rest,
(Piper continues) We are afflicted and blessed with a chronic restlessness, an insatiable soul-thirst, for this reason: that we might keep looking until we find Christ. And that having found him we might be turned back to him again and again when we taste of other springs and find them bitter. We were made for God. The taste buds of our souls were made to relish fellowship with the Son of God. But we have become sinners, and the fundamental meaning of sin is thirsting for things other than God. Our sinful nature is a condition of diseased spiritual taste buds. Therefore, the prerequisite for coming to Christ and finding joy in him is renewal of our spiritual taste buds. Paul said, "The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him" (1 Corinthians 2:14). The unspiritual man looks at a believer who delights in drawing near to Christ in worship, prayer, study, and witness, and all he can see is a fool or a hypocrite. He cannot imagine that any of those things is a delight. He has no thirst for Christ, and so the invitation of Jesus is a dead issue. But God is gracious. He frustrates the human race again and again. He causes every wreath to wither, every gold cup to tarnish, every muscle to sag, every face to wrinkle, every sexual exploit to go sour, every sin to sting, until we have put him off too long. He wants us for himself. He wants everything but himself to grow dim in our eyes. He offers to heal our spiritual taste buds. (Rivers From the Heart)
Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote the following hymn…
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on Thee call;
To them that seek Thee Thou art good,
To them that find Thee all in all.
We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.
Jerry Bridges - The greatness of Christ’s merit is known best by sinners in deep distress. The thirstier a man is, the more he’ll prize a cup of water; the more our sins break and burden us, the more we’ll treasure our Healer and Deliverer. Join us in letting this quote resonate deeply within you. Don’t avoid the voice of your conscience; instead deliberately and regularly remember your past sin and acknowledge your present sin. Then return to the cross, the epicenter of the unfathomable greatness of Christ’s merit. Don’t be reluctant to feel thirst; it points you to living water where you can cherish every drop of it he gives for what it really is—precious beyond comparison. (The bookends of the Christian life)
Dennis Fisher - This thirst-quenching water is a picture of the spiritual satisfaction that only He can provide… Christ departed so that the Holy Spirit could be imparted. God can quench our spiritual thirst in the most unlikely circumstances. When by faith we believe the promises of God’s Word, we can experience rivers of living water and grace for our daily needs.
Oswald Chambers on if anyone is thirsty - Our Lord begins where we would never begin, at the point of human destitution. The greatest blessing a man ever gets from God is the realization that if he is going to enter into His Kingdom it must be through the door of destitution. Naturally we do not want to begin there, that is why the appeal of Jesus is of no use until we come face to face with realities; then the only One worth listening to is the Lord… (He shall glorify me: talks on the Holy Spirit and other themes)
The Pool of Siloam (Siloam = sent) is located at the at the southern extremity of the The Tyropoeon Valley, at the southern end of Hezekiah's tunnel and is mentioned in John 9:7, 11. "The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts." (Wikipedia) Note that the Hebrew name of the pool is Shiloah, the Greek name is Siloam and the Arabic name is Silwan. For a fascinating review of the history and archeology (including many pictures ancient and recent) click Shiloah (Siloam) Pool.
Pool of Siloam (Greek)
(Note Hebrew = Shiloah - 07975)
Click to Enlarge
Let him come to Me - Note first that Jesus is not making a suggestion but giving a commandment. Note also that he does not say "Come to the Spirit," but "Come to Me!" Jesus gives an invitation to everyone to experience a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP, not a call to a RELIGION, a RITUAL or a REGULATION (Law). "To Me" emphasizes that Jesus Alone is the Source of Soul Satisfying "water" of salvation. In a sense, Jesus invitation is a partial fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy "Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation" (Isa 12:3), a prophecy which will see it's fulfillment in the Millennial reign when "all Israel will be saved."
Come (2064)(erchomai) means to come, to accompany, to go. The verb is in the present imperative, indicating that it is a command to keep on coming to Him. The NASB marginal note more accurately and literally renders Jesus' invitation as "Let him keep coming to Me and let him keep drinking."
Jesus' invitation here is similar to another well-known invitation in Matthew…
And drink - Notice that Jesus is calling for a response - (1) come and (2) drink. One must take personal responsibility come and drink. Salvation is from God but is not one sided. Jesus is not saying He will force any to come or to drink. His only requirement is that they be thirsty and sensing their thirst they come to Him and drink. How does one drink of Jesus? Clearly in context he believes in Jesus (Jn 7:38).
Drink (4095)(pino) means literally to consume liquids or take in a liquid internally. Clearly Jesus is using pino metaphorically to speak of a command (like "come" pino is also present imperative) to spiritually experience Jesus. And so to drink of the water Jesus gives is to receive "living water," (Jn 4:10), to "become… a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (in Jn 4:14) and to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:37-38).
Once we have believed (taken our first drink of Jesus, so to speak), thereafter how do we continue to drink of Jesus? Jesus is the Living Word represented in the written Word and as we read the Word, we "drink" of Jesus. When we read, it is not to be mechanical, but reading with faith, believing and receiving what we read (cp receiving and believing in Jn 1:11-13) Remember that it begins with recognizing that you are thirsty. We admit our need. He meets our need.
Maclaren commenting on Christ the substance fulfilling the OT shadows in John 7:37-39 - "So here is one more instance to add to those to which I have directed your attention on former occasions, in which, in this Gospel (of John), we find Christ claiming to be the fulfilment of incidents and events in that ancient covenant, Jacob’s ladder, the brazen serpent, the manna, and now the Rock that yielded the water." (John 7:37-38 The Rock and the Water) Paul taught that "(These) things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:17)
John 7:37 Cup or Bucket - "Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You with my empty cup, uncertain but asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known You better I’d have come running with a bucket." (Nancy Spiegelberg, Decision, November, 1974)
Quenching the Eternal Thirst - Many years ago, a crew of Peruvian sailors were heading up the Amazon River when they happened upon an unusual sight. A Spanish ship was anchored off the coast and all the sailors were stretched out weakly on the deck of the ship. As the Peruvians drew closer, they saw that the Spaniards were in terrible physical condition. They looked as if they were one step away from death, their lips parched and swollen. Here, in this ship, these Spanish sailors were literally dying of thirst. "Can we help you," shouted the Peruvians? The Spaniards cried out, "Water! Water! We need fresh water!" The Peruvian sailors, surprised at this request, told them to lower their buckets and help themselves. The Spaniards, fearing they'd been misunderstood cried back, "No, no we need FRESH water!" Again the Peruvians told the Spanish sailors to lower their buckets. Finally, the sailors did as the Peruvian sailors commanded and when their buckets were brought up to the surface, they discovered fresh water. Little did they know that they were at the mouth of the fresh-water Amazon River. All they had to do was take a drink and their thirst would be quenched. Jesus Christ offers Living Water to quench man's spiritual thirst. Man doesn't have to do anything but drink this Water. Sadly, many will die thirsty, because they do not know about Jesus Christ, the Living Water. It is our job to tell them. (James Scudder - Living Water)
An Allusion to John 7:37 - The Christian Novelist - (excerpt from article on C S Lewis - Christian History - Volume 7) - Take an instance from the beginning of the Narnian adventure, The Silver Chair. Jill Pole has played the egotist and gotten her friend Eustace Scrubb into trouble. Shortly afterwards she comes upon a Lion (the capital is Lewis’s) which turns and moves slowly back into the forest. Jill then hears running water and finds herself very thirsty, whereupon she plucks up her courage and steals carefully from tree to tree in its direction. She comes upon an open glade from which the sight of the enticing water ahead mightily increases her thirst. Ready to rush forward, she suddenly checks herself because there, between her and the stream, is the Lion lying quietly with its head raised and its paws out in front. It is looking straight at Jill. The two face each other for a long time.
Jill’s thirst is now so persistent that she must have water even if the Lion catches her. In a “heavy, golden voice” the Lion finally asks, “Are you thirsty?”
“I’m dying of thirst,” Jill promptly responds.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
Hesitantly Jill suggests that the Lion go away while she drinks, to which a low growl is the only response. Then she says, “I daren’t come and drink.”
“Then you will die of thirst.”
Taking a step nearer, Jill says, “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream.”
Now frantic with thirst, Jill proceeds to the sparkling stream and drinks “the coldest, most refreshing water she has ever tasted.”
Apart from “no other stream,” this whole episode is simply good narrative. Yet we can imagine the many Scriptures which ran through Lewis’s mind as he wrote: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink … none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved … whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst … Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him … The wages of sin is death,” and more.
We must not of course suppose that the manner in which Lewis presents this episode is the only possible way. What it does infer beyond question is that The Silver Chair is a story and therefore must above all keep literary faith. At the same time the record is abundantly clear that Lewis’s Narian stories have conveyed the Christian way to millions of children and adults. One of my friends wrote me at some length of how, over a period of some ten years, he had slowly lost total contact with God, and how one day while reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to his children he was suddenly overcome with remorse and tearfully recommitted himself to the Savior. (Christian History Magazine-Issue 7: C. S. Lewis: His Life, Thought & Theology)
Salty Christians - Alan Carr - Salt creates a thirst for water in those who are exposed to it!) As salt, the Christian has the wonderful opportunity to promote a thirst for Jesus in the world. Remember what the Lord told us? He said that out of our bellies would flow rivers of living water - John 7:37-38. When we live as Christians should live. When we take the call of Jesus seriously and live right, look right, act right, talk right, worship right, dress right, etc. Then we have the ability to create a thirst for Jesus in the hearts of those around us. When that happens, we can point men to Jesus and share with them the water of life. Sadly, most Christians do not promote thirst, but ridicule instead. Too often, we live substandard immoral lives and the world sees it and says, “Why should I receive Jesus? I live just as good as that crowd down at the church!” The sad truth is, they are often right! Let's so live that we ever prove them wrong. Our lives must be above reproach if we are to create a thirst for God in the world around us!
Swindoll - (Nice Summary) One ritual observed each day of the Feast of Tabernacles involved a solemn procession in which a priest carried a goblet of water from the Pool of Siloam (fed by the Gihon Spring), through the Water Gate, and into the inner temple court. As the congregation sang a hymn based on Isaiah 12:3-note, the priest poured the water on the altar, commemorating the Lord’s provision of water in the wilderness (Nu 20:8–11). The Feast of Tabernacles thus built toward a climactic convocation (Lev. 23:36). During this climax, Jesus stood to address temple throngs. Perhaps just before or even during the priest’s procession from the Pool of Siloam, Jesus called all people to receive from Him “living water,” not unlike his offer to the Samaritan woman (4:13–14). John’s editorial comment clarifies for the reader that the “living water” is indeed the Holy Spirit, who would not be given to believers until after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension. (Insights on John)
D L Moody devotional on John 7:37 - How this world is thirsting for something that will satisfy! What fills the places of amusement, the dance houses, the music halls, and the theatres, night after night? Men and women are thirsting for something they have not got. The moment a man turns his back upon God, he begins to thirst; and that thirst will never be quenched until he returns to “the fountain of living waters.” (Jer 2:13) As the prophet Jeremiah tells us, we have forsaken the fountain of living waters, and hewn out for ourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. There is a thirst this world can never quench: the more we drink of its pleasures, the thirstier we become. We cry out for more and more (Ed: Or the latest and greatest hi tech gadget!), and we are all the while being dragged down lower and lower. But there is a fountain opened to the House of David for sin and for uncleanness (Zech 13:1). Let us press up to it, and drink and live. (The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody)
Vine - The controversy died down till the last day, “the great day of the Feast,” the Hosanna Rabba. The eighth day was, like the first, observed as a Sabbath (Lev. 23:39); special sacrifices were offered (Num. 29:36-38). During the seven days preceding, pilgrims, leaving their booths, marched in procession seven times round the city, shouting “Hosanna.” Crowds followed the priests and Levites daily bearing the golden vessels to the brook of Siloam to carry the water thereof up to the temple, where it would be poured into a silver vessel on the eastern side of the altar of burnt offering, and all to the chanting of Isaiah’s words, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,” and “With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” This ritual was apparently not observed on the eighth day, for whereas the preceding ritual symbolized the water from the rock in the wilderness, the eighth day commemorated their entrance into the “land of springs of water.” “Rivers of Living Water” - This day therefore provided the occasion for the giver of the water of life to interpose His invitation to the spiritually needy. Standing before the crowds with a solemn and authoritative dignity, and with a kindly summons that rang out over the whole scene, He cried, “If any man thirst, let Him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow the rivers of living water” (Jn 7:38).
Hughes - On the seventh day, the priest would circle the altar seven times in succession—as the people of Israel had encircled the walls of Jericho. When he came around for the sixth time, he’d be joined by another priest carrying the wine. They would ascend the ramp to the altar of holocaust where they were together to pour out the water and wine on the altar. When they were in place, there would come a pause as the priest raised up his pitcher. Always the crowd shouted for him to hold it higher and he would do so. It was considered to be the height of joy in a person’s life if he could see the water being poured out onto the altar (Preaching the Word, p. 139).
Vance Havner Devotional on John 7:37 - "Come and Drink" My soul thirsteth. Psalm 63:1. If any man thirst… John 7:37. "But how can my thirsting soul find God? He is too abstract, I can form no mental picture of Him. How can I drink of the Living Water?" That is why Jesus came. In Him the Word became flesh. No man comes to the Father but by Him, and whosoever comes to Him will in no wise be cast out. "If any man thirst, let Him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, from within him shall flow rivers of living water." Thirsting, coming, drinking, believing, overflowing—the thirsting soul comes and receives and believes that it has received (Mk. 11:24). The overflowing is a natural—a supernatural—consequence—"shall flow." A little tenement child in a hospital, presented with a large glass of cool, rich milk, asked hesitantly, "How deep may I drink?" Drink deeply of the Living Water! "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." (Day by Day)
Depository or Dispenser? Freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8. Jesus speaks of the instructed scribe as a householder who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old. We are stewards of the manifold grace of God, not to keep it but to share it. We have a treasure in earthen vessels. The Gospel is not a secret to be hoarded but a story to be heralded. From the carcass of the lion Samson carried handfuls of honey. Our Lord said that the Living Water should be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life, and that from within us should flow rivers of living water (Jn 4:14, 7:38). Peter said to the lame man, "Such as I have give I thee." "To have is to owe, not own," and we are dispensers of God's grace, not depositories. It is a day of good tidings, and if we hold our peace it will go ill with us. Too many Christians are stuffing themselves with Gospel blessings, while millions have never had a taste. We are debtors to all men to give freely what we have freely received. (Day by Day)
More Than Tea Tasters - There are professional teatasters, I am told, but we do not need their counterpart in Christian experience. We are not meant to sip lightly of this truth and that but to drink regularly and habitually of the Living Water. We have a treasure in earthen vessels and something to pass on worth infinitely more than a better cup of tea! (Vance Havner - Song at Twilight)
Filled - To be filled with the Spirit, we must believe and receive. Some one has said that "believe" and "receive" are two of the hardest words to spell, because it is "ie" in one and "ei" in the other. Certainly these two words are often difficult to understand in Christian experience. Yet "believe" and "receive" is the principle of the new birth (John 1:12), the law of prayer (Mark 11:24), and the basis of the Spirit-filled life (John 7:37-39). The Christian believes there is such an experience as being filled with the Spirit; he receives that filling and then believes he has received. Prayer and preparation empty the heart of sin, and then faith receives the Spirit's filling. We must also share. We are not only filled; we are to overflow. From within the Spirit-filled Christian, flow rivers of living water as our Lord said. I have seen too many church members "enjoy" revivals who never tried to bring anyone else to share its blessings. That is selfishness of the worst sort. If we do not overflow, we become stagnant swamps. (Havner, Vance, Living in Kingdom Come)
Spurgeon - Morning and Evening Devotional on John 7:37 - Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the feast he pleaded with the Jews, even as on this last day of the year he pleads with us, and waits to be gracious to us. Admirable indeed is the longsuffering of the Saviour in bearing with some of us year after year, notwithstanding our provocations, rebellions, and resistance of his Holy Spirit. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy! Pity expressed herself most plainly, for Jesus cried, which implies not only the loudness of his voice, but the tenderness of his tones. He entreats us to be reconciled. "We pray you," says the Apostle, "as though God did beseech you by us. " What earnest, pathetic terms are these! How deep must be the love which makes the Lord weep over sinners, and like a mother woo his children to his bosom! Surely at the call of such a cry our willing hearts will come. Provision is made most plenteously; all is provided that man can need to quench his soul's thirst. To his conscience the atonement brings peace; to his understanding the gospel brings the richest instruction; to his heart the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole man the truth as it is in Jesus supplies the purest nutriment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Though the soul were utterly famished, Jesus could restore it. Proclamation is made most freely, that every thirsty one is welcome. No other distinction is made but that of thirst. Whether it be the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, he who suffers from it is invited. The thirst may be bad in itself, and be no sign of grace, but rather a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper draughts of lust; but it is not goodness in the creature which brings him the invitation, the Lord Jesus sends it freely, and without respect of persons. Personality is declared most fully. The sinner must come to Jesus, not to works, ordinances, or doctrines, but to a personal Redeemer, who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree. The bleeding, dying, rising Saviour, is the only star of hope to a sinner. Oh for grace to come now and drink, ere the sun sets upon the year's last day! No waiting or preparation is so much as hinted at. Drinking represents a reception for which no fitness is required. A fool, a thief, a harlot can drink; and so sinfulness of character is no bar to the invitation to believe in Jesus. We want no golden cup, no bejewelled chalice, in which to convey the water to the thirsty; the mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and quaff the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love; they cannot pollute it, but shall themselves be purified. Jesus is the fount of hope. Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer's loving voice as he cries to each of us, "IF ANY MAN THIRST, LET HIM COME UNTO ME AND DRINK."
James Smith - THE PROHIBITED AND THE INVITED. John 7:32-39. "God, being so great, great gifts most willingly imparts; But we continue poor that have such narrow hearts."—Trench.
At this great temple feast Jesus twice cried. The first was the cry of rebuke (v. 28), the second was the cry of pity and compassion (Jn 7:37). To them, as to many now, Jesus Christ was a great mystery. They knew Him, yet they knew Him not. They could not reconcile the "carpenter's son" with the Son of God. But, nevertheless, Jesus fearlessly declares His unique relationship to the Father, and the purpose of His coming into the world (Jn 7:29). It was to those "officers" sent by the Pharisees and chief priests to take Him, that this hard, searching statement was made, which we might call—
I. The Prohibition. "Ye shall seek Me, and shall not find Me, and where I am ye cannot come" (Jn 7:34). He did not say here, "Where I go, ye cannot come," but "Where I am ye cannot come." This could not refer to His bodily presence, for they were now standing together within the precincts of the temple, but to His moral and spiritual attitude toward the Father. Two questions arise here: (1) Where was Jesus that they could not come; and (2) How could they not come where He was.
1. WHERE THEY COULD NOT COME. "Where I am ye cannot come." Then where was He? He was living in the presence of God. He was filled with the love of God. He was rejoicing in the will of God. He was guided by the Spirit of God. He was kept by the power of God. In Spirit this was where He was, and this is where they could not come.
2. WHY THEY COULD NOT COME. Because of their ignorance. They knew not the Father (Jn 7:28). Because of their pride. They were self-satisfied. Because of their unbelief. They believed not Him as the true witness from God. So that, in their present condition of mind and heart it was morally impossible for them to come where He was. The lesson for us is very obvious, for the principle at work here is eternal and unchangeable. We cannot come to where Christ is, without possessing the Christ-like nature. Into His holiness, peace, and power, we cannot come, unless we forsake our own thoughts and ways, and yield ourselves entirely in obedience to His Word and will. "Where I am ye cannot come," unless ye come the way that I came, by being "born of God" and baptised of the Holy Spirit.
II. The Invitation. "If any man thirst let him come unto Me" (Jn 7:37). In your pride and unbelief "ye cannot come," but if you are thirsting for a deeper, truer, holier life, then here is your great opportunity. "Come unto Me and drink." To drink of His truth and Spirit is to come where He is. The self-satisfied cannot come, the thirsty may.
1. THE INVITED. It is the thirsty who are invited to drink. The invitation is to Himself: "Come unto Me." It is not, "Come to the temple, or to the Church, or to any particular form of worship." Apart from Him, every other source is polluted, every other cistern broken. It is not the gifts of Christ thirsty souls need, so much as Christ Himself. To drink of Him is to receive of His fullness, which alone can quench and satisfy the thirst of a soul after righteousness and God. A thirst for the living God is capacity for Him. Jesus Christ is the only One who ever could honestly challenge the thirsty souls of men to prove Him as all-sufficient to meet their every need.
2. THE PROMISE. "He who believes in Me, from within him, as the Scriptures has said, rivers of living water shall flow" (Jn 7:37, Weymouth's translation). When we have come into this place of fullness of blessing, then we have come to "where He is." When we believe on Him, as He believed on His Father, then from within us, as from within Him, there will flow rivers of living water, because the Holy Spirit will have free access into the inner life, and full control of the whole being. As good food received into a healthy stomach will manifest itself in vigorous, useful action by sending fresh rivers of life through the entire system, so will it be when the Spirit of Truth is received by an obedient heart. The fountains of the old life will be dried up, and another fountain opened within, which has its source in the Living God, and whose streams are for the healing and salvation of others. "Ye shall not find Me" (Jn 7:34), said Christ to His fault-finders, for fault-finders shall never find Him in all the true riches of His glorious character. But "he that believeth on Him" shall enter into the blessed fullness of that wondrous life. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely (Rev. 22:17).
A devoted follower of Socrates asked him the best way to acquire knowledge. Socrates responded by leading him to a river and plunging him beneath the surface. The man struggled to free himself, but Socrates kept his head submerged. Finally, after much effort, the man was able to break loose and emerge from the water. Socrates then asked, “When you thought you were drowning, what one thing did you want most of all?” Still gasping for breath, the man exclaimed, “I wanted air!” The philosopher wisely commented, “When you want knowledge as much as you wanted air, then you will get it!” The same is true with our desire to drink of Jesus. When we want Him more than we want the passing pleasures of the world, we will come to Him and drink! Could this explain why so many of us are not more thirsty for Christ? (Our Daily Bread)
An illustration of thirsting to the point of near dehydration - Driving up from Beersheba, a combined force of British, Australians and New Zealanders were pressing on the rear of the Turkish retreat over arid desert. The attack outdistanced its water carrying camel train. Water bottles were empty. The sun blazed pitilessly out of a sky where the vultures wheeled expectantly. “Our heads ached,” writes Gilbert, “and our eyes became bloodshot and dim in the blinding glare. Our tongues began to swell. Our lips turned a purplish black and burst.” Those who dropped out of the column were never seen again, but the desperate force battled on to Sheria. There were wells at Sheria, and had they been unable to take the place by nightfall, thousands were doomed to die of thirst. “We fought that day,” writes Gilbert, “as men fight for their lives. We entered Sheria station on the heels of the retreating Turks. The first objects which met our view were the great stone cisterns full of cold, clear, drinking water. In the still night air the sound of water running into the tanks could be distinctly heard, maddening in its nearness; yet not a man murmured when orders were given for the battalions to fall in, two deep, facing the cisterns. He then describes the stern priorities: the wounded, those on guard duty, then company by company. It took four hours before the last man had his drink of water, and in all that time they had been standing twenty feet from a low stone wall on the other side of which were thousands of gallons of water. (From an account of the British liberation of Palestine by Major V. Gilbert in The Last Crusade, quoted in Christ’s Call To Discipleship J. M. Boice)
Spurgeon - I have heard of hungry travelers who were lost in the wilderness and came upon a bag which they hoped might yield them a supply of food. They eagerly opened the bag, but it contained nothing but pearls, which they poured out contemptuously upon the desert sand. Even so, when a man is hungering and thirsting after things of this life, and all his thoughts are taken up with carnal appetites, he will reject as worthless the priceless promises of God.
THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL (Jn 7:37) - How simply our Lord presented the Gospel. He often depicted the sinner's response to the salvation He offered in terms of everyday activities like eating, drinking, and receiving. During a Gospel meeting in a town in Ohio, a man was greatly convicted of his need of the Lord Jesus. He concealed his feelings even from his wife, who was a lovely Christian. One evening when she was away, he became so anxious about his condition that he began pacing the floor. His daughter, noticing her father's agitation, asked him what was wrong. "Oh, nothing," he replied, trying in vain to relieve his pangs of conviction. The youngster, with the profound simplicity of childhood, said, "Daddy, if you were thirsty wouldn't you go and get a drink of water?" Her words startled the father. He thought of his thirsty soul, so parched and empty. Then he remembered what he had heard in the meeting—that the Gospel was like a freely flowing fountain. He resisted no longer. That night he asked Jesus to save him. Nothing can quench our spiritual thirst but Jesus. The wells of the world only make us more thirsty. Jesus said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (John 4:14). —P. R. Van Gorder (Our Daily Bread).
Robert Murray M’Cheyne - When two travelers are going through the wilderness, you may know which of them is thirsty by his always looking out for wells… So it is with thirsty believers; they love the Word, read and preached—they thirst for it more and more. Is it so with you, dear believing brethren? In Scotland, long ago, it used to be so. Often, after the blessing was pronounced, the people would not go away till they heard more. Ah! children of God, it is a fearful sign to see little thirst in you. I do not wonder much when the world stays away from our meetings for the Word and prayer; but ah! when you do, I am dumb—my soul will weep in secret places for your pride.
Spiritual Thirst - Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Have you ever really been thirsty? What kinds of things would real thirst drive you to do? In the midst of a drought in Kenya, thirsty monkeys attacked Ali Adam Hussein and his fellow herdsman who stopped to water their herd. The wild monkeys barraged them with rocks, resulting in Hussein's death. When hunger and thirst reaches a critical stage, it becomes a primary motivator. It causes the thirsty to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do. What would happen if our spiritual thirst for righteousness was as strong as our natural thirst for water? Society needs righteousness. We need righteousness, and God will give it to us if we hunger and thirst for it. (Jim Wilson)
Spurgeon- Since our Lord Jesus Christ has taken away the curse due to sin, a great rock has been lifted out from the river-bed of God's mercy, and the living stream comes rippling, rolling, swelling on in crystal tides, sweeping before it all human sin and sorrow, and making glad the thirsty who stoop down to drink thereat.
Desert Pete - In the 1960s, the Kingston Trio released a song called “Desert Pete.” The ballad tells of a thirsty cowboy who is crossing the desert and finds a hand pump. Next to it, Desert Pete has left a note urging the reader not to drink from the jar hidden there but to use its contents to prime the pump. The cowboy resists the temptation to drink and uses the water as the note instructs. In reward for his obedience, he receives an abundance of cold, satisfying water. Had he not acted in faith, he would have had only a jar of unsatisfying, warm water to drink. This reminds me of Israel’s journey through the wilderness. When their thirst became overwhelming (Ex. 17:1-7), Moses sought the Lord. He was told to strike the rock of Horeb with his staff. Moses believed and obeyed, and water gushed from the stone. Sadly, Israel would not consistently follow Moses’ example of faith. Ultimately, “the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith” (Heb 4:2). Sometimes life can seem like an arid desert. But God can quench our spiritual thirst in the most unlikely circumstances. When by faith we believe the promises of God’s Word, we can experience rivers of living water and grace for our daily needs. - Dennis Fisher (Desert Pete - Our Daily Bread)
Drink deep of God’s goodness, His faithfulness too,
Bibles And Buckets (Read: Isaiah 12:1-6) - With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. —Isaiah 12:3 - At a women’s retreat, one person was carrying a Bible and a bucket. It’s easy to understand why she was carrying the Bible, but why the bucket? With a twinkle in her eye, she explained, “The bucket reminds me to draw all the living water I possibly can.” Pointing to a crack in the bucket, she said, “Like me, my bucket leaks, reminding me to keep coming back to the Lord for more!”
Nancy Spiegelberg has expressed her own unawareness of that lavish provision:
Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You
with my empty cup, uncertain in asking
any small drop of refreshment.
If only I had known You better,
I’d have come running with a bucket.
© 1974 Nancy Spiegelberg
Are You Depleted? - Mexico City is sinking. According to a New York Times article, “So much water has been pumped out from the aquifer beneath [the city] to satisfy [its] 18 million residents that the ground is collapsing at a stunning rate.” The city has sunk 30 feet in the past century.
The Lord wants us to come to Him
The Unfailing Spring - Joseph Campbell, a well-known authority on mythology, said that his friends were living “wasteland lives.” He said they were “just baffled; they’re wandering in the wasteland without any sense of where the water is—the Source that makes everything green.”
Only Jesus, the Living Water,
Wrong Places - My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug … cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.—Jer 2:13 - One of the major problems with which we are all confronted is that we have at the core of our being a deep thirst for God, which makes us entirely dependent on Him for satisfaction. Our sinful human nature resents this, because it dislikes the feeling of helplessness that such dependence brings; it prefers to have a hand in bringing about its own satisfaction. This terrible tendency of the human heart to try to satisfy its own thirst independently of God is brought out clearly in the passage before us today. The Prophet Jeremiah indicts Israel—the people of God—for depending on "cracked cisterns" in their efforts to quench their spiritual thirst (cisterns which they themselves made but which can hold no water). Note the two observations our text for today suggests. First, the people were thirsty, and second, they moved in the wrong direction to satisfy their thirst. God said it was as if they walked right past the clear waters He provided and chose instead to dig their own well. They wanted to run their own lives and refused to come to God, allowing Him to quench their deep thirst. This stubborn commitment to independence is responsible more than anything else for preventing us from having feet like "hinds' feet." (Hab 3:19, Ps 18:33) Prayer - Gracious Father, I see that the problem You had with the nation of Israel is my problem, too. For far too often I try to dig my own well. You are searching deeply into my life. Help me not to evade or avoid any issue. In Jesus' name. Amen. (Selwyn Hughes - Every Day with Jesus)
Are You Thirsty Again? - Household sponges are amazingly versatile. We use them to wash dishes, mop floors, bathe children, and clean cars. What makes them so useful is that they can absorb and release liquid over and over again. There’s a spiritual principle here, expressed by author Andrew Murray: “Wherever there is life, there is a continual interchange of taking in and giving out… The one depends on the other—the giving out ever increases the power of taking in… It is only in the emptiness that comes from the parting with what we have, that the divine fullness can flow in.”
A thirst for God can only be satisfied by Christ,
Spurgeon- Yonder shipwrecked man has constructed a raft, and far out on the wild expanse of pitiless waters he has floated wearily day after day, sighing for a friendly sail or for sight of land; what would he not give for a little water, for water has become the essential of his life; his tongue is like a firebrand, and his mouth is as an oven, and he himself all dried and parched, sighs and cries to heaven, hoping that perhaps a merciful shower may drop refreshment upon him. Now, Jesus Christ is the water of life, and the bread of life, to such as live unto God. It is absolutely necessary for the continuance of their spiritual life that they should live upon him; and as they do live upon him, their thirst is quenched, their hunger is removed, and their spirit rejoices with a "joy unspeakable and full of glory." Life and the food that sustaineth life are among the most precious things man can possess, and these are for your souls stored up in Jesus
Andrew Murray - WHEREVER there is life, there is a continual interchange of taking in and giving out, receiving and restoring. The nourishment I take is given out again in the work I do; the impressions I receive, in the thoughts and feelings I express. The one depends on the other,—the giving out ever increases the power of taking in. In the healthy exercise of giving and taking is all the enjoyment of life. It is so in the spiritual life too. There are Christians who look on its blessedness as consisting all in the privilege of ever receiving; they know not how the capacity for receiving is only kept up and enlarged I by continual giving up and giving out,—how it is only in the emptiness that comes from the parting I with what we have, that the Divine fulness can flow in. It was a truth our Saviour continually insisted on. When He spoke of selling all to secure the treasure of losing our life to find it, of the, hundredfold to those who forsake all, He was expounding the need of self-sacrifice as the law of the kingdom for Himself as well as for His disciples. If we are really to abide in Christ, and to be found in Him,—to have our life always and wholly in Him,—we must each in our measure say with Paul, ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, that I may win Christ, and be FOUND IN HIM.’ (Abide in Christ: Thoughts on the Blessed Life of Fellowship with the Son of God)
Reversing the Flow - Chicago is a world-class city. It’s known for its great pizza, architecture, symphony, sports teams, and lakefront setting. I love Chicago! If you were to visit Chicago, you’d see the beautiful Chicago River winding its way through the towering skyscrapers. The river adds a calming dynamic to the noisy rush of the city. But if you lived in Chicago in the late 1800s, you wouldn’t have been happy to have this river in your town. The people were plagued by it—literally. A poorly-designed sewage system dumped the raw sewage from the city into the river. The river in turn carried the sewage into Lake Michigan. Since the city drew its water from the lake, the pollution from the river contaminated the city’s drinking water, which resulted in deadly outbreaks of cholera, typhoid fever, and dysentery. So, in desperate need of a remedy, someone had the brilliant idea to reverse the flow of the river. If they could pull the project off, the power of the water from the deep blue lake would wash the sewage away from the city and the lake would be purified to provide safe drinking water. After great effort and expense, engineers succeeded in their plan to reverse the flow of the Chicago River. Reversing the flow of the river made Chicago a better city to live in and blessed it with the presence of a clean, beautiful river.
The Only Way To Be Happy - There is no lasting earthly satisfaction. Marriage, family, money, fame, enlightenment, travel, athletics, academic achievement—nothing completes our joy. Any satisfaction we gain in our quest fades quickly and becomes a vague memory, if it can be remembered at all. Oh, to be sure, there are happy events along the way, unexpected moments when we experience pure delight. But those moments are fleeting, and we can never go back in time to relive them and recapture the sensation. Why then do we keep seeking for something to satisfy us? Simply put, it’s because we have to. Whether we realize it or not, our souls are thirsting for God. Every desire, every aspiration, every longing of our nature is nothing less than a yearning for God. We were born for His love and we cannot live without it. He is the happiness for which we have been searching all our lives. Everything that we desire is found in Him—and infinitely more. And so, when you find yourself restless and thirsting for something more in life, respond to Jesus’ invitation, “Come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Go to Him, drink freely of His grace and forgiveness, and experience true joy. -- David H. Roper (Our Daily Bread) Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Jesus!
Related Resource - Christian Contentment
|John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water': o pisteuon (PAP) eis eme, kathos eipen (AAI) he graphe, potamoi ek tes koilias autou rheusousin (FAI) hudaton zonton. (PAP):
Who is saved?
The Amplified Version = He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.
Spurgeon - What a glorious Gospel sermon that was! It comes to us down through the ages, and is as true now as when Jesus spoke it. Ho, thirsty ones, come ye to Him, and drink; and He will slake your thirst, and create in you a well of living water which shall bubble up for ever and ever.
He who believes - Believes corresponds to anyone thirsty… drink (John 7:37). And so first we obey and come to Jesus. Then we obey (come and drink are both commands in Jn 7:37) and drink of Jesus which is synonymous with believing in Jesus. In John 4 Jesus says in essence the same thing when He tells the Samaritan woman "If you knew the Gift of God, and Who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him (Ed: Compare "He who believes" so asking is the equivalent of believing in this context) and He would have given you living water… but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:10, 14-note)
When we believe in Christ, we receive new life and have the "living water" within our bodies, His Temple.
Believes in Me - Many say "I believe in God," so surely I am going to heaven. However, God is not the object of the belief that leads to salvation, for Jesus clearly stated the He was to be the Object of a person's faith - not God (although of course He is fully God - Col 2:9-10), not religion, not some set of rituals, not my parent's faith, etc. Yes, Jesus is God, but one can say they believe in God and not truly believe in Jesus. How many times have you been in a conversation and the Name "God" comes up and there is no reaction, but then someone mentions the Name "Jesus" (and it is not used as a "curse word") and you can just sense the tension and bristling in the group. No, Jesus clearly states that for belief to be effectual, it must be "in Me."
Peter adds that "there is salvation in no one else (Peter uses the Greek word signifying absolute negation here); FOR (term of explanation--What is Peter explaining?) there is no other (again absolute negation = absolutely no other) name (other than Jesus) under heaven that has been given among men by which we must (absolutely of necessity must) be saved.” (Acts 4:12, cp Jesus' clear declaration that He is the ONLY way to the Father - Jn 14:6 = “I am the ["the" = definite article in Greek = the specific way, not just "a way" as Jehovah's Witnesses falsely teach!] way, and the truth, and the life; no one [Greek = absolutely no one] comes to the Father but through [dia = means of something being accomplished - in this case entree into the Throne Room of the Father - Ro 5:1-2] Me.")
So if a believer is thirsty, where should he go to have that thirst quenched? To the Holy Spirit? No, Jesus says Me! When we were still dead in our trespasses and sins, we came by faith to Jesus for salvation (justification). Now that we are believers, we must continue to come by faith to Jesus, for He is the "Thirst Quencher." How? Today we come to Jesus, the Word of God, by coming thirsty to the living word of God (Heb 4:12). Are you coming daily to the fountain of living water to commune with Jesus (cp God's provision for our spiritual life in Mt 4:4, Lk 4:4).
Believes (4100)(pisteuo from pistis; pistos; cf related studies the faith, the obedience of faith) means to consider something to be true and to accept it as genuine or real. Pisteuo means to entrust oneself to an entity (in context = Jesus) in complete confidence. There is also an implication of our total commitment to the One in Whom we have placed our trust. It is vital to every soul's eternal welfare that they do not misunderstand what Jesus is saying. There is a common evangelical phraseology which says all you need to do is mouth the words "I believe in Jesus." On one hand, that statement is correct for we are saved (ONLY) by grace through faith and not works. However if this statement is a mere declaration and is unaccompanied by a changed heart and changed life, it is on shaky ground and does not necessarily signify genuine saving faith. See Discussion of Two Types of Faith. see John Piper's discussion "Some Belief Is Not Saving Faith" in his Sermon "He Knew What Was In Man").
The highly respected pastor Mark Dever has some sobering thoughts on believe writing that "One thing I think of as a member of our nation's largest Protestant denomination, is that we have a lot of nominalism (Nominal - See Definition #3), in our own Southern Baptist Convention, and in other Evangelical denominations. There are a lot of people who will happily say that they "believe" (Ed: Quotes and italics are mine) in Christ, that they prayed to receive Him as their Savior, that they’ve invited Him into their hearts, but who don’t give any evidence of truly being converted." (Ed: Compare James - Jas 2:14-26-note) (from an interview with Mark Dever - Is America Spiritually Healthy)
J D Greear adds some even more sobering thoughts on genuine belief writing that "If there were a world record for the “number of times asking Jesus into your heart,” I’m pretty sure I would hold it. I’ve probably “prayed the prayer” more than five thousand times. Every time was sincere, but I was never quite sure I had gotten it right. Had I really been sorry enough for my sin that time around? Some wept rivers of tears when they got saved, but I hadn’t done that. Was I really sorry? Was that prayer a moment of total surrender? Did I really “get” grace? So I would pray the sinner’s prayer again. And again. And again. And maybe get baptized again. Every student camp, every spring revival. Rinse and repeat. I used to think I was alone in this, that I was just a neurotic oddball. But when I began to talk about this, I would have such a slew of people tell me they had the same experience that I concluded the problem was endemic. Countless people in our churches today are genuinely saved, but they just can’t seem to gain any assurance about their salvation. The opposite is the case, too. Because of some childhood prayer, tens of thousands of people are absolutely certain of a salvation they do not possess. (Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J.D. Greear) (See his interesting book if you have some doubts about this subject or about your own personal salvation. As my old Med School professor used to say at morning presentations when I was stumped - "You can't not know!" - Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart- How to Know for Sure You Are Saved- J.D. Greear, Paige Patterson)
As the Scripture said - Normally this type of statement allows one to find a specific OT passage which the writer is quoting. In this case, there is definitive specific OT passage.
Scripture (1124)(graphe from grapho = to scratch on, engrave and then to write; English = graphite - lead in pencil!) means first a writing, a thing written or a document. The majority of the NT uses refer to the Old Testament writings,
Some (D A Carson, page 325) have suggested Jesus may have been referring to the Scripture in Nehemiah 9:15 ("You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst") and Nehemiah 9:19-20 ("You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth, And You gave them water for their thirst."), for this section of Scripture represents the only OT passages where water, Spirit and the Feast of Tabernacles (cp Neh 8:8-18 [v14 = "They found written in the law how the LORD had commanded through Moses that the sons of Israel should live in booths during the feast of the seventh month."], Neh 8:14-18 [v18 = "they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance."], see also Dt 31:10-11) are found in the same closely associated context. While it is an interesting thought, one cannot be dogmatic and we must await that day when we will be "face to face" and "will know fully" (1Cor 13:12) Lord, hasten that great day! Amen (cp 2Pe 3:12)
Others see as the Scripture said as a reference to an amalgamation of a number of OT Scriptures - For example see Isa. 12:3; Isa 43:20; Isa 44:3; Isa 55:1.
Westcott feels that "The reference is not to any one isolated passage, but to the general tenor of such passages as Isa. 58:11; Zech. 14:8, taken in connection with the original image (Ex 17:6; Nu 20:11)."
From - Not into. With the former preposition, the person blessed is a conduit of blessing. With the latter preposition, the person is blessed, but is like a pond or reservoir which becomes stagnant. The Sea of Galilee is living and teems with fish, whereas the Dead Sea is lifeless, barren. Jesus calls us believers not to be be "Dead Sea Saints" but to be like the Sea of Galilee, giving forth streams of living what to thirsty souls. This is a great application of the truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive! (See Devotional on Dead-Sea Christians)
S D Gordon on from (out of in the KJV) —not into, but "out of." All the difference in the lives of men lies in the difference between these two expressions. "Into" is the world's preposition. Every stream turns in; and that means a dead sea. Many a man's life is simply the coast line of a dead sea. "Out of" is the Master's word. His thought is of others. The stream must flow in, and must flow through, if it is to flow out, but it is judged by its direction, and Jesus would turn it outward. There must be good connections upward, and a clear channel inward, but the objective point is outward toward a parched earth. But before it can flow out it must fill up. An outflow in this case means an overflow. There must be a flooding inside before there can be a flowing out. And let the fact be carefully marked that it is only the overflow from the fullness within our own lives that brings refreshing to anyone else. A man praying at a conference in England for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit said: "Oh Lord, we can't hold much, but we can overflow lots." That is exactly the Master's thought. "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
Christ is indeed the ultimate source of the living water, but, in Christ, believers are to spring up with the living water he gives to the soul. This is the fruit of being ‘born again’ (Jn 3:3). It grows within us as a ‘fountain’, and never ceases because it continually (present tense) springs up to eternal life (Jn 4:14). Therefore, it can be said of the believer that ‘From the abundance of the heart, the mouth pours forth praise’ (cf. Mt 12:34; Lk 6:45). Now there is a spring where there was once a broken cistern (cp Jer 2:13, 17:13). Now there is a light where there once was darkness (Jn 8:12 = "“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life”, Acts 26:18 = "from darkness to light," Col 1:12-13 = "saints in light… rescued from darkness"), for we have exchanged ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’ (Isa 61:3).
The Bible and The Land - Not only is Jesus indicating that he can fulfill what the Festival of Tabernacles prayers seek—water—but he has gone further; he is the source of living water, water that can purify, water that comes from within his own life and transforms others. It is no accident that when Jesus is on the cross in John’s Gospel, a soldier pierces him with a spear and water, living water, flows from his side (John 19:34). In John’s view, Jesus is the divine source of water that renews and purifies.
Oswald Chambers emphasizes that in this passage Jesus in not speaking "of the benefits to the individual life at all, but of the rivers of living water that will flow out of the individual life. Jesus did not say, “He that believes in Me, shall experience the fulness of the blessing of God”; but, “he that believes in Me, out of him shall escape everything he receives.” (Ed: See Related Comment by Andrew Murray) It is a picture of the unfathomable, incalculable benediction (act of blessing) which will flow from the one great sovereign source, belief in Jesus. We have nothing to do with the outflow; we have to see to it that we are destitute enough of spiritual independence to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then pay attention to the Source, Our Lord Himself. You can never measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus. (He shall glorify me: talks on the Holy Spirit and other themes)
To be a channel of blessing,
Give as 'twas given to you in your need,
Tony Evans - The Spirit resides in our innermost being. We have a built-in filling station that is always pumping fresh life into us. (Free at Last-Experiencing True Freedom Through Your Identity In Christ)
From his innermost being - From his belly. From is the Greek preposition ek, signifying "out of" or "out from." Some might be surprised that Jesus did not say "into" rather than "from." Jesus is not speaking so much of Spirit filling as He is "Spirit flowing!"
Keddie notes that "the experiential fruit of coming to Christ is to overflow with newness of life. Christ is indeed the ultimate source of the living water, but, in Christ, believers well up with the living water he gives to the soul. This is the fruit of being ‘born again’ (Jn 3:3). It grows within us as a ‘fountain’, and never ceases because it springs up to everlasting life (Jn 4:14)."
Ray Pritchard on the phrase his innermost being - Here is one mark of true conversion—we are deeply changed by Jesus and we know it. That’s the meaning of “streams of living water will flow from within him.” The Greek (ek tes koilias autou) literally reads “out of his belly,” meaning out of the deepest place, the seat of the emotions. When we talk about a “belly laugh,” we mean the same thing. A “belly laugh” comes from deep within us. The deep change Jesus makes touches us at the very core of who we are. You will know you are converted when you come to Jesus and something happens to you that you cannot fully explain. True conversion is more than walking an aisle, saying a prayer, or raising a hand. True conversion means that Almighty God enters your life, in the deepest, most personal part, and takes up residence within. You can truly say, “I am converted,” when you know that God has done something for you that only God can do. Let me say that another way: If everything in your life can be explained apart from God, what do you need God for? True conversion goes beyond religion—which is why religious people are often the last to be converted. Religious people trust in their religion—but their lives are never changed. They go to church and go through the motions, they may even pray the prayers and say all the right words, but they have a Sahara heart—hot, parched, barren, empty. When Jesus comes in, living waters flow out. And they keep on flowing. Here we have the whole course of the Christian life set before us. We cry out to God. He gives us Living Water. We give the Living Water to others. Or we can say it another way: I’m thirsty. I’m not thirsty anymore. I’m full. I’m overflowing. Or we can say it even simpler: From God … to us … to others. What starts with God, comes down to us, and then goes out from us to other people. Living water flows from God into us, and then from deep within us (from the “belly” of life), the river flows out from us for the benefit of others. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
Innermost being (2836)(koilia from koilos = hollow) refers literally to a hollow space or cavity (although not used with this sense in Scripture) and then to (1) the belly (stomach), (2) the womb (uterus) and (3) (figuratively) the inner man or innermost being, which is almost synonymous with way the NT usually uses heart (kardia).
In Php 3:19-note and Ro 16:18-note koilia is refers to the appetite, which speaks metaphorically of the strong inner desires emanating from our fallen flesh, which is ever craving for immediate gratification, something found only in Jesus!
Moulton-Milligan record a literal use in an ancient Greek document which speaks of "filling in the koilia before the king arrives."
Koilia frequently refers to the womb (Mt 19:12; Lk 1:15, 41-42, 44; 2:21; Jn 3:4; Acts 3:2; 14:8; Gal 1:15). Koilia is also to personify a woman (Lk 11:27; 23:29; Ge 25:23, 24; Ru 1:11; Isa 44:2).
Friberg summarizes koilia - (1) literally, the hollow part of the body; (a) where food is digested stomach, belly (Mk 7.19); (b) where reproduction takes place womb, uterus (Lk 1.15); (2) figuratively; (a) the inner self innermost being, heart (Jn 7.38); (b) desires, appetites (Ro 16.18) (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament- Barbara Friberg and Neva F. Mille)
Koilia - 22x in 21v - NAS Usage = appetite(1), appetites(1), belly(1), innermost being(1), stomach(7), womb(11), wombs(1). KJV Usage = womb 12, belly 11. Mt 12:40 (Jonah = 3 days and nights in the "belly of the sea monster"); Mt 15:17; 19:12; Mk 7:19; Lk 1:15, 41-42, 44; 2:21; 11:27; 23:29; Jn 3:4; 7:38; Acts 3:2; 14:8; Ro 16:18-note; 1Cor 6:13; Gal 1:15-note; Phil 3:19-note; Rev 10:9-10-note
Koilia - 85x in 84v in the Septuagint which uses koilia in the same three senses as the NT = belly (Jonah 2:1-2), womb (Ge 25:24), innermost being (Pr 20:27, 30 = "innermost parts", Isa 16:11 = "heart"; Jer 4:19 = "soul"; Lam 1:20 = "spirit"). - Ge 3:14; 25:23f; 30:2; 41:21; Ex 29:13, 22; Lev 3:3, 9, 14; 4:11; 8:21, 25; 9:14, 19; 11:42; Nu 5:21f, 27; Dt 7:13; 28:4, 11, 18, 53; 30:9; Jdg 3:21f; 13:5; 16:17; Ruth 1:11; 2Sa 7:12; 16:11; 20:10; 1Chr 17:11; 2Chr 21:15, 18f; 32:21; Job 1:21; 2:9; 3:11; 10:18; 15:35; 30:27; 31:15; 38:8; Ps 22:10, 14; 40:8; 71:6; 132:11; Pr 18:20; 20:27, 30; 24:15; 31:2; Song 5:4, 14; 7:2; Isa 8:19; 16:11; 44:2, 24; 46:3; 48:8, 19; 49:1, 5, 15; Jer 1:5; 4:19; 51:34; Lam 1:20; 2:20; Ezek 3:3; 7:19; Dan 2:32; Hos 9:16; 12:3; Jonah 1:17; 2:1f; Mic 6:7; Hab 3:16
Rivers of living water - This phrase reminds us of Jesus' statement in John 10 when He stated "I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." (Jn 10:10) Rivers of living water gushing forth is surely life abundant or as it has sometimes been referred to as the Victorious Christian Life, the Christ Life, the Exchanged Life, etc. It begs the question of all born again believers - Is this statement true in my life? Do I experience ever flowing streams of living water gushing out of my life?
Ray Pritchard - The word “rivers” is plural. Not a river—but rivers of living water will flow out from us. Think of the Nile plus the Danube plus the Amazon plus the Mississippi plus the Ganges plus every other great river. It all equals inexhaustible abundance. Come to Jesus and the rivers begin to flow because all the rivers flow from him.
Rivers (4215)(potamos from pino = to drink) refers literally to flowing water, such as a stream or river (Mt 3:6). In the plural can refer to water rushing down ravines after heavy rains (floods, torrents - Mt 7:25). In Jn 7:38 potamos refers to the "water of life as a flowing river, denoting fullness of life from God." (Friberg).
Figuratively in Jn 7:38 potamos speaks of the great abundance and never ending flow of life giving "water," because the Holy Spirit is the eternal, omnipotent Source Who is in us and flows forth from us forever!
Vine comments that Jesus uses rivers (potamos) to describe “the effects of the operation of the Holy Spirit in and through the believer.”
NIDNTT - The assurance in all this is that God’s Spirit within is experienced as a mysterious ever-renewed source, upwelling in fullness of life.
TDNT on potamos - The primary sense of potamos is “water rushing swiftly by,” hence “flowing water,” “stream,” “river.” The ocean that streams around the earth can be called potamos; from it derive all seas, rivers, springs, and wells. In Egypt potamos with the article denotes the Nile. potamoi are early personified as river gods, often depicted as bulls because the noise and tossing of running water remind of bulls. A figurative use occurs, e.g., streams of fire; the idea is that of violent forces that carry things off with them. he LXX. In the LXX potamos with the article denotes the Nile. More generally the term suggests water with a lasting flow. This is important relative to the river of paradise in Ge 2:10ff. and the eschatological river of Ezek 47:1ff.; Zech. 14:8… The sanctuaries of Asclepius contain sacred springs flowing from under the sanctuary and thus offer some parallel to the depiction of the river as flowing forth from the throne of God and the Lamb. (Rev 22:1-2, cp the primeval river in Eden = Ge 2:10)… (Potamos in Jn 7:38) The use of potamos suggests that the force and fullness of life will remain unrestrictedly at work; streams of living water will flow out by way of the disciples into the world and will be available for the thirsty who believe. Along these lines one can understand the statement that rivers of living water will flow out of those who drink.
Potamos - 189x in 177v - Ge 2:10, 13-14; 15:18; 31:21; 36:37; 41:1ff, 17ff; Ex 1:22; 2:3, 5; 4:9; 7:15, 17ff, 24f; 8:3, 5, 9, 11; 17:5; 23:31; Num 13:29; 22:5; 24:6; Deut 1:7; 11:24; Josh 1:4; 4:7; 5:1; 24:2f, 14f; Jdg 3:8, 10; 2 Sam 8:3; 10:16; 1 Kgs 4:20f, 24; 8:65; 2 Kgs 5:12; 17:6; 18:11; 19:24; 23:29; 24:7; 1 Chr 1:48; 5:9, 26; 18:3; 19:16; 2 Chr 9:26; 20:16; 32:4; 35:20; Ezra 4:10f, 17, 20; 5:3, 6; 6:6, 8, 13; 7:21, 25; 8:15, 21, 31, 36; Neh 2:7, 9; Esth 1:1; 10:3; Job 14:11; 22:16; 28:10f; Ps 24:2; 46:4; 65:9; 66:6; 72:8; 74:15; 78:16, 44; 80:11; 89:25; 93:3; 98:8; 105:41; 107:33; 137:1; Prov 9:18; 18:4; Song 8:7; Isa 7:18, 20; 8:7; 11:15; 18:1f, 7; 19:5ff; 27:12; 32:2; 33:21; 41:18; 42:15; 43:2, 19f; 44:27; 47:2; 48:18; 50:2; 59:19; 66:12; Jer 2:18; 13:7; 46:2, 7f, 10; Ezek 1:1, 3; 3:15, 23; 10:15, 20, 22; 29:3ff, 9f; 30:12; 31:4, 15; 32:2, 14; 43:3; 47:6f, 9, 12; Dan 4:1; 7:10; 10:4; 12:5ff; Amos 8:8; 9:5; Jonah 2:3; Mic 7:12; Nah 1:4; 2:6; 3:8; Hab 3:8f; Zeph 3:10; Zech 9:10; 10:11
Scriptural Chain for Living (running, flowing) water - The Hebrew phrase in each of the follwing passages is literally "'al-mayim hayyim" = "water living" and in the Lxx the word for "living" (Hebrew = hayyim) is translated with the verb zoa = to live. And so we see this beautiful phrase scattered from Genesis to Revelation. First use = Ge 26:19 = "a well of living water" (Young's Literal) > Lev 14:5-6, 50, 51, 52, Lev 15:13 = "running water" > Nu 19:17 = "flowing water" > Song 4:15 = "fresh water" > Jer 2:13 "living waters" > Jer 17:13 = "living water" > Zec 14:8 = "living waters" > Jn 4:10 = "living water" > Jn 4:14 = " well of water springing up to eternal life" > Jn 7:38 "living water" > Rev 7:17 = "springs of the water of life" > Rev 21:6 = "the spring of the water of life without cost" > Rev 22:1 = " river of the water of life" > Rev 22:17 = "take the water of life without cost."
Jesus promises we will have rivers of living water flowing through us - Are our lives truly like this? Do fresh springs flow out of us day after day? If not, why not? The answer is simple—there can be no outflow unless there is an intake. This is the rhythm of the Holy Spirit—intake and outflow. If there is more intake than outflow, then the intake stops; if there is more outflow than intake, then the outflow stops. The doors open inward to receive, only to open outward to give. When we come to talk about life in the Spirit, we are not to think in terms of a reservoir which has only limited resources. Life is a channel, attached to infinite resources. The more we draw on these resources, the more we have. There is no danger of exhausting one's resources. We do not have to hold back—for the more we give, the more we have. Living on the overflow is what many of us lack today. A sign could be put up over our individual and collective lives saying, "Life Limited." According to Jesus' promise, however, when the Spirit comes, life is unlimited: "From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." Not rivulets, not trickles, not brooks, not streams—but rivers. Rivers! O God, help me to link my channel to Your infinite resources. Flow through me until I become a flowing river—no, an overflowing river. In Jesus' name. Amen. (Selwyn Hughes - Every Day with Jesus)
Spurgeon observes that the phrase rivers of living water suggests that the Spirit's "operations are of marvelous power. Brethren… do rivers of living water flow out of you? Notice, first, that this is to be an inward work: the rivers of living water are to flow out of the midst of the man… “Out of his belly," that is, from his heart and soul (cp importance of Pr 4:23). The rivers do not flow out of his mouth: the promised power is not oratory. We have had plenty of words, floods of words; but this is heart work. The source of the rivers is found in the inner life. It is an inward work at its fountain head. It is not a work of talent and ability, and show, and glitter, and glare: it is altogether an inward work. The life (giving) flood is to come out of the man’s inmost self, out of the bowels and essential being of the man. Homage is shown too generally to outward form and external observance, though these soon lose their interest and power; but when the Spirit of God rests within a man He exercises a home rule within him and he gives great attention to what an old divine was wont to call “the home department.” Alas, many neglect the realm within which is the chief province under our care. O my brother in Christ, if you would be useful, begin with yourself. It is out of your very soul that a blessing must come. It cannot come out of you if it is not in you: and it cannot be in you unless God the Holy Spirit places it there. Next, it is life-giving work. Out of the heart of the man, out of the center of his life, are to flow rivers of living water; that is to say, he is instrumentally to communicate to others the divine life. When he speaks, when he prays, when he acts, he shall so speak and pray and act that there shall be going out of him an emanation which is full of the life of grace and godliness. He shall be a light by which others shall see. His life shall be the means of kindling life in other men’s bosoms… Note the plenitude of it. The figure would have been a surprising one if it had said, “Out of him shall flow a river of living water”; but it is not so: it says rivers. Have you ever stood by the side of a very abundant spring? We have some such not far from London. You see the water bubbling up from many little mouths. Observe the sand dancing as the water forces its way from the bottom; and there, just across the road, a mill is turned by the stream which has just been created by the spring, and when the water-wheel is turned you see a veritable river flowing forward to supply father Thames. Yet this is only one river; what would you think if you saw a spring yielding such supplies that a river flowed from it to the north, and a river to the south, a river to the east, and a river to the west; this is the figure before us: rivers of living water flowing out of the living man in all directions. “Ah,” say you, “I have not reached to that.” A point is gained when you know, confess, and deplore your failure. If you say, “I have all things and abound,” I am afraid you will never reach the fulness of the blessing; but if you know something of your failure, the Lord will lead you further. It may be that the spirit of life which comes forth of you is but a trickling brook, or even a few tiny drops; then be sure to confess it, and you will be on the way to a fuller blessing. What a word is this! Rivers of living water!! Oh that all professing Christians were such fountains. See how spontaneous it is: “Out of the midst of him shall flow.” No pumping is required; nothing is said about machinery and hydraulics; the man does not need exciting and stirring up, but, just as he is, influence of the best kind quietly flows out from him. Did you ever hear a great hubbub in the morning, a great outcry, a sounding of trumpets and drums, and did you ever ask, “What is it?” Did a voice reply, “The sun is about to rise, and he is making this noise that all may be aware of it”? No, it shines, but it has nothing to say about it; even so the genuine Christian just goes about flooding the world with blessing, and so far from claiming attention for himself, it may be that he himself is unconscious of what he is effecting. God so blesses him that his leaf does not wither, and whatever he does he prospers, for he is like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in due season: his verdure and fruit are the natural outcome of his vigorous life. Oh, the blessed spontaneity of the work of grace when a man gets into the fulness of it, for then he seems to eat and drink and sleep eternal life, and he spreads a savor of salvation all round. And this is to be perpetual,—not like intermittent springs which burst forth and flow in torrents, and then cease,—but it is to be an every day out gushing. In summer and winter, by day and by night, wherever the man is, he shall be a blessing. As he breathes, he shall breathe benedictions; as he thinks, his mind shall be devising generous things; and when he acts, his acts shall be as though the hand of God were working by the hand of man.
I hope I hear many sighs rising up in the place! I hope I hear friends saying, “Oh that I could get to that.” I want you to attain the fulness of the favor. I pray that we may all get it; for because Jesus Christ is glorified therefore the Holy Spirit is given in this fashion, given more largely to those in the kingdom of heaven than to all those holy men before the Lord’s ascent to his glory. God gives no stinted blessing to celebrate the triumph of his Son: God gives not the Spirit by measure unto him. On such an occasion heaven’s grandest liberality was displayed. Christ is glorified in heaven above, and God would have him glorified in the church below by vouchsafing a baptism of the Holy Ghost to each of us.
IV. THESE OPERATIONS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD ARE EASILY TO BE OBTAINED BY THE LORD’S CHILDREN. Did you say you had not received them? They are to be had, they are to be had at once. First, they are to be had by believing in Jesus. “This He spoke of the Spirit, Who they that believed on Him were to receive.” Do you not see that it is faith which gives us the first drink and causes us to live, and this second more abundant blessing of being ourselves made fountains from which rivers flow comes in the same way? Believe in Christ, for the blessing is to be obtained, not by the works of the law, nor by so much of fasting, and striving, and effort, but by belief in the Lord Jesus for it. With him is the residue of the Spirit. He is prepared to give this to you, ay, to every one of you who believe on His Name.
He will not of course make all of you preachers; for who then would be hearers? If all were preachers the other works of the church would be neglected; but He will give you this favor, that out of you there shall stream a divine influence all round you to bless your children, to bless your servants, to bless the workmen in the house where you are employed, and to bless the street you live in. In proportion as God gives you opportunity these rivers of living water will flow in this channel and in that, and they will be pouring forth from you at all times, if you believe in Jesus for the full blessing, and can by faith receive it.
But there is another thing to be done as well, and that is to pray; and here I want to remind you of those blessed words of the Master, “Everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
You see, there is a distinct promise to the children of God, that their heavenly Father will give them the Holy Spirit if they ask for His power; and that promise is made to be exceedingly strong by the instances joined to it. If there be a promise that God can break (which there is not), this is not the promise, for God has put it in the most forcible and binding way.
I know not how to show you its wonderful force. Did you ever hear of a man who when his child asked for bread gave him a stone? Go to the worst part of London, and will you find a man of that kind? You shall, if you like, get among pirates and murderers, and when a little child cries, “Father, give me a bit of bread and meat,” does the most wicked father fill his own little one’s mouth with stones? Yet the Lord seems to say that this is what he would be doing if he were to deny us the Holy Spirit when we ask him for his necessary working: he would be like one that gave his children stones instead of bread. Do you think the Lord will ever bring himself down to that? But he says, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” He makes it a stronger case than that of an ordinary parent. The Lord must give us the Spirit when we ask him, for he has herein bound himself by no ordinary pledge. He has used a simile which would bring dishonour on his own name, and that of the very grossest kind, if he did not give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Oh, then, let us ask him at once, with all our hearts. Am I not so happy as to have in this audience some who will immediately ask? I pray that some who have never received the Holy Spirit at all may now be led, while I am speaking, to pray, “Blessed Spirit, visit me; lead me to Jesus.” But especially those of you that are the children of God,—to you is this promise especially made. Ask God to make you all that the Spirit of God can make you, not only a satisfied believer who has drunk for himself, but a useful believer, who overflows the neighborhood with blessing.
I see here a number of friends from the country who have come to spend their holiday in London. What a blessing it would be if they went back to their respective churches overflowing; for there are numbers of churches that need flooding; they are dry as a barn-floor, and little dew ever falls on them. Oh that they might be flooded! What a wonderful thing a flood is! Go down to the river, look over the bridge, and see the barges and other craft lying in the mud. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot tug them out to sea. There they lie, dead and motionless as the mud itself. What shall we do with them? What machinery can move them? Have we a great engineer among us who will devise a scheme for lifting these vessels and bearing them down to the river’s mouth? No, it cannot be done. Wait till the tide comes in! What a change! Each vessel walks the water like a thing of life. What a difference between the low tide and the high tide. You cannot stir the boats when the water is gone; but when the tide is at the full see how readily they move; a little child may push them with his hand. Oh, for a flood of grace. The Lord send to all our churches a great springtide! Then the indolent will be active enough, and those who were half dead will be full of energy. I know that in this particular dock several vessels are lying that I should like to float, but I cannot stir them. They neither work for God nor come out to the prayer-meetings, nor give of their substance to spread the gospel. If the flood would come you would see what they are capable of: they would be active, fervent, generous, abounding in every good word and work. So may it be! So may it be! May springs begin to flow in all our churches, and may all of you who hear me this day get your share of the streams. Oh that the Lord may now fill you and then send you home bearing a flood of grace with you. It sounds oddly to speak of a man’s carrying home a flood within him, and yet I hope it will be so, and that out of you shall flow rivers of living water. So may God grant for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Spurgeon in Power for You (some similar thoughts to preceding note) - Beloved believers, notwithstanding all that the Spirit of God has already done in us, it is very possible that we have missed a large part of the blessing which He is willing to give, for He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). We have already come to Jesus, and we have drunk of the life-giving stream. Our thirst is quenched, and we are made to live in Him. Is this all? Now that we are living in Him and rejoicing to do so, have we come to the end of the matter? Assuredly not. We have reached as far as that first exhortation of the Master: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). However, do you think that the generality of the church of God has ever advanced to the next verse: “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38)? I think I am not going beyond the grievous truth if I say that only here and there will you find men and women who have believed up to that point. Their thirst is quenched, as I have said, and they live. Because Jesus lives, they will live also, but health and vigor they do not have. They have life, but they do not have “it more abundantly” (John 10:10). They have little life with which to act upon others. They have no energy welling up and overflowing to go streaming out of them like rivers. Brothers and sisters, let us go in to get from God all that God will give us. Let us set our hearts upon this, that we mean to have by God’s help all that the infinite goodness of God is ready to bestow. Let us not be satisfied with the sip that saves, but let us go on to the baptism which buries the flesh and raises us in the likeness of the risen Lord. Let us seek that baptism into the Holy Spirit and into fire which makes us spiritual and sets us all on flame with zeal for the glory of God and eagerness for usefulness by which that glory may be increased among the sons of men.
James Smith - The Spirit dwelling in us is to be as an unfailing fountain to others. But the outflow will only be in proportion to the springing up within. Spring up, O well!
Steven Cole on the question "Do I experience rivers of living water?" -- This is "both convicting and hope-producing. They are convicting because none of us, if we’re honest, can say, “Yes, those words nail it! That’s exactly how to describe my life since becoming a Christian!” Honesty forces me to say, “Well, there has usually been a trickle of living water, although there have been some droughts where even the trickle has ceased! Occasionally, there has been a creek of living water. But ever-flowing, abundant rivers (plural)? It would be a stretch to describe my Christian life like that!” So Jesus’ words convict me with the barrenness of my walk with Him. But Jesus’ words also give me hope. If my life doesn’t match His description here, it can! So can yours! This is a promise from the Son of God to all who will come to Him and drink: Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water. It describes, as Calvin points out, an ideal that none of us can possess perfectly in the present life because of indwelling sin and because of differing measures of faith. But it’s an ideal in which we can make progress as we walk with the Lord. We really can experience consistent fullness of joy in Him that flows from us to others. And so we should have hope because He who began the good work of salvation in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). But we need to press on toward the goal (Phil. 3:12-16).
Rivers - Not just a river but rivers plural, a supernatural supply! Rivers "Depict fullness of blessing, just as another picture, "much fruit," does in John 15:4-8 (and cf. Gal 5:22-23, Eph 5:17-21)." (Jim Rosscup - Exposition on Prayer)
(Ps 36:8) They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
Living water - This is a striking metaphor in the arid, water poor middle east. Living water literally pictured water which was actively flowing as from a spring or a river. Indeed, living water is water that gives life, so what Jesus is saying is that the Holy Spirit is life giving! In the previous chapter Jesus had taught "It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) Notice how Jesus links the Holy Spirit with the Holy Word in this John 6 passage! The practical application is clear -- Are you in the Word, so that Spirit in you might use that Word to transform your spiritual life from glory to glory into the image of the Son (2Cor 3:18)? Stated another way, you will have no growth (maturation) in your spiritual life unless you like a new born babe are longing for the pure milk of the Word, that by it you might grow in respect to salvation (as the Spirit uses that Word to give you life!) (1Pe 2:2).
Spurgeon on wells springing up (Jn 4:14) and rivers of living water, both of which seem to be "drying up" in our lives - It is regarded by many as a law of nature, that our first love must grow cold, and our early zeal must necessarily decline. I do not believe it for a moment. "the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day." (Pr 4:18) and, were we watchful and careful to live near to God, there is no reason why our spiritual life should not continuously make progress both in strength and beauty. There is no inherent necessity in the divine life itself compelling it to decline, for is it not written, "It shall be in him a well of Water, springing up unto everlasting life:" (Jn 4:14) "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (Jn 7:38) Grace is a living and incorruptible seed that liveth and abideth for ever, and there is nowhere impressed upon the divine life a law of pining and decay. If we do falter and faint in the onward path, it is our sin, and it is doubly sinful to forge excuses for it. It is not to be laid upon the back of some mysterious necessity of the new nature that it should be so, but it is to be brought as a charge against ourselves. (Flashes of Thought)
Tony Evans commenting on Jesus depiction of the Holy Spirit as Living Water reminds us that "When He (the Holy Spirit) dominates your life, He will make you more alive than you ever thought you could be. You will not only be fulfilled yourself, but the rivers of living water flowing out of you will overflow so others can drink from your life as well. One reason we have so little spiritual power in the church of Jesus Christ today is that we are not thirsty Christians. God only satisfies folk who are thirsty. If you are not thirsty, you don’t drink. What we need is to develop our spiritual thirst. We need a generation of Christians who are passionate for Christ. Unless that is your goal, studying the Bible is a waste of time; coming to church will make little or no difference in your life. The life-giving, thirst-quenching fellowship of the Holy Spirit is enjoyed where the passion of Christ is sought. (Theology You Can Count On; Moody Publishers, 2008).
Ray Pritchard on the Holy Spirit as Living Water - Water is one of the most common symbols for the Holy Spirit in the Bible. Since water is indispensable for human life, the phrase “living water” is an apt metaphor for the Spirit’s work in the human heart. Zechariah 14:8 looks forward to a time after the return of Christ when the climate and geography of earth will be changed as Jesus Christ sets up His kingdom on the earth. There will be a great earthquake, splitting the Mount of Olives in two (Zech 4:4), followed by enormous changes in the normal pattern of daytime and nighttime (Zech 4:6–7). On that day “living water” will flow from Jerusalem. This is no doubt both literal and symbolic. There will be a literal river, but the river will symbolize the free flow of the Spirit throughout the entire earth. Jesus used this word picture in John 4 during His conversation with the woman at the well. Although she came seeking literal water, He promised to give her “living water” which would satisfy her thirst forever (John 4:10). That “living water” becomes a “spring of water” within the heart of the believer, welling up to eternal life. As the water rises rapidly in the well, it comes to the surface and flows over the edges. What a wonderful picture of how the Spirit works in the human heart. Those who come to Christ find “living water” that satisfies the deep thirst within. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, that “living water” produces a new life that eventually bubbles to the surface and becomes evident to others. Living water won’t become stagnant. It always produces a dynamic, abundant, exciting new life. Water is also necessary for cleansing. Ephesians 5:26 pictures this aspect of the Spirit’s work when it mentions the “washing with water through the Word.” The Word is the cleansing agent; the Spirit is the cleansing power. As the Spirit applies the Word to our lives, we are cleansed from the stain of sin and the filth of the world. The Holy Spirit flows through believers like a mighty river of living water, bringing new life and providing deep, inner cleansing. As we yield ourselves to Christ, the abundance of His life (the “living water”) flows out to those around us. River of God, I live in a dry, barren land. All around me men and women die of thirst. Make me a channel of living water to those who desperately need it. Amen. (Names of the Holy Spirit)
In the OT Jehovah issues a different cry “Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate,” declares the LORD. For (term of explanation - what's it explaining?) My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water." (Jer 2:12-13)
Thirsty - What do you thirst for in this world? Tell me what you like, what you are thirsty for and I will tell you what you are!
Ray Pritchard - If we are dying in the desert, the most important thing in the world is a cup of cold water. Jesus promises more than a cup. He promises a never ending flow of clear, cool, clean living water. Streams without pollution. Rivers that will never run dry. (Water, Wine, Wind, Fire - Keep Believing Ministries)
Living water - Jesus used the same metaphor, living water, to describe Himself in His encounter with the Samaritan woman -
John Piper on rivers of living water - Some images are attractive; some are repulsive. This image is attractive. Most people, I think, would like their heart to be like a deep mountain spring overflowing in rivers of living water. Even before we have a clear idea of what this image is referring to, we yearn for it. Because it seems to imply fullness and completeness to the point of overflowing. It implies sweet coolness and refreshment. It implies moisture and growth and life. But Jesus is not merely a poet evoking emotions by images. He is that, but much more. These very evocative words refer to something real, something that would be true even if we laughed it to scorn or if we ceased to exist. The words are not meant to make us feel good because of their beauty and their associations. They are meant to put us in touch with something solid and powerful and living outside ourselves. Jesus is offering a very desirable experience, but he is offering it only as the result of some real, personal dealings between us and him. And he is no mere image; he is as real today as he was then, as real and personal as the person next to you in the pew. No experience is of any value whatever if it doesn't have to do with this real and living Jesus. Our experience is essential, but it will slip through our fingers and disappear if we focus on the experience instead of on Jesus. So in thinking about this text we must talk about our experience, but it will be all in vain if Jesus doesn't shine through as distinct and powerful and beautiful over all. (Rivers From the Heart - Desiring God)
From a Puritan's prayer in the Valley of Vision - "May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives; that, while all creatures are broken reeds, empty cisterns, fading flowers, withering grass, he is the Rock of Ages, the Fountain of living waters."
Robert Neighbour laments - Alas, how many Christians are clouds without rain, cisterns without water, fountains without depth!… it is from Christ, primarily, that the Living Waters flow. He is the source of all blessing. Of course, the Waters likewise flow from us as we receive them from Him, and gave them to others. We are not the source of that Living Water, that carries blessings whithersoever it goes; we are merely the channels through which they flow. (Living Water Commentary)
Scripture Chain on "living water" (flowing water) - The first use of "living water," is translated "flowing water" which in Hebrew is the phrase "chay mayim" which literally is "living water". This beautiful phrase, flowing (living) water occurs in Lev 14:5,6, 50, 51, 52, 15:13 = running water > Nu 19:17 = flowing water > Song 4:15 = fresh water > Jer 2:13 = living waters > Jer 17:13 = living water > Zech 14:8 = living waters from Jerusalem during 1000 year reign of Messiah. A similar phrase is found in Jn 4:10,11,13,14, 7:37,38, and finally in Rev 7:17, 21:6, 22:1,22:17, the latter Scriptures referring to the NEW HEAVEN & NEW EARTH! And so we see that the phrase "chay mayim" or Living Water is a beautiful picture of our Eternal Life in Christ, the Source of all Life. This picture of LIVING WATER is especially dramatic in the Mid East which has a paucity of water. Jerusalem for example has only one source of "living (flowing) water," the Gihon ("Breaking, Gushing Forth") Spring (2Chr 32:30) which flow down Hezekiah's underground tunnel and empty into the Pool of Siloam. [Wikipedia Note on Gihon Spring - One of the world's major intermittent springs—and a reliable water source that made human settlement possible in ancient Jerusalem—the spring was not only used for drinking water, but also initially for irrigation of gardens in the adjacent Kidron Valley which provided a food source for the ancient settlement.] Other water was collected in cisterns during the infrequent rains and was not flowing (accounting for God's use in Jer 2:13, a picture with which the Jews would have been very familiar.) Indeed, sources of "living water" were rare and their discovery was accompanied by great rejoicing. How tragic that God's people rejected His offer of life giving water in Christ, the ultimate Source of soul satiation and jubilation!
Living Water (Read: Jeremiah 2:4-13) - Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink." —John 7:37 - Lee Atwater was a well-known figure in US politics. He engineered the successful 1988 presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush and was the head of the Republican National Committee (1988-1991). But in the midst of all his activities he developed an inoperable brain tumor and died at the age of 40. During his illness, Atwater came to realize that wealth, honor, and power are not life’s supreme values. Admitting to a deep emptiness within himself, he urged people to work at filling up the “spiritual vacuum in American society.” In an insightful comment, he confessed, “My illness helped me to see that what was missing in society is what is missing in me—a little heart, a lot of brotherhood.” In his day, Jeremiah perceived that same kind of vacuum in many of his fellow Israelites. He warned them against the danger of personal and national emptiness. They were digging cisterns, he said, “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). What about your own life? Is it spiritually dried up? Ask Jesus, the fountain of living water (John 7:37), to fill you with His presence. Then joy and peace will begin to bubble up and even overflow. By Vernon C. Grounds
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
Rivers Of Living Water - Just below the snowy peak of Mt. Shasta, near the headwaters of the Sacramento River in California, an icy-cold underground spring gushes out of the side of a cliff. My brother, who used to live there, says that people flock there to fill their jugs with the refreshing liquid. Water quenches our thirst and sustains our life. In Scripture, water serves as a word picture of the sufficiency of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ day, during the Feast of Tabernacles a choir sang while a priest filled a gold pitcher with water and poured it out. This reminded all those present of the water that gushed from the rock during the wilderness wanderings (Nu 20:8-11 Ed Note: Read Nu 20:12 describing God's punishment. The first striking of the rock is found in Ex 17:6 ["strike" = Hebrew - nakah = to smite; Lxx = patasso = to physically strike a blow, to inflict a fatal blow - Mt 26:31], cp 1Cor 10:4). As this ritual was taking place, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice: “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). This source is the Holy Spirit, who is like a well of satisfaction (Jn 7:39). Earlier, the Lord had made the dramatic claim that the believer would have a continual source of spiritual refreshment (Jn 4:14). Are you thirsty today? Confess your sin, and Christ will fill you with His Spirit. As you yield to His will, He will graciously fill you with living water springing up to eternal life. - Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread)
Gracious and Almighty Savior,
LIVING WATER - For years, scientists in New Mexico didn’t know why there was excess water in the Rio Grande River. After several years of searching, they have discovered one of the unknown water sources. They recently found the largest spring to date, a few miles south of the Colorado border, near Ute Mountain in the upper Rio Grande basin. The water source, Lava Tube Spring, has a crater 12 feet deep and bubbles 6,000 gallons of water in the river. The Lava Tube is the largest of 170 springs discovered to date along the 80-mile stretch of the upper river. --NM Tech scientists find large Rio Grande spring; http:www.kcbd.comGlobalstory.asp?S=11345172 ; October 20, 2009, Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell. Jesus can use our lives as spring to provide living water to our world, just like these springs provide water for the thirsty cities of the southwest
Adam Porte has some interesting comments on "living water" and ritual baths - MIQVAH, MIQVEH [מִקְוָה miqwah, מִקְוֶה miqweh]. (See discussion and picture of a Mikveh) A large ritual bath, deep enough to allow complete immersion, dug into bedrock and waterproofed by plastering. Most miqvaoth (plural of miqvah) have steps to facilitate entry and exit. Archaeologists have found many miqvaoth in Jerusalem, Judea, and Galilee. Ritual impurity could often be removed by “bathing” (Lev 15:13), which Jews understood to mean bodily immersion in “living” water (a spring, stream, or ocean) or in a miqvah that collected “living” water. Thus John the Baptist baptized people in the “living” water of the Jordan that could restore them to ritual purity. The Christian rite of baptism derives from this Jewish custom and originally Christians, too, preferred baptism in “living” water (Did. 7). (New Interpreter's Dictionary)
The Bible and The Land adds that "Judaism distinguished between “living” water and common water. In fact, the oral law of early Judaism (the Mishnah) devoted an entire chapter to the classification of types of water for special uses (Mikva’ot). Its first section even classifies six grades of water and their religious value! Living water is not a reference to “moving” water or “fresh” water per se. Living water is water that has come to us directly from the hand of God (e.g., rain, a spring, a river). It is water that has not been “ported” or “lifted” by human hand—as stored water has—and so carries a divine potency (Mishnah, Mikva’ot 3–4). Of course, such living water is generally free and moving, but that character is secondary to its origin… In fact, this living water was considered to be so potent that only a drop of it was required to transform an entire bath of common water into something that would cleanse ritually. Living water had the power to cleanse and purify… Such living water symbolized the life-giving, cleansing work that only comes from God. Among some rabbis, it came to even represent the Holy Spirit. Isaiah makes good use of this imagery to describe what happens when the Lord visits people whose lives are like drought-stricken land (Isa 44:3, cp Isa 55:1, 58:11)"
Illustration - Plain Living Water - Millions of weary hearts thirst for the plain living water. I heard recently of a taster in a bottling plant who was moving along blind-folded, testing new fancy concoctions. A glass of plain drinking water had been put at the end of the row to be tested. The taster moved along smacking his lips. When he tried the water he observed, "I don't know what this is but it won't sell!" Well, plain water may not sell but people drink it more than all the pop and colas. I think I'll stick to the plain Living Water, for no substitute has ever come along that works. (Vance Havner - Lord of What's Left)
Wiersbe - You never solve your problems by blaming other people. Israel’s real problem was unbelief and a desire to go back to the old life. Every difficulty you meet is an opportunity for testing yourself and trusting your Lord, for going forward or going backward. The rock pictures Jesus Christ who was smitten for us (1 Cor. 10:4) that we might have the living water of the Holy Spirit within (John 7:37-39).
Vance Havner - We did not have a great many things in our home on the hill, but we did have the best drinking water for miles around. It came from a deep well, dug through rock. I have traversed this country in all directions and discovered that one of the hardest things to come by in this progressive age is a good drink of water. Whatever the purifiers may have done to the quality, they have certainly succeeded in flattening the taste. It appears that they have failed even in purifying it for water pollution has become a national problem. When I get back to the old home (I still own it), the first thing I want is a drink of water. I know what David meant when he longed for a drink from the well of Bethlehem. I am reminded, furthermore, that this poor world has forsaken "the fountain of living waters, and has hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:13). This generation has drunk itself into delirium tremens and it looks as though it might wind up as "Alcoholics Unanimous." It has surfeited itself with a thousand fancy concoctions of its own devising. Meanwhile the Saviour says, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink" (John 7:37). "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country" (Proverbs 25:25). Here is the best drink of water of all—the good news of the gospel—when we drink from that stream, from within us shall flow rivers of living water. I am glad that I started out drinking good water from an old oaken bucket. I am glad that I drank early of the living water. Whoever drinks of that water shall never thirst again: "… whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). (It is Toward Evening)
Vance Havner - (It is) painfully evident today: thousands of Christians, believers, saved people, whose actual, daily experience is more like the emptied pitcher from Siloam than it is like the living fountain with its rivers of water. As I go about over the land, I am continually meeting preachers grieved over a defective experience, who are convinced that they have missed something and that surely there must be more in the filling of the Spirit than they have ever understood. They are good men, able men, devout men, but many of them seem to have stopped short of that utter abandon in which men lose themselves to become blazing firebrands for God, flaming torches by which He sets on fire a smug and sanctimonious church and awakens to burning conviction a sleeping world. Some are willing to miss a blessing rather than give up a prejudice, but others are worried and deeply conscious that their fire is not Pentecostal fire but painted fire which does not burn! I am continually meeting Christians whose experience is like getting all of a story except the point. Like the Jews at the feast, they have a happy day once in a while when they "scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright," but these are few and far between and soon "a sense of things real comes doubly strong." After one of his sermons, Andrew Murray asked a very pious woman, "How are you going on?" Her answer was, "Oh, just the way it always is, sometimes light and sometimes dark." "My dear sister," he asked, "where is that in the Bible?" She said, "We have day and night in nature, and just so it is in our souls." "No, no," he replied, "in the Bible we read, 'Thy sun shall no more go down.'" But most believers today live in an eclipse!
Donald Grey Barnhouse - Christ once said, “He that believeth on me … out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38), and we are told that He spake this of the Holy Spirit. Now it is evident that this statement is not true of the belief of all Christians. Not all believers are fountains of blessing to others. All Christians are like the Dead Sea or the Sea of Galilee. There is a vast difference between the two. The Dead Sea is mineral-filled water that would kill every living thing that was near it. The Sea of Galilee is teeming with fish and supports many people from its depths. Thus it is with Christians. (God’s Remedy: Romans 3:21–4:1–25)
In the early church, “living water,” or “water of life,” was used as a metaphor for prophetic inspiration (Ignatius Rom. 7:2), baptism (Justin Dial. 14.1), Christ (Justin Dial. 69.6), the teaching of Christ (Clement of Alex. Strom. 7.16), and the Holy Spirit (Didymus Trin. 2.22; PGL, 1425). (WBC)
RIVERS OF LIVING WATER - On April 21, 2006, 47-year-old Julio Franco became the oldest player in Major League Baseball history to hit a home run. Just a week later, on April 27, he became the oldest player in 97 years to steal a base. Franco's longevity met suspicion from players and outsiders who doubt that he has stayed in top shape through natural training alone. Retired outfielder Andy Van Slyke accused Franco of using steroids. Franco's response demonstrated the true source of his remarkable life: “Tell Andy Van Slyke he's right—I'm on the best juice there is. I'm juiced up every day, and the name of my juice is Jesus. I'm on his power, his wisdom, his understanding. Andy Van Slyke is right, but the thing he didn't mention was what kind of steroids I'm on. Next time you talk to him, tell him the steroid I'm on is Jesus of Nazareth.”
Dry Spells - There should never be “dry spells” in the Christian life. God said that He would be like an artesian well in the life of a believer. Artesian wells bubbled forth with a cold, fresh, never-ending supply of water from the depths of the earth, quenching any thirst and always satisfying. This is the picture of the spiritual refreshment that belongs to the person in whom the Holy Spirit resides. Have you ever heard people say they are experiencing a dry spell in their Christian life? What are they saying? Are they saying that the Lord ran out of water? It should never cross your mind that the fountain of living waters residing within you should ever be reduced to a trickle. You don't need to run all over the country trying to find sources of spiritual refreshment. Conferences, retreats, and books can all bring encouragement, but if you are a Christian, the source of living water already resides within you. Have you exchanged the living fountain for man-made cisterns that cannot hold water? Why would you exchange an artesian well for a broken water tank? Artesian wells do not dry up. Broken cisterns do. If you are experiencing spiritual dryness right now, is it because you have been attempting to find your source of spiritual refreshment from man-made sources, which will fail you every time? Jesus extended an invitation to you when He said: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Have you been refreshed by the living water only Jesus can provide? (Blackaby, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day)
Avoid Dehydration - A couple of times in the past few years I’ve experienced dehydration and, believe me, it is not something I want to repeat. It happened once after I suffered a torn hamstring while cross-country skiing, and another time in the 115-degree heat of an Israeli desert. Both times I experienced dizziness, disorientation, loss of clear vision, and a host of other symptoms. I learned the hard way that water is vital to maintaining my well-being.
Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking that I can do life
Come to Jesus for the refreshing power of His living water.
Really Thirsty (Read: Psalm 42) - As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. —Psalm 42:1
My hunger for the truth He satisfies;
The Old Windmill (Read: Galatians 6:6-10) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. —John 7:38 - A man who grew up on a ranch in West Texas tells about a rickety, old windmill that stood alongside his family’s barn and pumped water to their place. It was the only source of water for miles. In a strong wind the windmill worked well, but in a light breeze it wouldn’t turn. It required manually turning the vane until the fan faced directly into the wind. Only when properly positioned did the windmill supply water to the ranch.
When our hearts grow weary,
When you’re weary in life’s struggles, find strength in the Lord.
Springs Of Living Water (Read: John 4:5-15, John 7:38) - In 1896, Sherwood Eddy enthusiastically began his ministry as a missionary to India. But after just a year he was ready to quit—his energy depleted, his spirit broken. One morning after a sleepless night he begged God for help. Then he remembered the promise of Jesus to the woman at Jacob’s well, “The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn. 4:14). Eddy wrote, “I resolved to stop drawing on myself so constantly and begin instead drawing on God.” From then on he daily set aside time for prayerfully drinking from the well that never runs dry—the inexhaustible, soul-renewing wellspring of God’s grace. “Since that day,” Eddy said, “I have known not one hour of darkness and despair. The eternal God has been my refuge, and underneath me I have felt the everlasting arms.” No matter how much energy or talent we have, sooner or later we discover that the well of our personal resources is running dry. But when Christ, the source of living water (Ed: And His Spirit), indwells our lives, we aren’t locked into the drudgery of drawing on our human abilities. Jesus becomes our unfailing Source of spiritual renewal. We find that when we have nothing left, He is the well that never runs dry. - Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread)
You may have to lose everything
Fresh Water - In the middle ages, people themselves from the enemy. But one of the problems was the water supply. If the enemy surrounded them, they would not have access to life-giving springs and fresh-flowing streams to quench their thirst. Their defeat would be just a matter of time. They built castles where they could flee for safety and defend The problem was solved in the castle of Edinburgh, however. It was constructed above an underground spring that gushed forth with all the fresh water the besieged defenders would ever need. Nourished from within, they were practically invulnerable. When Jesus spoke about living water to a woman of Samaria He was referring to an inner source of spiritual refreshment—a living water that would quench forever the God-thirst of a human soul in search of forgiveness and life. Only in Him can our arid and parched lives be refreshed. —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread)
Water For The World (Read: Jn 4:7-15, 7:38) - Although 70 percent of the world is covered by water, less than 1 percent of it is drinkable by humans. Water conservation and sanitation are crucial matters in many parts of the world, as all life depends on having sanitary water.
Lord Jesus, I want to live for You. May Your
Jesus is a never-ending supply of living water
Dead-Sea Christians - The Dead Sea is so salty that it contains no fish or plant life. What accounts for this unusual condition? There are absolutely no outlets! A great volume of water pours into this area, but nothing flows out. Many inlets plus no outlets equals a dead sea.
The Old Windmill - A man who grew up on a ranch in West Texas tells about a rickety, old windmill that stood alongside his family’s barn and pumped water to their place. It was the only source of water for miles. In a strong wind the windmill worked well, but in a light breeze it wouldn’t turn. It required manually turning the vane until the fan faced directly into the wind. Only when properly positioned did the windmill supply water to the ranch.
When our hearts grow weary,
When you’re weary in life’s struggles,
Finding The Flow - While using a computer to edit a video presentation, a colleague and I were greeted one morning by the on-screen error message: UNABLE TO FIND THE FLOW. Whatever the software program meant by those words, it brought to mind the popular saying, “Go with the flow.” To some people that means behaving as most other people do without trying to swim against the current of the culture. To others it speaks of being more accepting of circumstances without trying to control everything that happens. But for followers of the Lord, there’s another dimension of going with the flow. Jesus said: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit, Who would make His home in every believer. In a very real sense, when we invite Christ into our lives, the Flow finds us and we find the Flow. From then on, we are recipients and conduits of living water—the eternal source of thirst-quenching satisfaction for our souls. The indwelling Holy Spirit carries us along by a power and purpose greater than ourselves. As channels of God’s living water, we are free to go with His flow. - David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread) (Bolding added)
Father, thank You for Your Spirit,
What Jesus accomplished for us,
Overflowing Rivers - We are saved to tell others! When the Lord redeems us, He so fills us with "living water" that, if we are normal Christians, we overflow to others in a witness that produces results for God. There recently came to my attention the true story of an amputee soul winner in Melbourne, Australia, who has a most remarkable ministry. A pastor who visited this crippled woman writes,
Does not that amputee soul winner put all of us to shame? Have you tried to bring even one lost sheep into the Savior's fold? If not, why not? (Our Daily Bread)
We are not storerooms, but channels,
If "he that winneth souls is wise"
what is the implication concerning those who don't?
—H. G. Bosch
God's Healthy Trees - A healthy tree consists of up to eighty percent moisture. It draws large quantities of water through its root system or absorbs it from dew and rain. In his book "As a Tree Grows", W. Phillip Keller says, "the tree does not hoard this moisture for itself. The vast network of running roots beneath the soil often exceeds the outspread canopy of trunk, branches, and leaves spread to the sky. And vast quantities of water are lifted through the framework of the tree to be transpired into the surrounding air. This moisture, along with the discharge of oxygen, is what gives the forest atmosphere such a fresh fragrance." Christians use the water of life in much the same way. In John 7:38, Jesus said that rivers of living water will flow from the heart of the one who believes in Him. He was referring to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through us. The Spirit, who we receive when we trust the Lord Jesus as our Savior, empowers and refreshes us, which enables us to help others. Our part is to read and study God's Word, to receive cleansing and renewal through confession, and to obey the Lord. Then, as we depend on the Holy Spirit, "living water" flows through us and provides refreshment and goodness to people around us. —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread)
Only the Living Water can quench the driving thirst of the soul.
Oswald Chambers - The discipline of Divine loyalty is not that I am true to a doctrine, but so true to Jesus that other people are nourished in the knowledge of Him. Get rid of the idea that you must do good things, and remember what Jesus says, if you believe on Me, out of you will flow rivers of living water. In the Christian life it is never “Do, do,” but “Be, be, and I will do through you.” The type of man produced by the Spirit of Jesus is the one who bears a growing family likeness to Jesus. (The Place of Help)
Oswald Chambers - The teaching of Jesus is, “Be absorbed with Me, and out of you will flow rivers of living water” If we are paying attention to the Source, rivers of living water will pour out of us, but immediately we stop paying attention to the Source, the outflow begins to dry up. We have nothing to do with our “usability,” but only with our relationship to Jesus Christ, nothing must be allowed to come in between. (If thou wilt be perfect: talks on spiritual philosophy)
Oswald Chambers on rivers of living water - To the woman of Samaria, Jesus talked of the benefits to the individual personal life of the living water—“the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life” (Jn 4:14). (In Jn 7:38), He is talking not of the benefits to the individual life at all, but of the rivers of living water that will flow out of the individual life. Jesus did not say, “He that believeth on Me, shall experience the fulness of the blessing of God”; but, “he that believeth on Me, out of him shall escape everything he receives.” It is a picture of the unfathomable, incalculable benediction (act of blessing) which will flow from the one great sovereign source, belief in Jesus. We have nothing to do with the outflow; we have to see to it that we are destitute enough of spiritual independence to be filled with the Holy Spirit and then pay attention to the Source, Our Lord Himself. You can never measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus. (He shall glorify me: talks on the Holy Spirit and other themes)
Oswald Chambers - Are you strengthened from above mentally, physically, morally, spiritually, and “circumstantially”? Do you know how to draw on the resurrection life of Jesus? The guidance in work for God is to notice where you are exhausted without recuperation. We take on a tremendous amount of stuff which we call work for God, and God puts the sentence of death on it for we are exhausted by it without being recuperated, because our strength is drawn from somewhere other than the Highest. The sign that what we are doing is God’s work is that we know the supernatural recuperation. Are we strong enough to be abject failures in the eyes of the world, or are we set upon success? Our work for God is not of any value saving as it develops us; the one thing of value in God’s sight is our relationship to Jesus Christ. The branch knows nothing about its fruit, it only knows the pruning-knife (see John 15:2). “Am I a blessing?” No, certainly not, if you are looking at the outflow. Keep rightly related to the Highest, and out of you will flow “rivers of living water.” (God’s Workmanship)
Oswald Chambers - Springs of benignity - The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water. John 4:14. The picture Our Lord gives is not that of a channel but a fountain. ‘Be being filled,’ and the sweetness of vital relationship to Jesus will flow out of the saint as lavishly as it is imparted to him. If you find your life is not flowing out as it should, you are to blame; something has obstructed the flow. Keep right at the Source, and—you will be blessed personally? No, out of you will flow rivers of living water, irrepressible life. We are to be centers through which Jesus can flow as rivers of living water in blessing to everyone. Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out, because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive from Him, He will pour out through us, and in the measure He is not pouring out, there is a defect in our relationship to Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything that hinders your belief in Him? If not, Jesus says, out of you will flow rivers of living water. It is not a blessing passed on, not an experience stated, but a river continually flowing. Keep at the Source, guard well your belief in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow for other lives, no dryness and no deadness (cp Pr 4:23). Is it not too extravagant to say that out of an individual believer, rivers are going to flow? ‘I do not see the rivers,’ you say. Never look at yourself from the standpoint of—‘Who am I?’ In the history of God’s work you will nearly always find that it has started from the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but the steadfastly true to Jesus Christ… (Aug 31) Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a centre for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who were unconscious of it. (My Utmost for His Highest)
Here is Oswald Chambers' prayer for December 15 - Lord, I turn implicitly to Thee. Be such an atmosphere in and around us that we may be those out of whom the rivers of living water flow. (Knocking at God’s Door - A Little Book of Prayers from prayers Oswald Chambers recorded in his personal diary)
Oswald Chambers - The curse of much modern religion is that it makes us so desperately interested in ourselves, so overwhelmingly concerned about our own whiteness. Jesus Christ was absolutely interested in God, and the saint is to be a simple, unaffected, natural human being indwelt by the Spirit of God. If the saint is paying attention to the Source, Jesus Christ, out of him and unconsciously to him are flowing the rivers of living water wherever he goes (John 7:37-39). Men are either getting better or worse because of us. (The Psychology of Redemption)
Oswald Chambers - The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian. When we begin to wonder whether we are of any use, we instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. Jesus says—“He that believeth on Me,” out of him “shall flow rivers of living water.” If we begin to examine outflow, we lose touch with the Source. We have to pay attention to the Source and God will look after the outflow. (The Love of God—The Ministry of the Unnoticed)
Oswald Chambers - The only illustrations our Lord used of service were those of the vine (John 15:1–6), and the rivers of living water (John 7:37–39). It is inconceivable to think of the vine delighting in its own grapes; all that the vine is conscious of is the husbandman’s pruning knife. All that the one out of whom rivers of living water are flowing is conscious of is belief in Jesus, and maintaining a right relationship to Him. Are we bringing forth fruit? We certainly are if we are identified with the Lord, luscious bunches of grapes for the Husbandman to do what He likes with. Pay attention to the Source, believe in Jesus, and God will look after the outflow. God grant we may let the Holy Ghost work out His passion for souls through us. We have not to imitate Jesus by having a passion for souls like His, but to let the Holy Ghost so identify us with Jesus that His mind is expressed through us as He expressed the mind of God (The Moral Foundation of Life)
Oswald Chambers - Our whole life is to be lived so in the power of God that He can pour through us the rivers of living water to others. Some of us are so concerned about the outflow that it dries up. We continually ask, “Am I of any use?” Jesus tells us how to be of use: “Believe in Me, and out of you will flow rivers of living water.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)
Oswald Chambers - There is only one way to develop spiritually, and that is by concentrating on God. Don’t bother about whether you are growing in grace or whether you are being of use to others, but believe on Jesus and out of you will flow rivers of living water. (Studies in the sermon on the mount)
Oswald Chambers - Let the lowliest soul whose influence apparently amounts to nothing get rightly related to God, and out of him will flow rivers of living water (Jn 7:38) which he does not see; but one day we shall find that it is those lives which have been spreading the lasting benediction. (God’s Workmanship)
Oswald Chambers - How anxious we are to serve God and our fellow men to-day! Jesus Our Lord says we must pay attention to the Source—belief in Him, and He will look after the outflow (Jn 7:38). He has promised that there shall be “rivers of living water,” but we must not look at the outflow, nor rejoice in successful service. “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). The source, belief in Jesus, is the thing to heed; and through that famous, for-ever binding commission, believers in Jesus are to make disciples—“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations” (rv). Are we doing it? (Approved unto God)
Oswald Chambers - Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is of His mercy that He does not let you know it. (August 30 - My utmost for his highest)
Oswald Chambers - How am I going to maintain my relationship to God on the spiritual plane, and keep the broad horizon that will help other men? “Believe on Me,” says Jesus, “and out of you will flow rivers of living water.” The radiating influence from one person rightly related to God is incalculable; he may not say much, but you feel different, the pressure has gone, you are in contact with one who is on a different plane. (The Place of Help)
Oswald Chambers - The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian. If I say, ‘I wonder if I am of any use,’ I instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. “He that believeth in Me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water.” If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord. Which are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious; if it is conscious, it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring. (August 21 - My utmost for his highest)
Oswald Chambers - When a man has been profoundly moved in his spirit by the experience of Redemption, then out of him flow rivers of living water. Stop the concern of whether you are of any use in the world. “He that believeth on Me,” said Jesus, out of him “shall flow rivers of living water”; whether we see it or not is a matter of indifference. Heed the Source. (The highest good: containing also The Pilgrims song book and The Great redemption)
Oswald Chambers - Diffusiveness of life - Rivers of living water. John 7:38. - A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fulness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow—“This is the work of God that ye believe…” God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is. A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of the Spirit of God overcomes all obstacles. Never get your eyes on the obstacle or on the difficulty. The obstacle is a matter of indifference to the river which will flow steadily through you if you remember to keep right at the Source. Never allow anything to come between yourself and Jesus Christ, no emotion, or experience; nothing must keep you from the one great sovereign Source. Think of the healing and far-flung rivers nursing themselves in our souls! God has been opening up marvelous truths to our minds, and every point He has opened up is an indication of the wider power of the river He will flow through us. If you believe in Jesus, you will find that God has nourished in you mighty torrents of blessing for others. (Sept 6 - My utmost for his highest)
Oswald Chambers - “He that believeth in Me out of him shall flow rivers of living water,” that is, hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him? (Sept 2 - My utmost for his highest)
Oswald Chambers - When we are right with God, Jesus says, out of you will flow “rivers of living water.” (The Highest Good)
|John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified: touto de eipen (AAI) peri tou pneumatos o emellon (IAI) lambanein (PAN) oi pisteusantes (AAP) eis auton; houpo gar en (IAI) pneuma, hoti Iesoun oudepo edoxasthe (API):
THE GIFT OF THE
But this - What is this? The rivers of living water, Jesus' figurative description of the Holy Spirit.
Keddie - John writes from a post-John 20/Acts 2 perspective and wants it clearly understood that the living water is a metaphorical bridge between the water poured out at the Feast of Tabernacles and the work of the Holy Spirit in the post-Pentecostal church. The giving of the Holy Spirit and his gifts was reserved for the time after Christ had actually died, risen and ascended into heaven, so demonstrating that salvation and newness of life are the fruit of Christ’s mediatorial sacrifice for sin. (Ibid)
It is fascinating that in John 4 Living Water is a picture of Jesus and here in John 7 Living Water is a picture of the Holy Spirit. We should not be surprised that God uses the same phrase to describe the Son and the Spirit, for other NT passages refer to the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9, 1Pe 1:11), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7) and the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:19). The Trinity is truly a mystery but it is just as surely a true mystery!
If you quench the Spirit (1Th 5:19),
The Spirit - Jesus speaks of the Spirit as a Person, not an it.
Just as water satisfies thirst and produces fruitfulness, so the Spirit of God satisfies the inner person and enables us to bear fruit.
Ray Pritchard on the Spirit - Are you spooked out by the Holy Spirit? Perhaps I should say, “Are you spooked out by the Holy Ghost?” Lots of Christians are, you know. They say things like, “I know about God the Father, and I know about Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is a mystery to me.” You may remember the story about the little boy who liked to scare people by saying, “Boo! I’m the Holy Ghost.” That story is apt because the Holy Spirit (“Ghost” is the older term) scares many Christians. Maybe they’re heard things or seen things on TV. Or perhaps the idea of a “Holy Spirit” seems hard to grasp. We understand the concept of God the Creator, and we certainly know about Jesus who walked among us 2000 years ago. But the Holy Spirit is another matter. Where does he fit in?… One of the oldest prayers of the church contains only three words: “Come, Holy Spirit.” Here is the ultimate irony of this message. Because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see spiritual truth, we need the Holy Spirit to understand the Holy Spirit! So we pray “Come, Holy Spirit, and help us to know you better. Amen."… The Holy Spirit brings the life of God to the thirsty soul. That’s what the Holy Spirit provides for us. He will fill our lives with living water. If we are thirsty, we are invited to take a drink and see for ourselves. Have you ever felt like spiritually “dry ground"? Have you ever felt “thirsty” for more of the Lord? Have you ever felt empty and needing to be filled? The Holy Spirit is God’s answer for our deep inner thirst. When He comes into our lives, He comes like a river rushing over dry ground. He pours out His blessings and our lives begin to blossom again. No one need stay “dry” or “empty” or “thirsty” forever. We weren’t made to live in a desert. God’s river called the Holy Spirit can flow through our lives, slaking our thirst, filling our emptiness, covering the arid ground with the water of life. (Water, Wine, Wind, Fire - Keep Believing Ministries)
Ray Pritchard in another sermon speaks of the Spirit asking "what does the Holy Spirit do? He brings God to us. When Jesus was on the earth, His name was Immanuel—God with us. Now that he has gone back to heaven, the Holy Spirit comes and brings God to us. The moment we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit opens the springs of life and a river of living water begins to flow from within us. But God never gives his blessings simply to be hoarded. He gives his blessings to us so that we can share them with others. Here is a simple sentence to help you think about this truth: The Holy Spirit brings God to us so we can bring God to others. The river flows from us to others. A genuine believer in Christ is not self-centered. He says to himself, “I have been greatly blessed. I must pass these blessings along to others. I can’t keep them for myself.” What God gives me, I give away. If it’s money, it’s not mine anyway. If it’s my time, it all belongs to God anyway. If it’s something I own, I can give it away because I don’t own anything; God owns it all. If it’s a helping hand, I can do that because God reached down and helped me. Behind this principle is the truth I call the Greater Golden Rule: “Do unto others as God has done unto you.” Has God blessed you? Then bless others. Has God been kind to you? Then be kind to others. Has God shown grace to you? Then show grace to others. Has God forgiven you? Then forgive others. Be a river of living water for some thirsty soul this week. (When God Comes Near- “I Believe in the Holy Spirit”)
It only takes a spark to get a fire going,
I’ll shout it from the mountain top—PRAISE GOD!
Were to receive - At the time Jesus gave this promise, the New Covenant had not been inaugurated, but it would be by His death, burial and resurrection. Then the OT New Covenant promise of Ezekiel would be fulfilled - "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." (Ezek 36:26-27) This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the saints "were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." (Acts 2:4)
In keeping with the picture of the Holy Spirit as like rivers of living water, Paul describes the Spirit as the One Whom the Father "poured out (ekcheo - see Ro 5:5 below) upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." (Titus 3:6-note)
In Romans Paul writes that
In the OT we see the Spirit repeatedly portrayed as being poured out like water…
In the book of Acts Luke has four descriptions of the Spirit being poured out…
In Zechariah we see great prophecy of the topographical changes that will occur when Messiah returns and the Messianic (Millennial) Age begins…
In the OT the Spirit was given to saints but indwelt them only temporarily, but now Jesus promises He will be in them forever (See Jn 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.")
Whom those who believed (pisteuo) in Him were to receive - Belief is the condition, reception is the promise.
For the Spirit was not yet - Note that "given" is added by the translators. He was not yet is even more powerful! He was not yet received because He had not yet been given.
Peter describes Jesus giving the Spirit after He was resurrected and ascended…
Below are other NT Passages that allude to the giving of the Spirit to believers. Notice that the Father and the Son are both involved in the giving of the Spirit.
For - term of explanation - What is Jesus explaining? Obviously He is explaining that this was a promise yet to be fulfilled. While that was true for His immediate audience, the condition of the promise was fulfilled by Jesus some 9 months later. Now in the Church Age the promise is not future but present, for now ALL believers receive the Holy Spirit when they believe. Paul writes "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." (Ro 8:9)
Because Jesus was not yet glorified - Notice that because is another term of explanation. When was Jesus glorified? He was glorified at His crucifixion, His resurrection and His ascension, taking His seat at the right hand of the Father (See Acts 2:33). John speaks often of the glorification of Jesus - John 8:54; 11:4; 12:28; 13:31–32; 14:13.
Tenney notes that glorified "has varied meanings in this Gospel. It may refer to establishing status or to enhancing a reputation (John 8:54; 12:28; 13:32; 14:13; 15:8; 16:14; 17:1, 4, 5, 10; 21:19). In this particular context it refers to Jesus’ death, which, despite all appearances, would be the entrance to glory for him (John 7:39; 11:4; 12:16, 23; 13:31). The death and resurrection of Jesus would demonstrate the perfection of God’s love and power through humiliation” (Expositor's Bible Commentary)
Glorified (1392)(doxazo from doxa = glory) has a secular meaning of to think, suppose, be of opinion but strictly speaking is not used in this sense in Scripture where it usually means to give a correct opinion or correct estimate of God, as possessing infinite greatness, grandeur and worth.
W E Vine - The Lord thus promises a twofold source of refreshment and satisfaction: He Himself satisfies the thirsty soul (cp Jn 4:10, 13-14), and by the indwelling Holy Spirit the believer is to be the means of satisfying others. To the Samaritan woman He had spoken of the water bestowed by Him as becoming in the recipient “a well of water springing up unto eternal life” (Jn 4:14); now He enlarges the promise: the believer is to be a channel of the fullness of life-giving ministry and enrichment to needy souls. He does not say “a river of living water,” but “rivers.” What a contrast to the golden picture of water poured out each day at the Feast of Booths! How great the possibilities of a Spirit-filled life! How important that we should permit nothing to clog the channel! This being “filled with the Spirit” is not an attainment securing a condition of permanent freedom from any defect on our part, it necessitates recourse to the efficacy of the cleansing blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), and the renewing of our mind (Ro 12:2). The purpose of the Spirit is to glorify Christ (John 16:14) and this ministry He fulfills in and through the believer who, seeking to refrain from grieving the Spirit, presents his body to God as a living sacrifice. So let us thirst, come, be filled, and be a channel of supply. The “living waters” were figurative of the Holy Spirit (v. 38) and the Lord was promising what would, and did, take place at Pentecost, and from that time onward. The Spirit would not be given thus till the Lord Jesus was glorified. There is no mention here of the Church; only the individual believer is in view. Further, what is here mentioned is not the Spirit’s work of regeneration. He was to be a gift to those who were already believers when Christ was on earth. What takes place since Pentecost is that when we believe and are born of the Spirit, He indwells us and becomes a river flowing through us in blessing to others. (Collected Writings)
Rich Cathers on Lessons from John 7:37-39 - Spirit Filled. Are you thirsty? Are you unsatisfied with your life? Maybe you have never opened your life to Jesus. Maybe you realize that you need help. Maybe you are a Christian, but you’ve been living your life in your own strength. Four things from this passage: 1. Thirst - You have to have a need for Him. You have to “suffer from thirst”. There must be a strong sense of need in our life. We need to come to the point where we realize just how much we need God's help. If we're complacent about it, and don't really care one way or another, then don't expect anything. 2. Come to Jesus - You have to realize that to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you're going to have to come to Jesus. Going to Mohammed won't do. Nor Buddha. Coming to a special pastor to pray over you is a nice sentiment, but if you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you must come to Jesus. If you aren’t coming to Jesus to have your thirst met, it’s like (show video of Nestea gone wrong – people falling backward and hitting the dust) Only He has paid the price for your sins, enabling you to come into a personal relationship with God. 3. Drink - To drink a glass of water, you first have to open up your mouth. Imagine drinking a glass of water with your mouth closed. You would certainly have a “drinking problem”! To receive the Holy Spirit, you have to open up your heart. Dr. A. B. Simpson used this illustration about being filled with the Spirit: “Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with the Christian.” A. W. Tozer wrote, “We are filled unto the fullness of God, but, of course, we cannot contain all of God because God contains us; but we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.” 4. Believe - Jesus didn’t say, “He who feels this tingle down his back will have rivers of living water … ”.
He said, “He who believes … ” Being filled with the Holy Spirit is based on trust, on faith, not on feelings.
Robert Neighbour - Ezekiel gives a wonderful description of the flowing of these Waters. Ezekiel 47:1-8 says that the waters issued out from under the threshold of the house, eastward. They flowed with ever increasing depth and width. Then we find the statement "These waters go down into the desert, and go into the sea." Then comes the remarkable phrase, "It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live." (Ezek 47:9) To us this is exceedingly suggestive. The Holy Spirit begins to flow rivers of blessing from us when He is exalted to the throne of our hearts. He goes forth into the deserts of the world with blessing. Everything that He touches lives. Every miry place and every marsh is healed. In Ezekiel, on either side of the river there were all trees for meat. Their leaves did not fade, and their fruit could not be consumed. Would that God would give us such lives as these (Pr 4:23). The Spirit-filled life is the dominant need of every believer. Unless we are filled with the Spirit we cannot get God's best, neither can we prove ourselves able to give forth God's best. No wonder the Bible says, "Be filled with the Spirit." (Eph 5:18) (Living Water Commentary)
Tony Evans' illustration regarding the Holy Spirit - In 2006, the Arizona Cardinals signed former Indianapolis Colts tailback Edgerrin James to a four-year contract worth $30 million, which included a signing bonus of $11.5 million. We live in a time when professional athletes not only ask for, but often expect, a signing bonus. In some ways, it has ceased to function as the special gift it was intended to be. This is also how we as believers can find ourselves treating the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we need to be reminded that the Holy Spirit is God's great gift to us. In John 7:37-39, Jesus stood on the crowded streets of Jerusalem and declared that those who believed in Him would experience living water springing from their innermost being. the Holy Spirit's job is to run interference so we can move forward in our spiritual lives. In Jn 7:39 John says, "This He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." Something that is given is a gift, which is exactly what the Bible calls the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, many believers today function as if the Holy Spirit is the bench player of the Trinity. They know He is there, but they don't let Him in the game very often. Yet the Holy Spirit is the most active member of the Godhead when it comes to spiritual growth, so it's vital we learn what God's Word says about Him… The Holy Spirit lives in every believer (Ro 8:9, 1Cor 12:13), but not every believer allows Him full control of their lives. This comes through the Spirit's filling (Eph 5:18), which opens up the rivers of living water that He wants to send flowing through us. Why do we try to live life by our own strength rather than God's strength? When do you find it easiest to turn over control to God's Spirit in your life? (Get in the Game - An Athlete's Guide for the Spiritual Journey)
It’s Bubbling In My Soul - Decades ago, I visited a ministry center in West Africa and saw a little girl climb onto a truck that had a public address system. Smiling, she began to sing over the microphone:
It’s bubbling, it’s bubbling,
I heard her sing that song only once. But the joy in her voice was so evident and powerful that I remember the lyrics and tune to this day. The parallel in the song between water and spiritual refreshment is a biblical one. During the Feast of Tabernacles, a Levite priest would pour out water as a symbol of God providing water for Israel in the wilderness. During that feast, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’?” (John 7:37-38). Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit promised to those who would believe in Him (Jn 7:39). This thirst-quenching water is a picture of the spiritual satisfaction that only He can provide. Perhaps you’ve lost that joy you first experienced at salvation. Confess all known sin right now (1 John 1:9). Be filled with God’s Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), and let Him provide you with a “bubbling in your soul.” -- Dennis Fisher (Our Daily Bread)
Christ departed so that the Holy Spirit could be imparted.
James Alexander - This is not a well in the desert, of which you may only once taste and must then leave forever, but a river of life, at which you may perpetually slake your thirst. The Israelites all drank of that Spiritual Rock which followed them; and that Rock was Christ (1Cor 10:4). The current from the smitten rock pursued the journeyings of the camp. The unchanging Redeemer in His fulness is always beside you and within your reach. "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."… You may be already justified indeed; but are there not a thousand wants within you which crave supply? Has not your path been through a wearisome land, and are you not sensible of an inward thirst, which nothing but spiritual refreshment can assuage? You need daily purifying; you need daily increase of knowledge; you need strength for the remaining journey, and healing for the fevered wounds of your conflict. Behold the boundless provision and hearken to the liberal summons. Approach anew to Him Who is the Source of all your life and Who cries anew "If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink." (Col 2:6) (Discourses on Common Topics of Christian Faith and Practice)
Though you may have for days without number forsaken the fountain of living waterand hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, which can hold no water, rest assured beloved believer that none who who will be turned away from the Fountain, Christ Jesus, for the Diffuser of gracious refreshment is ever ready to take us back and satisfy us with His love. Again the sound of falling waters is in your ears. From the clefts of the saving Rock the holy stream breaks forth in profusion. "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost." (Rev 22:17)
It is the final feast of the seven great Jewish feast.
It is called the Feast of Ingathering.
It began one day after the Day of Atonement
The Temple held at least 6000 within the walls.
Even as water is indispensable for the natural life of man, so too "living water" from Jesus is indispensable to the supernatural life of man, for the non-believer bringing spiritual life, for the believer bringing abundant life. Partake of Jesus or perish.
If anyone also implies that there will always be enough, that the supply of living water found in Jesus is ever springing, inexhaustible source, sufficient to satisfy in this short life and the eternal life to come.
Jesus' invitation is large, and the provision is vast, for His righteousness is infinite.
Here is Jesus the most unpopular and most popular in the midst of the Temple - teaching earlier
Jesus at the right place, right time with the right word!
It has not yet been celebrated by the church.
Estimates are there were more than 1 million in Jerusalem.
Eccl 6:7 All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.
Nothing can satisfy the deepest needs of our soul except the Water of Life, Christ Jesus.
7:39 is a prophecy
Cry - a voice of anguish (?) - the last day, the last feast, the last time!
The Bread of Life, the Water of Life, the Door of Life, the Resurrection and the Life
Our part is to seek. His part is to satisfy.
The trumpets sounded and the people sang, “Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3-note). This water symbolized salvation. (Constance, Mrs. T. M.)
If the 7th day, it would have corresponded with the finale - marched around altar 7x before pouring out the water. If the 8th day, there was no water ceremony. His offer would be in juxtaposition to the physical water the day before.
Pr 11:25 - He who waters will himself be watered.
John 14:17 with you and will be in you (helps understand He was always present but not as He would be)
Ezek 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Appetites of the body are used to set forth the desires of the soul.
The waters of this wilderness world yield no pure, refreshing stream.
"Piety is influential." (Jabez Burns) God blesses a man that he may be a blessing. As Paul said "What would you have me do?" Not to merit blessing, but to spread blessing. And not to gain honor for us, but to bring glory to God.
Constance - The emphatic word “thirst” means all the needs of the soul and the deep cravings of mankind. The word “drink” is equally as strong. Jesus offers Himself as a complete satisfaction to man. The claim here is the same as that given in Isaiah 55:1, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat.” Coming and drinking are two sides of one action, that of believing in Jesus. Those who respond to the invitation of Jesus are given promise of blessing and of being a blessing to others. The believer, having received Jesus, becomes himself a fountain of eternal blessing. Jesus strengthens what He promises the believer by anchoring this promise in the Old Testament scriptures. His entire mission and work, with all the blessings He came to give, are the fulfillment of God’s promises. This fact proved the genuineness of His Messiahship. His reference to scripture is a direct answer to the rulers who scoff at His claims. It is through Jesus that every believer actually attains what God promised by His holy prophets. That is evidence for the truth of Christianity. The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated to renew the old promises of God to the people. Then Jesus gave the invitation to the multitudes in fulfillment of these promises. The Christian is a channel through whom the grace of God flows to bless others. This is the effect of the regenerating and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. This is secured by the atonement of Jesus Christ. The cross has two sides: one turned toward God the Father, reconciling Him to man, a sinner; the other turned toward man, securing for him redemption and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. Under these two aspects Christ’s sacrifice is always presented in the Bible. (Constance, Mrs. T. M.)
D L Moody - What does a hungry man want? Fame? No. Good clothes? No, he wants food. What does a thirsty man want? Stocks and bonds? No, he wants water. When we really hunger and thirst for Holy Spirit power, nothing else will satisfy us. God has commanded us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). We have His promise that He will pour water on him that is thirsty (Isa 44:3KJV). Claim that promise now in faith, fulfill the conditions laid down in the Word, and God will not disappoint you. (Talks to Christians)
Henry Clay Trumbull - What want in the world equals thirst, and how vain and mocking are man's endeavors to supply what in this realm is longed for!… " Living water " is water from a perennial spring, as distinct from ordinarily well water, or cistern water. And " living water " is to this day, in the East, cried by the water-carrier in the crowded city streets as " The gift of God! The gift of God! "… No appetite or passion, no craving or desire, is so universal, so constant, so fierce, and so resistless, as thirst. Thirst was the first want of the first-born babe. Amid the awful terrors of Calvary, thirst forced an agonized cry from the lips of the dying Redeemer (Jn 19:28). The one cry that has come back to us from a spirit in torment was for a drop of water to cool a tongue parching with thirst (Lk 16:24). And one of the promises precious to the children of God is that in heaven they shall not thirst any more (Rev 7:16). To slake another's thirst but for a moment, is a bounty acknowledged gratefully by man, and not unnoticed by God. (Mt 10:42, 25:34-35, cp Acts 20:35)… One whose lips have parched with thirst in an army-prison, or on a sandy march, or while lying wounded on a field of battle, can realize the preciousness of "a cup of cold water only" as others cannot. After one of the battles of our Civil War, a member of the government ambulance corps was moving among the wounded on the field, assisting in their removal. He came to a dying Southern soldier, too far gone for hope through removal. As he stooped over the dying man with a kindly word, the parching lips asked for water. The lips were tenderly moistened. "Thank you! Now please lay my cap over my face, and let me die." As this service was rendered lovingly, there came another call from the dying man: " Will you please tell me your name, my friend ?" " Why, of course I will ; but why do you ask it ?" "Oh, so I can pray God through all eternity to bless you for giving me that water!" To bring water for his thirst, man has poured out millions upon millions for costly aqueducts, the very ruins of which are among the world's wonders. He has bored the artesian well into depths which could never be reached by cutting. He has tunneled under the lake's bottom, miles beyond the shore, for a purer supply. He has linked the desert with the river by chains of canals. Yet at the best, pure water has not always satisfied man's thirst ; so he has searched the world over for tempting beverages, and has taxed the ingenuity of his fellows for new and refreshing drinks… The longing for drink has been neither satisfied nor removed. Men still drink and thirst, and thirst and drink again. Only one person in all the world, and he that travel-worn pilgrim by the well of Jacob, has ever dared confidently to say, " Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst."… even as fainting travelers have been deluded by the mirage of the desert into one more vain effort to reach the water which they longed for, even so, also, thirsting souls have been mocked with the wine of superstition, have famished at the exhausted cistern of a false religion, or have wasted their latest strength in pursuing the mirage of some delusive philosophy of first causes and ultimate destiny. When Philip V, of Spain, first saw in full play the magnificent new fountains he had erected at La Granja, it is said that an expression of pleasure passed over his sad face ; then his melancholy look returned, and he said, bitterly : " Thou hast given me three minutes' distraction from my cares ; and thou hast cost me three millions." Might not his words be spoken of many a costly fountain erected to gratify man's spiritual longings? The ruins of such fountains dot the world over. What else are the crumbling, but still magnificent, temples at Nineveh and Nuffar, at Memphis and Thebes, at Susa and Persepolis, at Athens and Rome, at Mexico and Cuzco! Their cost was millions. Their relief to soul-thirst was momentary. " Broken cisterns" are they all, "that can hold no water." (Jer 2:13)… Myriads have turned, with thirsty souls, to Jesus;
never one, never one, never one has been refused or disappointed. Men and women and children who rested on this promise have gone calmly into the fires of martyrdom, and with moistened lips have sung the praises of Jesus while the flames were purifying their bodies. Others have sorrowed on alone in life, but not as those who had no hope (1Th 4:13). They have been "troubled on every side, yet not distressed;… perplexed, but not in despair ; persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed " (2 Cor. 4:8, 9). They have been " as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things " (2 Cor 6:9-10). Many of you here before me are also witnesses of these things. You could rise up, one by one, and say in grateful confidence:
"I heard the voice of Jesus say,
'Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down, and drink, and live ! '
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him." (Col 3:4, Jn 20:31, 1Jn 4:9, 5:11)
I never yet heard one say that he had drunk of the water which Jesus proffers and not had his soul-thirst quenched. (Henry Clay Trumbull - A Sermon on Thirst - 1903)
Imagine the scene - Jesus standing and shouting out that He had water His hearers should drink and yet all could plainly see He had no pitcher, no glass, no real physical water. Imagine how the hearers must have processed this Man's offer!
DO YOU MAKE OTHERS THIRSTY? - A little Chinese girl said, "I know why Christ said, 'You are the salt of the earth.' Because salt makes folks thirsty and Christians should make others thirsty for Christ." Are you making folks thirsty? People are too lazy to look up. Few try to find Christ. So Christ wants others to see Him reflected in us. In the famous Sistine Chapel in Rome, the beauty of the art is in the ceiling. As you enter, you are given a mirror. It seems strange to see people walking around looking down when the paintings are above. But they see all the glory reflected in the mirrors before them, without breaking their necks. Be a reflector. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you. - Henrietta Mears
These rivers of living water are to flow to us and through us as waters which are living, perennial and inexhaustible, yielding supplies to wants which are perpetually returning.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
On March 29, 1848, Niagara Falls stopped for several hours due to an obstruction at the mouth of the river upstream, causing the falls to come to a trickle. What a picture of a believer who has drunk of the living water of Jesus for salvation, but now instead of experiencing rivers of living water flowing forth, is experiencing just a "trickle." Jesus desires that we "have life and have it abundantly." (Jn 10:10) And yet the flow of His Spirit through us has been obstructed by something in our lives.
Nu 20:7-9 (Num 20:7) and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (Num 20:8) “Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.” (Num 20:9) So Moses took the rod from before the LORD, just as He had commanded him;
Isaiah 44:3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;
Isaiah 49:10 “They will not hunger or thirst, Nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He (Messiah the Good Shepherd) Who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.
Jeremiah 31:25 "For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes."
Ps 23:2 He leads me beside quiet waters.
Rev 7:16-17 “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their Shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Rev 21:6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
Re 22:1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Amos 8:11-13 (Amos 8:11) “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. (Amos 8:12) “People will stagger from sea to sea And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it. (Amos 8:13) “In that day the beautiful virgins And the young men will faint from thirst.
Ro 12:20, Pr 25:21
Pr 25:25 Like cold water to a weary soul, So is good news (aggelia agathe = message good - that is "good news" which when from God is called the Gospel) from a distant land. - Jesus came from a distant land to bring good news which was like water to weary souls! In Lk 2:10 when the angels announced "good news of great joy" the verb they used was euaggelizo which elsewhere means to proclaim the Gospel! William Arnot comments "The “peace on earth” which was proclaimed by angels and procured by Christ—which is offered in the word and enjoyed by the faithful, is like cold waters to a thirsty soul… The message of mercy is to most men like cold water to a soul that is not thirsty. Where there is a burning thirst perhaps there is no material blessing that affords to a human being such a lively pleasure as cold water; but, on the other hand, scarcely anything can be more insipid in the absence of thirst. When it is applied to the lips of a satisfied man, it is not indeed actively or violently offensive, but it is utterly tasteless, and is therefore set aside and forgotten… Thirst is a blessed thing, if cold water be at hand; cold water is a blessed thing to those who thirst. Needy sinners get; a gracious Saviour gives. When thirst drinks in cold water, when cold water quenches thirst, the giver and the receiver rejoice together. While the redeemed obtain a great refreshment in the act, the Redeemer obtains a greater; for Himself was wont to say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth: Illustrations of the Book of Proverbs)
Isaiah 55:1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
Ps 42:1-2 For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants (Heb = arag = longs for; Lxx = epipotheo = longs for desire, present tense = continually) for the water brooks, So my soul pants (Heb = arag = longs for; Lxx = epipotheo = longs for, desires, present tense = continually - same verb in 1Pe 2:2 = like a newborn babe longing for the Word) for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
Thirst produces a craving in the mind and body of a person which is not satisfied until the person drinks. This metaphor is cleverly used by the writer. Notice that the verb in the Lxx is epipotheo which describes a strong desire, an intense craving of possession, a great affection for, a deep desire, an earnest yearning for something with implication of need.
Spurgeon - As the hart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after the, O God. As after a long drought the poor fainting hind longs for the streams, or rather as the hunted hart instinctively seeks after the river to lave its smoking flanks and to escape the dogs, even so my weary, persecuted soul pants after the Lord my God. Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveller in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die -- he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. As the hart brays so his soul prays. Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear reader, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord's love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it -- hourly, did I say? thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continual is the heart's longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings. We may learn from this verse that the eagerness of our desires may be pleaded with God, and the more so, because there are special promises for the importunate and fervent.
Ps 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly (early will I seek Thee); My soul thirsts (Heb = tsame = to be thirsty; Lxx = dipsao) for You, my flesh yearns (Heb = kamah = faints; Lxx = ) for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Ps 107:9 For He has satisfied (Lxx = chortazo = feed, fill, satisfy) the thirsty (Lxx = kenos = empty, devoid of spiritual truth in one's) soul (one's deepest innermost being), and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good (Lxx = agathos - of gifts beneficial; of words useful; of deeds good).
Ps 143:6KJV I (David) stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
Rev 7:16-17 “They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Rev 21:6 And He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Judges 15:17-19 When he had finished speaking, he threw the jawbone from his hand; and he named that place Ramath-lehi. 18 Then he became very thirsty, and he called to the LORD and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi so that water came out of it. When he drank, his strength returned and he revived. Therefore he named it En-hakkore, which is in Lehi to this day.
S D Gordon on John 7:37-39 (see below chapter 1 - "Choked Channels") - Four words - thirst, glorified, drink, believe - tell the whole story. Thirst means desire, intense desire. There is no word in our language so strong to express desire as the word thirst. Physical thirst will completely control your actions. If you are very thirsty, you can do nothing till that gnawing desire is satisfied. You cannot read, nor study, nor talk, nor transact business. You are in agony when intensely thirsty. To die of thirst is extremely painful. Jesus uses that word thirst to express intensest desire. Let me ask you -- Are you thirsty for power? Is there a yearning down in your heart for something you have not? That is the ﬁrst step. No good to offer food to a man without appetite. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst.” Pitiable are they that need and do not know their need. Physicians ﬁnd their most difﬁcult work in dealing with the man who has no desire to live. He is at the lowest ebb. Are you thirsty? There is a special promise for thirsty ones. “I will pour water on him that is thirsty.” If you are not thirsty for the Master’s power, are you thirsty to be made thirsty? If you are not really thirsty in your heart for this new life of power, you might ask the Master to put that thirst in you. For there can be nothing before that. The second word is the one added long afterwards by John, when the Spirit had enlightened his understanding-”glorified.” “For not yet was the Spirit given, because not yet was Jesus glorified.” That word has two meanings here: the first meaning a historical one, the second a personal or experimental one. The historical meaning is this: when Jesus returned home all scarred in face and form from His trip to the earth, He was received back with great enthusiasm, and was glorified in the presence of myriads of angel beings by being enthroned at the Father’s right hand. Then the glorified Jesus sent the Holy Spirit down to the earth as His own personal representative for His new peculiar mission. The presence of the Spirit in our hearts is evidence that the Jesus whom earth despised and crucified is now held in highest honor and glory in that upper world. The Spirit is the gift of a glorified Jesus. Peter lays particular stress upon this in his Pentecost sermon, telling to those who had so spitefully murdered Jesus that He “being at the right hand of God exalted … hath poured forth this.” That is the historical meaning-the first meaning of that word “glorified.” It refers to an event in the highest heaven after Jesus’ ascension. The personal meaning is this: when Jesus is enthroned in my life the Holy Spirit shall fill me. The Father glorified Jesus by enthroning Him. I must glorify Him by enthroning Him. But the throne of my heart was occupied by another who did not propose to resign, nor to be deposed without resistance. So there had to be a dethronement as well as an enthronement. I must quietly but resolutely place the crown of my life, my love, my will upon Jesus’ brow for Him henceforth to control me as He will. That act of enthroning Him carries with it the dethronement of self.
Let me say plainly that here is the searching test of the whole matter. Why do you want power? For the rare enjoyment of ecstatic moods? For some hidden selfish purpose, like Simon of Samaria, of which you are perhaps only half conscious, so subtly does it lurk underneath? That you may be able to move men? These motives are all selfish. The streams turn in, and that means a dead sea. Better stop before you begin. For thy heart is not right before God. But if the uppermost and undermost desire be to glorify Jesus and let Him do in you, and with you what He chooses, then you shall know the flooding of the channel-ways of your life with a new stream of power. Jesus Himself, when down here as Son of Man, met this test. With reverence be it said that His highest purpose in coming to earth was not to die upon the cross, but to glorify His Father. That memorable passage opening the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, which Jesus applied to Himself in the Nazareth synagogue, contains eight or nine statements of what He was to do, but closes with a comprehensive statement of the underlying purpose “that He might be glorified.” As it turned out, that could best be done by yielding to the awful experiences through which He passed. But the supreme thought of pleasing His Father was never absent from His thought. It drove Him to the wilderness, and to Gethsemane, and to Calvary. Is that the one purpose in your heart in desiring power? He might send some of us out to the far off foreign mission field. He might send some down to the less enchanted field of the city slums to do salvage service night after night among the awful social wreckage thrown upon the strand there; or possibly it would mean an isolated post out on the frontier, or down in the equally heroic field of the mountains of the South. He might leave some of you just where you are, in a commonplace, humdrum spot, as you think, when your visions had been in other fields. He might make you a seed-sower, like lonely Morrison in China, when you wanted to be a harvester like Moody. Here is the real battlefield. The fighting and agonizing are here. Not with God but with yourself, that the old self in you may be crucified and Jesus crowned in its place. Will you in the purpose of your heart make Jesus absolute monarch whatever that may prove to mean? It may mean great sacrifice; it will mean greater joy and power at once. May we have the simple courage to do it. Master, help us! Thou wilt help us. Thou art helping some of us now as we talk and listen and think.
Power Manifest In Action. Well, then, if you have won on that field of action, the rest is very simple. Indeed, after a victory there, your whole life moves up to a new level. The third word is drink. “Let him come unto Me and drink.” Drinking is one of the easiest acts imaginable. I wish I had a glass of water here just to let you see how easy a thing it is. Tip up the glass and let the water run in and down. Drink simply means take. It is saying, “Lord Jesus, I take from Thee the promised power … I thank Thee that the Spirit has taken full control.” But you say, “Is that all?” Yes. “Why, I do not feel anything.” Do you remember saying something like that when you were urged to take Jesus as your Savior? And some kind friend told you not to wait for feeling, but to trust, and that when you did that, the light came? Now, the fourth word is believe. The law of God’s dealing with you has not changed. Jesus says, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” You are to believe His word. “But,” you say, “how shall I know I have this power?” Well, first, by believing that Jesus has done what He agreed. He promised the Spirit to them that obey Him. The Holy Spirit fills every surrendered heart. Then there is a second way-will experience the power as need arises. How do you know anything? Here is this chair. Suppose I tell you I have power to pick it up and hold it out at arm’s length. Well, you think, I look as though I might have that much power in my arm. But you do not know. Perhaps my arm is weak and does not show it. But now I pick it up and hold it out-(holding chair out at arm’s length)-now you know I have at least that much power in my arm. Power is always manifest in action. That is a law of power. How did that man by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, who had not walked for thirty-eight years-how did he know that he had received power to walk? He got up and walked! He did not know he had received the power till he got up. Power is shown in action always. Faith acts. It pushes out, in obedience to command. And when you go out of here today, as the need arises you will find the power rising within you to meet it. When the hasty word comes hot to your lips, when that old habit asserts itself, when the actual test of sacrifice comes, when the opportunity for service comes, as surely as the need comes, will come the sense of His power in control. Believe means expect. “Thirst,” “glorify,” “drink,” “believe”-desire, enthrone, accept, expect-that is the simple story. Are you thirsty? Will you put Jesus on the throne? Then accept, and go out with your eyes open, expecting, expecting, expecting, and He will never fail to reveal His power. Shall we bow in silence a few moments and settle the matter, each of us, with the Master direct? (S D Gordon - Quiet Talks on Power)
A W Pink - Here ("If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink") is the Gospel in a single short sentence. Three words in it stand out and call for special emphasis—"thirst," "come," "drink." The first tells of a recognized need. Thirst, like hunger, is something of which we are acutely conscious. It is a craving for that which is not in our actual possession. There is a soul thirst as well as a bodily. The pathetic thing is that so many thirst for that which cannot slake them. Their thirst is for the things of the world: pleasure, money, fame, ease, self-indulgence; and over all these Christ has written in imperishable letters, "Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again."… He speaks of that intense longing for Himself which only the Spirit of God can create in the soul… "Come" is one of the simplest words in the English language. It signifies our approach to an object or person. It expresses action, and implies that the will is operative. To come to Christ means, that you do with your heart and will what you would do with your feet were He standing in bodily form before you and saying, "Come unto me." It is an act of faith. It intimates that you have turned your back upon the world, and have abandoned all confidence in everything about yourself, and now cast yourself empty-handed, at the feet of incarnate Grace and Truth. But make sure that nothing whatever is substituted for Christ. It is not, come to the Lord’s table, or come to the waters of baptism, or come to the priest or minister, or come and join the church; but come to Christ Himself, and to none other. "And drink." It is here that so many seem to fail. There are numbers who give evidence of an awakened conscience, of heart-exercise, of a conscious need of Christ; and there are numbers who appear to be seeking Him, and yet stop short at that. But Christ not only said, "Come unto me," but He added, "and drink." A river flowing through a country where people were dying of thirst, would avail them nothing unless they drink of it. The blood of the slain lamb availed the Israelite household nothing, unless the head of that household had applied it to the door. So Christ saves none who do not receive Him by faith. "Drinking" is here a figurative expression, and signifies making Christ your own. In all ages God’s saints have been those who saw their deep need, who came to the Lord, and appropriated the provision of grace… Christ was not addressing a company of profligates, but a religious crowd who were observing a Divinely-instituted Feast! What an example for each of His servants! Brother preacher, take nothing for granted. Do not suppose that because those you address are respectable people and punctual in their religious exercises they are necessarily saved… Twice before had Christ employed "water" as a figure, and it is striking to observe the progressive order. In John 3:5 He had spoken of a man being born "of water and of the Spirit": here the "water" comes down from God—cf. John 3:3 margin, "born From above." In John 4:14 He says, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Here the "water" springs up to God, reaching out to the Source from whence it came. But in John 7:38 He says, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Here the "water" flows forth for God in blessing to others. (Exposition of the Gospel of John-Christ in the temple)
S D Gordon - Choked Channels - There is another kind of Christian, an utterly different kind, spoken of and illustrated in this same Gospel of John, and I doubt not many of them also are here. It is Jesus' ideal of what a Christian should be. Have you sometimes wished you could have a few minutes of quiet talk with Jesus? I mean face to face, as two of us might sit and talk together. You have thought you would ask Him to say very simply and plainly just what He expects of you. Well, I believe He would answer in words something like those of this seventh chapter of John. It was at the time of Feast of Tabernacles. There was a vast multitude of Jews there from all parts of the world. It was like an immense convention, but larger than any convention we know. The people were not entertained in the homes, but lived for seven days in leafy booths made of branches of trees. It was the last day of the feast. There was a large concourse of people gathered in one of the temple areas; not women, but men; not sitting, but standing. Up yonder stand the priests, pouring water out of large jars, to symbolize the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the nation of Israel. Just then Jesus speaks, and amid the silence of the intently watching throng His voice rings out: "If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink; he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) Mark that significant closing clause. That packs into a sentence Jesus' ideal of what a true Christian down in this world should be, and may be. Every word is full of meaning. The heart of the sentence is in the last word "water." Water is an essential of life. Absence of water means suffering and sickness, dearth and death. Plenty of good water means life. All the history of the world clusters about the water courses. Study the history of the rivers, the seashores, and lake edges, and you know the history of the earth. Those men who heard Jesus speak would instinctively think of the Jordan. It was their river. Travelers say that no valley exceeded in beauty and fruitfulness that valley of the Jordan, made so by those swift waters. No hillside so fair in their green beauty, nor so wealthy in heavy loads of fruit as those sloping down to the edge of that stream. Now Jesus is plainly talking of something that may, through us, exert as decided an influence upon the lives of those we touch as water has exerted, and still exerts, on the history of the earth, and as this Jordan did in that wonderful, historic Palestine. Mark the quantity of water—"rivers." Not a Jordan merely, that would be wonderful enough, but Jordans—as Jordan, and a Nile, and a Euphrates, a Yang Tse Kiang, and an Olga and a Rhine, a Seine and a Thames, and a Hudson and an Ohio—"rivers." Notice, too, the kind of water. Like this racing, turbulent, muddy Jordan? No, no! "Rivers of living water," "water of life, clear as crystal." You remember in Ezekiel's vision which we read together that the waters constantly increased in depth, and that everywhere they went there was healing, and abundant life, and prosperity, and beauty, and food, and a continual harvest the year round, and all because of the waters of the river. They were veritable waters of life. (Ezek 47:1-12)
Now mark that little, but very significant, phrase "Out of"‚—not into, but "out of." All the difference in the lives of men lies in the difference between these two expressions. "Into" is the world's preposition. Every stream turns in; and that means a dead sea. Many a man's life is simply the coast line of a dead sea. "Out of" is the Master's word. His thought is of others. The stream must flow in, and must flow through, if it is to flow out, but it is judged by its direction, and Jesus would turn it outward. There must be good connections upward, and a clear channel inward, but the objective point is outward toward a parched earth. But before it can flow out it must fill up. An outflow in this case means an overflow. There must be a flooding inside before there can be a flowing out. And let the fact be carefully marked that it is only the overflow from the fullness within our own lives that brings refreshing to anyone else. A man praying at a conference in England for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit said: "Oh Lord, we can't hold much, but we can overflow lots." That is exactly the Master's thought. "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
Do you remember that phrase in the third chapter of Joshua—"For Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest." When there was a flood in the river, there was a harvest in the land. Has there been a harvest in your life? A harvest of the fruit of the spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering; a harvest of souls? "No," do you say, "not much of a harvest, I am afraid," or it may be your heart says "none at all." Is it hard to tell why? Has there been a flood-tide in your heart, a filling up from above until the blessed stream had to find an outlet somewhere, and produce a harvest? A harvest outside means a rising of the tide inside. A flooding of the heart always brings a harvest in the life. A few years ago there were great floods in the southern states, and the cotton and corn crops following were unprecedented. Paul reminded his Roman friends that when the Holy Spirit has free swing in the life "the love of God floods our hearts." (Rom. 5:5)
Please notice, too, the source of the stream—"out of his belly." Will you observe for a moment the rhetorical figure here? I used to suppose it meant "out of his heart." The ancients, you remember, thought the heart lay down in the abdominal region. But you will find that this book is very exact in its use of words. The blood is the life. The heart pumps, but the stomach makes it. The seat of life is not in the heart, but in the stomach. If you will take down a book of physiology, and find the chart showing the circulation of the blood, you will see a wonderful network of lines spreading out in every direction, but all running, through lighter lines into heavier, and still blacker, until every line converges in the great stomach artery. And everywhere the blood goes there is life. Now turn to a book of physical geography and get a map showing the water system of some great valley like the Mississippi, and you will find a striking reproduction of the other chart. And if you will shut your eyes and imagine the reality back of that chart, you will see hundreds of cool, clear springs flowing successively into runs, brooks, creeks, larger streams, river branches, rivers, and finally into the great river—the reservoir of all. And everywhere the waters go there is life. The only difference between these two streams of life is in the direction. The blood flows from the largest toward the smallest; the water flows from the smallest toward the largest. Both bring life with its accompaniments of beauty and vigor and fruitfulness. There is Jesus' picture of the Christian down in the world. As the red stream flows out from the stomach, and, propelled by the force-pump of the heart through a marvelous network of minute rivers, takes life to every part of the body, so "he that believeth on Me"—that is the vital connecting link with the great origin of this stream of life—out of the very source of life within him shall go a flood-tide of life, bringing refreshing, and cleansing, and beauty, and vigor everywhere within the circle of his life, even though, like the red streams and the water streams, he be unconscious of it. An Unlikely Channel. What a marvelous conception of the power of life! How strikingly it describes Jesus' own earthly life. But there is something more marvelous still—He means that ideal to become real in you, my friend, and in me. I doubt not there are some here whose eager hearts are hungry for just such a life, but who are tremblingly conscious of their own weakness. Your thoughts are saying: "I wish I could live such a life, but certainly this is not for, this man talking doesn't know me—no special talent or opportunity; such strong tides of temptation that sweep me clean off my feet—not for me." Ah, my friend, I verily believe you are the very one the Master had in mind, for He had John put into his gospel a living illustration of this ideal of His that goes down to the very edge of human unlikeliness and inability. He goes down to the lowest so as to include all. What proved true in this case may prove true with you, and much more. The story is in the fourth chapter. It is a sort of advance page of the Book of Acts. A sample of the power of Pentecost—before the day of Pentecost. You and I live on the flood-side of Pentecost. This illustration belongs back where the streams had only just commenced trickling. It is a miniature. You and I furnish the life-size if we will. It is the story of a woman; not a man, but a woman. One of the weaker sex, so called. She was ignorant, prejudiced, and without social standing. She was a woman of no reputation. Aye, worse than that, of bad reputation. She probably had less moral influence in her town than any one here has in his circle. Could a more unlikely person have been used? But she came in touch with the Lord Jesus. She yielded herself to that touch. There lies the secret of what follows. That contact radically changed her. She went back to her village and commenced speaking about Jesus to those she knew. She could not preach; she simply told plainly and earnestly what she knew and believed about Him. And the result is startling. There are hundreds of ministers who are earnestly longing for what came so easily to her. What modern people call a revival began at once. We are told in the simple language of the Gospel record that "many believed on Him because of the word of the woman." They had not seen Jesus yet. He was up by the well. They were down in the village. She was an ignorant woman, of formerly sinful life. But there is the record of the wonderful result of her simple witnessing—they believed on Jesus because of the word of that woman. There is only one way to account for such results. Only the Holy Spirit speaking through her lips could have produced them. She had commenced drinking of the living water of which Jesus had been talking to her, and now already the rivers were flowing out to others. What Jesus did with her, He longs to do with you, and far more, if you will let Him; though his plan for using you may be utterly different from the one He had for her, and so the particular results may differ too. Now let me ask very frankly why do we not have such power for our Master as she? The Master's plan is plain. He said: "Ye shall have power." But so many of us do not have power! Why not? Well, possibly some of us are like Nicodemus—there is no power because of timidity, cowardice, fear of what they will think, or say. Possibly some of us are in the same condition spiritually that Lazarus was in physically; we are tied up tight—hands and feet and face. Some sin. some compromise, some hushing of that inner voice, something wrong. Some little thing, you may say. Humph! as though anything could be little that is wrong! Sin is never little!
A Clogged Channel. Out in Colorado they tell of a little town nestled down at the foot of some hills—a sleepy-hollow village. You remember the rainfall is very slight out there, and they depend much upon irrigation. But some enterprising citizens ran a pipe up the hills to a lake of clear, sweet water. As a result the town enjoyed a bountiful supply of water the year round without being dependent upon the doubtful rainfall. And the population increased and the place had quite a western boom. One morning the housewives turned the water spigots, but no water came. There was some sputtering. There is apt to be noise when there is nothing else. The men climbed the hill. There was the lake full as ever. They examined around the pipes as well as possible, but could find no break. Try as they might, they could find no cause for the stoppage. And as days grew into weeks, people commenced moving away again, the grass grew in the streets, and the prosperous town was going back to its old sleepy condition when one day one of the town officials received a note. It was poorly written, with bad spelling and grammar, but he never cared less about writing or grammar than just then. It said in effect: "Ef you'll jes pull the plug out of the pipe about eight inches from the top you'll get all the water you want." Up they started for the top of the hill, and examining the pipe, found the plug which some vicious tramp had inserted. Not a very big plug, just big enough to fill the pipe. It is surprising how large a reservoir of water can be held back by how small a plug. Out came the plug; down came the water freely; by and by back came prosperity again. Why is there such a lack of power in our lives? The reservoir up yonder is full to overflowing, with clear, sweet, life-giving water. And here all around us the earth is so dry, so thirsty, cracked open, huge cracks like dumb mouths asking mutely for what we should give. And the connecting pipes between the reservoir above and the parched plain below are there. Why then do not the refreshing waters come rushing down? The answer is very plain. You know why. There is a plug in the pipe. Something in us is clogging up the channel and nothing can get through. How shall we have power, abundant, life-giving, sweetening our own lives, and changing those we touch? The answer is easy for me to give—it will be much harder for us all to do—pull out the plug. Get out the thing that you know is hindering! I am going to ask every one who will, to offer this simple prayer—and I am sure every thoughtful, earnest man and woman here will. Just bow your head and quietly under your breath say to Him: "Lord Jesus, show me what there is in my life that is displeasing to Thee; what there is Thou wouldst change." You may be sure He will. He is faithful. He will put His finger on that tender spot very surely. Then add a second clause to that prayer—"By Thy grace helping me, I will put it out whatever it may cost, or wherever it may cut." Shall we bow our heads and offer that prayer, and hew close to that line, steadily, faithfully? It will open up a life of marvelous blessing undreamed of for you and everyone you touch. (S D Gordon - Quiet Talks on Power - Choked Channels)
Vance Havner - "If Any Man Thirst" - "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. "But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified."—John 7:37-39, R.V.
OUR Lord was at the feast of tabernacles. It is very likely that He had just been observing a peculiar ceremony which was a custom at that time. It seems that each day a priest with a golden pitcher went to the pool of Siloam followed by a throng of people. Filling the pitcher at the pool, he bore it down the streets amid the shouting and singing of the multitude and the sound of trumpets and cymbals. When he reached the temple he poured out the water by the altar while all the people sang, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3-note). It was such a hilarious occasion that, according to Lightfoot, it was said, "Whoever has not witnessed it has never seen rejoicing at all."
Doubtless our Lord had just witnessed this ceremony and, although it was very impressive, He must have been struck with the futility of it all. For, although these jubilant multitudes sang and shouted and went into raptures, after it all was over they went home with their same old heartaches and cares and fears. Then, too, it was a perfect picture of the fact that the law, represented by the priest, and legalism and religiousness and ceremony, represented by the pouring out of the water, could never assuage the thirst of the human heart. And more than that, it symbolized the utter inability of the waters of earth, its pleasures and possessions and philosophies, to satisfy the weary soul. Men might make great ado over these things, might for the moment rejoice in them, but always they must go away thirsty, because they have forsaken the fountain of living waters and hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13).
But there stood among the throngs on this feast day One Who could satisfy the thirsty soul. While the worshippers sang, "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation," little did they realize that the fulfilment of that prophecy stood among them! And now, with the vivid contrast of the water-pouring ceremony before Him, the Lord Jesus did a most unusual thing, He stood and cried aloud to the throngs around Him. "He stood and cried" —very rarely is that phrase used of our Lord. "He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets" (Matthew 12:19), but here He went out of the ordinary, did the exceptional thing of standing, probably in some elevated position, and crying aloud to the multitude. Why did He do it? Because He had something exceptional and extraordinary to say! His soul had been moved within Him by the vain ceremony of the feast day and now He sets Himself against the hollow observance of the empty pitcher and cries, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink! He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water!"
It is as though He cried: "Ah, you thirst for something, you know not what. These hollow ceremonies, these ecstasies of the flesh, these empty pitchers from Siloam, these waters of earth can never satisfy. Come unto me and drink and I will give you living waters which shall become in you fountains of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14), and rivers of water forever overflowing. 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters' (Isaiah 55:1). 'Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely'" (Revelation 22:17).
Nineteen centuries have gone their way, and today a thirsting world still hews its broken cisterns and seeks in poured-out waters of Siloam living waters that fail not. Ponce de Leon still looks for the fountain of youth. Modern fads and isms, psychologic tricks and philosophic cure-alls—these are golden pitchers from Siloam which are soon poured out. And what shall we say of thousands who go through all the motions of religion, even grow ecstatic like these Jews at the feast, yet go away unsatisfied as ever? Amidst it all stands One Who is the Bread of Life, Who invites the labouring and the laden to come unto Him and rest (John 6:35; Matthew 11:28). Whosoever lives and believes in Him shall never die (John 11:26). In Him, though the outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day (II Corinthians 4:16). He is the soul's fountain of youth. If any man thirst, let him come unto Him and drink and he shall have within himself a fountain of living waters overflowing in torrents of blessing.
That, of course, is the first application of this precious passage—Christ's invitation to a lost world. But I am thinking now of another situation painfully evident today: thousands of Christians, believers, saved people, whose actual, daily experience is more like the emptied pitcher from Siloam than it is like the living fountain with its rivers of water. As I go about over the land, I am continually meeting preachers grieved over a defective experience, who are convinced that they have missed something and that surely there must be more in the filling of the Spirit than they have ever understood. They are good men, able men, devout men, but many of them seem to have stopped short of that utter abandon in which men lose themselves to become blazing firebrands for God, flaming torches by which He sets on fire a smug and sanctimonious church and awakens to burning conviction a sleeping world. Some are willing to miss a blessing rather than give up a prejudice, but others are worried and deeply conscious that their fire is not Pentecostal fire but painted fire which does not burn!
I am continually meeting Christians whose experience is like getting all of a story except the point. Like the Jews at the feast, they have a happy day once in a while when they "scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright," but these are few and far between and soon "a sense of things real comes doubly strong." After one of his sermons, Andrew Murray asked a very pious woman, "How are you going on?" Her answer was, "Oh, just the way it always is, sometimes light and sometimes dark." "My dear sister," he asked, "where is that in the Bible?" She said, "We have day and night in nature, and just so it is in our souls." "No, no," he replied, "in the Bible we read, 'Thy sun shall no more go down.'" But most believers today live in an eclipse.
Naturally, all this shows up in the fellowship of believers. Our churches go forth often, like Samson, to shake themselves, as at other times before, and know not that the power of the Lord in fulness of blessing has departed. There is no listening for the sound of a going in the mulberry trees. Having begun in the Spirit, they would perfect themselves in the flesh. Instead of more power, more wheels are added to the machine. There is no ministering to the Lord and fasting, so the Spirit has nothing to say. There being no devotion, there is no Dynamic and no direction. There is nothing about the average Christian or church to remind one of rivers of living water issuing from a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Indeed, one is reminded more of the occasional pouring out of water from the golden pitcher filled at Siloam.
It is plainly stated here that our Lord spoke of the Holy Spirit, so the whole difficulty today lies in a failure rightly to appreciate and appropriate the fulness of the Spirit. It is interesting to note that many of these thirsty Christians today have been much taught if not well taught; they have studied the Word carefully, have prayed earnestly, have sought deeper blessing, have gone from Bible conference to Bible conference, returning home in the fall laden with notebooks crammed with epigrams from teachers galore. I fear that altogether too many have "eagerly frequented doctor and saint, and heard great argument about it and about, but evermore have come out the same door wherein they went." Some have "surrendered" dozens of times; have followed Andrew Murray's "steps" for the blessing; have "claimed the blessing," and then tried to believe they had it, meanwhile driving off the fowls from the offering, like Abraham, until God should send the witness of the burning lamp. They have tried not to confuse the filling with the feeling, but after months or years they still do not wear the garments of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness, and many break down in defeatism or else move into extremist circles. (And right here remember the words of a mighty man of God of the last generation: "It were almost better for one to overstate the possibilities of sanctification in his eager grasp after holiness, than to understate them in his complacent satisfaction with a traditional unholiness. Certainly it is not an edifying spectacle to see a Christian worlding throwing stones at a Christian perfectionist.")
Now, it is evident that if our Lord meant for us to be living fountains sending forth torrents of living water then we have no business standing along Jordan's stormy banks casting wishful eyes toward Canaan's fair and happy land, where our possessions lie. We ought to be dwelling over there in that blessed experience which the saints have called, "the rest of faith," "perfect love," "the Spirit-filled life," "the victorious life," or "Christian perfection." On this feast day the Lord invited us to the fulness of the Spirit as well as to salvation, and it behooves us rightly to appreciate and appropriate what is here set forth.
We recognize, of course, that when we come to the Lord Jesus Christ at conversion and receive Him, the Holy Spirit indwells our hearts from regeneration. We know also that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost once for all. But here we believe with A. J. Gordon, that "it does not follow that every believer has by faith received that baptism. God's gift is one thing; our appropriation of that gift is quite another thing. As Christ, the second Person of the Godhead, came to earth to make atonement for sin and to give eternal life, and as sinners we must receive Him by faith in order to forgiveness and sonship, so the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, came to earth to communicate the 'power from on high'; and we must as believers in like manner receive Him by faith in order to be qualified for service. Both gifts have been bestowed, but it is not what we have but what we know we have by a conscious, appropriating faith which determines our spiritual wealth."
The baptism of the Spirit is ours positionally, but, alas, what is ours positionally is not always our actual condition. It is one thing to have the blessing as our right and privilege, but quite another to be blessed experimentally. The average Christian is so ignorant of, or indifferent to, the filling of the Spirit that when he does realize and receive fulness of power, it truly is a second blessing to him, second only to regeneration. Said McConkey: "There is a fulness of the Holy Ghost which does not come to most Christians at conversion and, therefore, is, in point of time, a second blessing." And Dr. James M. Gray makes it clear: "I believe that the second work of grace.. is a later crisis in the history of the believer, when he comes to realize the need of a holier life and a deeper experience of Christ. He then surrenders himself as a Christian to Christ more fully than he has yet done and comes into the Spirit to which he has been a stranger theretofore. It is the privilege of every believer to have this experience at the moment of his acceptance of Christ as Saviour and some do enter into its enjoyment then. Many do not, however, and when it comes to them, if it does, they regard it as a second work of grace and a baptism of the Holy Spirit."
In our zeal to escape false doctrines of a "second blessing" most Christians, we fear, have gone too far and denied any need of crisis or deeper experience in the life of the believer, except a gradual growth in grace. Now, for believers who recognized and appropriated the filling of the Spirit at conversion and who are being filled continually that is sufficient. But very few have done that, and, besides, it has been asked with real insight: "If we conceive of the Christian life as only a gradual growth in grace, is there not a danger that we come to regard this growth as both invisible and inevitable and so take little responsibility for its accomplishment?"
Many arguments have been employed against this experience, even by established Christians. The subjective aspect of just yielding and receiving has taken the place of the old emphasis our fathers placed on being overwhelmed with power coming down. The mighty old-fashioned down-crashing floods of power that inundated and submerged waiting saints have been ignored in favour of a rather tame and pale "receiving" that fails somehow to receive. Some say we are not to pray for power. If that is true, then the mighty men of God through the ages have been mistaken. Others contend that we do violence to the personality of the Holy Spirit in speaking of being filled as though He were like electricity. We can say only that "filled" is the New Testament word.
And what shall we say of the testimony of history? Think of George Fox, lying for days in a trance, and coming through to a new experience; Wesley and Whitefield praying until three in the morning, when the Spirit fell in great power; Christmas Evans convicted of a cold heart while on his way to preach and led to pray until his heart thawed out like the breaking up of a hard winter, and going on to preach with power, so that a gracious revival began and swept the country roundabout. Think of Burns of Kilsyth saying to his mother after a night of prayer, "God has given me Kilsyth today," and going forth to reap souls not only in Kilsyth but in all Scotland and in Inland China. And what shall we say of Finney who saw the Lord and then, set burning with the heavenly flame, moved out into a ministry of evangelism so marvelous that I am astounded that few Christians today seem to know anything of this giant of the Gospel. One thinks of the Moravians at Herrnhut, of A. J. Gordon in his midnight prayer meeting with George Needham, of Moody receiving such a blessing that he had to ask God to stay His hand, and testifying of it later: "I would not be back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me all the world—it would be as the small dust of the balance." Say what you will, these men knew a day of crisis and, although salvation dated from an earlier day, mighty power for service dated from this day. When one reads the story of these powerful fountains of living water, he is more than ever impressed with the thought that most of us today are strangely like pitchers from Siloam! It ill becomes us dwarfs to differ with such giants of yesterday.
Well does F. B. Meyer ask us: "Are we experimentally possessed of the Pentecostal enduement? Are we willing to pay the price of it?" Pentecost is on the church calendar but it is not the churches' condition. Moody declared in Boston: "See how He came on the day of Pentecost! It is not carnal to pray that He may come again and that the place may be shaken. I believe that Pentecost was but a specimen day. I think the Church made this woeful mistake that Pentecost was a miracle never to be repeated. I have thought, too, that Pentecost was a miracle never to be repeated. I believe now, if we looked on Pentecost as a specimen day and began to pray, we should have the old Pentecostal fire here in Boston." Now some of us may find fault with Moody's viewpoint, but remember he lived in Pentecost!
It was to this fulness of the Spirit that our Lord invited us on the great feast day: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water." You will observe that our Lord sets forth here a simple process, a fivefold experience of thirsting, coming, drinking, believing and overflowing. If we are suffering from a defective experience of the Spirit it is because somewhere along that fivefold experience we have failed to appreciate or appropriate His Word.
Indeed, it is easy to see that most of us have failed at the very outset of this matter,—"IF ANY MAN THIRST." God has promised, "I will pour out water upon him that is thirsty" (Isaiah 44:3), but who is thirsty? I talk with Christians who say they want more power and joy and peace and victory. But within a few minutes they have changed to some other subject, and soon some other topic is being discussed, and one feels that the fulness of the Spirit is, with them, just one of a variety of themes for polite after-dinner conversation. We poor Americans have become so shallow and superficial along all lines that we never really go deeply into any matter; we flit like butterflies from subject to subject, and never even in dreams have seen the things which are more excellent.
"IF ANY MAN THIRST------" Just wanting a drink of water is not thirsting. We know nothing about thirst here in a land with water on tap at our elbows. Dr. Torrey tells us that he knew nothing of thirst until he was with soldiers of the Spanish-American war in camp, where dust filled the air day and night and where, as he put it, they ate dust, drank dust, slept dust and dreamed dust, and there was no water anywhere fit to drink. Again, he was in China when cholera was raging and he could drink no water on the boat, but drank soft drinks as long as he dared, then lay all night suffering with thirst and thinking of his well at Northfield, far away. Ask some missionary to tell you what thirst is, when every pore of the body cries, "Water, water, water;" when the desert seems to be inside of you, and the lips swell, and every desire, hope and thought is just concentrated in one burning fever for a cooling drink. That is thirst, not just a casual, ordinary, normal inclination to drink water.
Do we know anything about that sort of spiritual thirst? Has your soul ever panted after the fulness of His Spirit as the hart pants after the water brooks? We are inclined nowadays to discount the agonies of the John Bunyans of another day who were so consumed with a vehement thirst for deeper blessing that food lost its taste and sleep could not be had. A more comfortable route to Beulah land has been discovered, but it is doubtful that men fully appreciate the blessedness of living in the eighth chapter of Romans who have not fully realized the bitterness of living in the seventh. It is true that some of these godly men of old unduly neglected the flesh, but we have unduly pampered the flesh, and it is clearly evident on all sides that a shallow thirst has brought a shallow satisfaction. It is quite true that God puts no special value on tears and all-night prayers and fastings, but He does reward a thirst so intense that time and food are forgotten and tears are not repressed. Very few Christians rejoice today with the deep joy of salvation, because they a have never been deeply conscious of sin and, consequently, have no profound sense of deliverance. And it is just as true that few rejoice in fulness of the Spirit because, feeling self-sufficient, they have never known desperate thirst,—and one must thirst deeply to drink deeply. "I will pour water upon HIM THAT IS THIRSTY." Deep desire is followed by deep delight.
We live in a soft generation that lives on the surface and feeds at ethical soda fountains and spiritual delicatessen shops. If we are ever to know the profound, mountain-moving, soul-stirring torrents of living water surging upward into everlasting life, we must go deeper than pink-tea conversation and academic hair-splitting over theories of the baptism and filling of the Holy Ghost. We must join the company of men dreadfully, even though sometimes dismally, in earnest; who wrestled at Jabbok and came away with shrunken sinews but also as princes of God having power with God and men. The way to a personal and experimental Pentecost is not by a shallow and superficial prayer-meeting request for more power, easily uttered and soon forgotten; it is the road of a burning and blistering thirst that will not be denied; that importunes in spite of the mockery of feelings and the misunderstanding of friends and the misery of doubt and deadness and dulness until loaves have been granted from heaven and we have been set on fire to burn up for God. This road is not easy nor popular, and shorter cuts have been devised for those who will not pay the price; but, just as he who has forgiven most loved most, he who has thirsted most has been most deeply filled, and the fuller the fountain the mightier the rivers of living water that issue forth in torrents of blessing.
Pray, therefore, first of all, for a genuine thirst and a holy heartburn such as struck the Emmaus disciples of old; and look diligently into the mirror of the Word and wait patiently before the Lord that the Spirit may show you yourself in your awful need, your heart in its exceeding sinfulness, your life in its emptiness—that you may burn in raging fever and thirst for Him in His fulness.
Only then are you ready for the next move: "If any man thirst, LET HIM COME UNTO ME." There must be a drawing near unto the Lord, not only in prayer, but in utter and absolute surrender. Everything that offends must be renounced, and we must lay all we are and have at His disposal. Not only must all be surrendered but abandoned—for surrender is not abandon, we do not always leave with Him what we commit to Him. We must be sure that we seek His blessing not for personal enjoyment, not just to boast about it, but for power in service. Just as wives often pray for the conversion of husbands not to the glory of God but only that they may have better husbands, so believers pray for fulness of the Spirit and have not because they ask amiss, that they may consume it on their lusts.
Now this matter of consecration, or surrender, or yielding, is one of those favourite topics of Christian conversation, part of that coinage of our speech which has grown familiar with much exchange, and yet, for all the handling, few of us examine it closely or know what image and superscription it bears. Christians march glibly to the front in our churches to "lay all on the altar" just as sinners file forward nowadays to "accept Christ," and then complain for the rest of their lives that they cannot see that it made any difference. It is no wonder! The depths have never been stirred, and so the depths have not been filled! We recognize that consecration as well as conversion outwardly may be manifested as quietly as an autumn sunset, but when one follows up the results of hundreds of public confessions and consecrations nowadays, he wishes there had been more noise. For all the sermons about the still, small voice, it is also well to remember that the Acts of the Apostles who turned the world upside down is not exactly what one would call a quiet book!
Coming to the Lord Jesus Christ in utter surrender and abandon for fulness of the Spirit is a profound experience that is second only to conversion, and it is amazing how men can profess it with far less concern than they go forward to receive a college diploma or marry a wife. Many who claim to follow Him are of the mixed multitude and soon turn back (Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4). Some are soon drawn away because of the uncounted cost, the unburied corpse and the unforsaken circle (Luke 9:57-62). Our Lord does not commit Himself to such, for He knows what is in man (John 2:23-25). Others "rededicate their lives," but the "high places" are not removed (I Kings 15:14). Among others, the bushel of business and the bed of pleasure have not been taken from the candle of testimony (Mark 4:21). In one way or another, superficial. Christians come in shallow consecration, but they cannot drink deeply because, being still partly full of self, they cannot be completely filled with Him!
The whole matter goes back again to "IF ANY MAN THIRST." There is no way around that "if." Let a man thirst for water deeply enough and he will gladly renounce anything else for a drink. LET A MAN CRAVE THE FULNESS OF THE SPIRIT DEEPLY ENOUGH AND HE WILL GLADLY MAKE FULL SURRENDER. But this he must do, he must be emptied of all else to drink deeply of the Spirit.
And now the thirsting and the coming are followed by the drinking: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me AND DRINK." Right here many earnest seekers grow sadly confused. We are so confirmed in the "seeing-is-believing" viewpoint that it is not easy for faith to receive what sight does not first perceive. Anyone who has experienced conversion, receiving Christ by faith for salvation, ought have no difficulty with this further step. Just as we receive the Saviour for forgiveness and sonship, just so do we receive the Holy Spirit for power in service. Of course, the Spirit came at Pentecost in a special sense at the beginning of the dispensation. Also, He regenerates the believer and indwells Him (John 3:5, 6; I Corinthians 6:19), and by the Spirit we are baptized into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13). The filling of the Spirit has been provided and should be ours from the very outset, but what is ours by provision is not always ours in conscious possession. Therefore, the Christian who, although saved, is conscious of lack of power and peace and joy must definitely appropriate the Spirit, receive the power, drink of the living water, just as he received Christ for salvation.
The Scriptures speak of being "baptized" with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5), "filled" with the Spirit (Acts 2:4; 4:31), of the Holy Ghost "falling" upon believers (Acts 10:44) and "coming" upon them (Acts 19:6), and of believers "receiving" the Spirit (Acts 8:17). Good men have differed greatly about the meaning of these terms. It has been pointed out that baptism is the act and the filling the result, just as a cup is filled when it is immersed. As usual, Christians have argued over the expressions more than they have enjoyed the experience. Just as we speak of regeneration as the work of God, and believing as the "under side"—our side of regeneration—so the experience of the Spirit's fulness is spoken of as a falling upon or coming upon believers from above, while the believer's part is, of course, the receiving. We cannot afford to minimize either side. There is much teaching today about "claiming promises" that would have us easily take what we want and go lightly along imagining we have it, only to realize down the road that we are acting a sort of glorified auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis. The emphasis is upon the subjective and not enough attention is paid God's side, the tremendous overwhelming from above. Many teachers discredit long prayers and waitings before the Lord, failing to see that, although sometimes they are false exercises, they are necessary to humble and quiet the believer before God and do indicate a real thirst. It is natural that this generation, not disposed to "wait" for anything, should prefer a quicker way to get the blessing with the least amount of trouble. But such short cuts tend to magnify the human side and obscure the stupendous truth that this blessing is God overwhelming men and submerging them in His flood tides of power, by which we become not mere pitchers to be filled but fountains sending forth torrents of living water. And the results of this teaching are evident today in rather tame experiences which, for all their receiving, seem poor products of Pentecost.
But it is also possible so to think of this blessing as a coming-down from above that men expect God to do it all, and so they wait and pray for what they should receive. When one genuinely thirsts, and has come to the Lord in utter surrender and abandon, and has waited until the depths have been sounded and the soul quieted, then we must drink, faith must appropriate the Spirit's filling. "Drink" is not passive, it is something we are to do. The thirsting man might contemplate and appreciate water set before him, might wait before it for "something to happen," but the next thing to happen is for him to drink. Here earnest seekers have lost sleep and fasted and beaten their heads on the floor, even as Whitefield lived for some time on sage tea without sugar, and coarse bread, and prayed one night under a tree in the coldest weather, and practiced severe austerities in vain until he learned to look unto Christ. Others have fancied that they must have rare experiences like Finney, with waves of feeling like electricity sweeping hungry nerves, and so have dictated terms to the Lord. All this is beside the point. There must come that definite moment of contact when faith takes what the eye cannot see. It takes both giving and receiving to complete the gift. All God's giving without our receiving would be an incomplete transaction. To come to Christ and drink, therefore, is to receive, after the antecedent conditions have been met—the filling of the Spirit as provided and promised in the Word. It should be a fixed and definite step at a certain hour and moment, a clear-cut act of faith regardless of feeling.
Dr. Torrey waited for days in his study until the Lord spoke to his heart, "The blessing is yours. Now go and preach." Dr. Len G. Broughton tells of attending a convention after he entered the ministry and was convicted of powerlessness. Invited to come forward to kneel and surrender wholly to Christ and by faith accept the blessing, he went and received. A friend asked how he felt. "I didn't ask for feeling," he replied, "I was asking for the Holy Spirit." "How do you know you have anything more than you have had?" "I know it," he said, "just as I know I have Christ; I know it by faith." He had gone for filling, not feeling, and he received.
On this feast day our Lord not only invited us to drink, but said further: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water." "He that believeth on me" applies first of all, of course, to the initial faith in Christ for salvation, but it is also the secret of the Spirit-filled life. We are not only to drink of Christ in one initial filling of the Spirit but we are to drink and keep on drinking—"being filled with the Spirit"—and that is done by faith that continuously believes on Him and looks unto Him. Christ lives in the believer, and this life is lived "by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20).
Here is the supreme difficulty with earnest seekers after the fulness of the Spirit. Many have thirsted, have come to the Lord, have surrendered, have received the Spirit's filling, yet they dolefully lament that they see no difference; it did not last, the peace and power have departed. The reason is evident: they drank but they have not kept on drinking. "He that believeth on me" means more than believing on Him for the first filling; it means a continuous believing, an off-looking unto Jesus day by day. The rivers of living water are not flowing because the fountain of the heart is clogged and choked with doubt. "YET BELIEVING, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8). "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" (John 11:40).
Right at this point we fail to walk by faith and try to walk by sight. For a few days after receiving the blessing it is easy usually to walk in the light of the new experience. But soon one is struck with a dull mood; he may withdraw something that has been committed, or fail to obey on some point; he may look away from Jesus to his own feelings, circumstances, problems; he may have expected one filling to carry him through; he may become self-centered and seek merely to enjoy the blessing instead of overflowing in blessing to others. At any rate, crisis is not followed by continuance, and we forget that the same faith which appropriates the blessing at the outset keeps on drinking, so that the fountain keeps on springing up and overflowing in torrents of living water.
Our Lord said to the woman at Jacob's well: "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). We are accustomed to speak of ourselves as empty vessels, to be filled each day with the Spirit, but that is not Scriptural. We are not empty pitchers to be refilled each morning: we are fountains that should evermore be springing up and overflowing, and our part is not to come empty each morning to be filled, but so to abide in Him by faith that we shall continually, night and day, be active channels of His Spirit. We are empty only as we allow the heart to be choked with sin, so that the stream cannot flow. It is not service that exhausts our power so that we need replenishing; sin clogs the inflow and needs to be removed. We are never emptied because of the outflow of blessing but because of trouble with the inflow of power.
So, as we drink and keep on drinking by believing on Him, there is the blessed experience of overflowing: "From within him shall flow rivers of living water." This, our Lord said, is according to what the Scriptures had said. There is no such statement given verbatim in the Old Testament, but the blessed figure of the well-watered life runs throughout. "I will pour out my spirit upon you" (Proverbs 1:23). "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters" (Song of Solomon 4:15). "I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water" (Isaiah 41:18). "I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43:19). "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring" (Isaiah 44:3). "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isaiah 58:11). "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh" (Joel 2:28).
Certainly the Scriptures describe for us a life continually-well watered and abundant, a fountain springing up and overflowing. But when one looks around at most Christian lives, he sees not gardens with waters that fail not, but dried-up and unproductive hearts living in a spiritual drought, with only occasional showers of blessing, perhaps at the annual revival. In the Acts it was surprising to meet believers who were NOT filled with the Spirit (19:1-7); now it is a surprise to meet a believer who IS filled with the Spirit!
And where is that exuberant joy of those who draw water from the wells of salvation? If these Jews at the feast could so rejoice over a hollow ceremony of pouring out water from Siloam that it was said "whoever has not witnessed it has never seen rejoicing at all," how hilarious should we be who drink of His living water! Leaving our figure of water for a moment, it is interesting to note that three times in the New Testament wine and the Holy Spirit are spoken of in the same connection. John the Baptist was not to drink wine but to be filled with the Spirit (Luke 1:15); the Spirit-filled believers at Pentecost were accused of being full of new wine (Acts 2:13); we are exhorted, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). Wine changes the face, the walk, the talk, creates a commotion, and stimulates to hilarity, though it be a false joy; but the Holy Spirit fires the soul with heavenly wine and produces a holy hilarity. Immediately after reading in Ephesians, "Be filled with the Spirit" we read, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (5:19). There is the fountain overflowing with melodious joy!
It must ever be remembered that these rivers of living water must overflow in testimony and service. There is no reference to the blessing of the Spirit in the Bible that is not connected with its practical outflowing for the good of others. So long as this blessing is sought as an end in itself, it never can be obtained, because the purpose of it is to give power for service. It is not a true fountain that keeps its waters within itself and does not overflow. The primary purpose of His infilling is neither to make us holy nor happy, although it does both, but to empower us to testify and serve. If it does not issue in love for souls and testimony and faithful labour for the Lord, it is a false blessing. "Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8, R.V.).
Some think the gift of an evangelist is the mark of every Spirit-filled believer. Some think every one who has received must have a spectacular experience like Finney's, and fall into a trance or see visions. Others expect a certain rush of feeling or ecstasy of joy, and are disappointed when they must go on "dry faith," trusting the plain promise in the Word. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, the Spirit dividing gifts to every man severally, as He will. We are not to dictate to Him the manner of His manifestation. It may take the form of a wonderful joy or a vision. It may issue in a quiet peace. We may see the evidence in new freedom in preaching or testimony, in greater results in soul-winning. There will be a manifestation, you may be sure of that. But ours is to drink and then believe the work is done because of the statement of the Word, leaving God to give the witness when and as He will.
The dissatisfaction so evident among Christians today arises, therefore, from many causes. Some have never really thirsted, so the satisfaction is shallow. Others have thirsted but have not come in utter surrender to the Lord or, if they have, they have not abandoned what has been committed, or else they have withdrawn something that was committed. Others have never taken the definite step of drinking, by faith receiving the filling. With some the fountain has become clogged by disobedience at some point, by failure to read the Word and pray, and by looking away from Christ to self. Others have sought the blessing for personal enjoyment, or have wanted some peculiar manifestation which the Spirit was not pleased to give. And perhaps by far the most have thought that one experience would automatically take care of everything from then on, instead of daily believing on Christ, yielding to Him, abiding in Him, keeping the channel clear so that Spirit may ever well up and out in rivers of living water. There is no experience which will, as if by magic, relieve us of the need of moment-by-moment looking unto Jesus, for then we would not need faith.
If the experience is defective, it is always because somewhere along this road of thirsting, coming, drinking, daily believing and overflowing, there has been neglect or disobedience. The doctrine is true: the defect lies somewhere in the lapse of duty.
Observe, finally, that the Spirit within the believer is "a well of water springing up into everlasting life." Just as Christ in us is but the hope of glory, greater glory to come (Colossians 1:27), and as the Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, foretaste of more to follow (Ephesians 1:14), so the Spirit-filled life ever increases from joy to joy, from power to more power, until it comes to perfection in heaven. "Spiritual life springs up toward its own perfection in eternal life." The Spirit-filled believer abounds more and more, day by day, in holiness and love and testimony and service, ever rising toward the glorious consummation in glory. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).
There is all the difference between this life of conscious power and peace and victory and the cheap "believism" current today,—as much difference as between the pouring out of the water from Siloam and the living waters of the Lord. This is no vague experience of trying to imagine that one has what it is more and more evident that he does not have. Whoever has known vividly this consuming thirst, who has come and received by true faith, not an easy assent to a fact, will find that the Spirit will soon bear witness with his spirit to the reality of the transaction. The confirmation will come: it may not come immediately; it may not come in blinding, dazzling fashion; it may not come in the manner expected or desired; but come it will if we drink and keep on drinking by simple faith in Him. Mind you, we are distinctly promised that we shall not thirst again (John 4:14). If we have received and are still drinking, and the channels are clear, we shall never thirst again. That part of the experience need never be repeated. Meet His simple conditions, and you will be conscious day by day of His Spirit welling up into everlasting life and flowing out in rivers of living water. "Up" and "out," those are the two directions of His power, upward ever toward perfection, outward ever in streams of blessing.
Hear Him Who still stands among the hollow ceremonies of earth, the futile outpourings of water from Siloam, calling, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (The Secret of Christian Joy)
Context is always critical for accurate interpretation in Bible study, but is especially important to set the stage for Jesus' dramatic invitation in John 7:37-39. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the historical and cultural context of the Feast of Booths (Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering, Festival of Shelters, Festival of Tabernacles, Sukkoth, Sukkot). We will begin with the Biblical command to Israel to celebrate this feast and then look at the extra-Biblical descriptions.
In Leviticus 23 Moses records God's commandment to celebrate the Feast of Booths which was to began on the 15th day of Tishri (the 7th month), which was five days after the Day of Atonement…
The Feast of Booths was a memorial ordained by God to help Israel remember how He had graciously and tenderly cared for them during their 40 years of wilderness wandering. In Exodus 16 Israel grumbled against the Lord and He provided them with meat and manna (Ex 16:12-13) to satiate their hunger and water to quench their thirst. In Exodus 17 we read of the Jehovah's provision of water in a no water environment which created a deep physical thirst in the people of Israel…
The dedication of Solomon's Temple took place at the Feast of Tabernacles at which time the Shekinah glory of Jehovah also dramatically appeared. One cannot help but see in these events a foreshadowing of the time when Jesus (Who displayed "glory as of the only begotten from the Father" = Jn 1:14-note) appearing in the Temple area at the Feast of Tabernacles some 900 years later in John 7:37-39!.
Even before the destruction of Solomon's Temple by the Babylonians, the glory of the Jehovah departed from the house of the LORD (Read about this progressive departure in Ezekiel 8-11 - see especially Ezek 8:4, Ezek 9:3, 10:4, Ezek 10:18-19, Ezek 11:22 and the last description of God's glory in Ezek 11:23 = "The glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city." - Click for pictorial description of the departure of the Shekinah Glory). As an aside Ezekiel envisioned not only the departure but also the return of God's glory returning to the Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 43:2-5). However before this will be fulfilled in the future, we note that the glory did return for a brief time in the presence of Jesus (Jn 1:14-note), but Israel "did not recognize the time of their visitation." (Luke 19:44) Jesus' statement in Luke clearly indicates that the nation of Israel (especially the religious leaders) should have been able to discern the time when the Messiah was coming the first time!
After the 70 years of exile in Babylon, a portion of the Jews returned to Jerusalem. At this time Ezra read from the Book of the Law about the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Neh 8:1-11). Read this great section of Scripture, which records the returning exile's great reverence for the Word of God and the impact the Word had on their hearts! O Father, might this to be the Spirit wrought effect in every church, every time the Word of Christ is read and explained! Amen. Indeed, the Word of God is living and active and cutting! Heb 4:12-13.
In Nehemiah 9 after reading "the book of the law of the LORD their God for a fourth of the day" (Neh 9:3), the Levites offered up a long, profound prayer (Neh 9:5-38) of praise to God, including praise for His provision during their wilderness wanderings…
In the NT, Paul explains God's physical provisions in Exodus 16 and Exodus 17 were a foreshadowing of God's spiritual provision in Christ (cp Col 2:16-17) writing
Thus Paul explains that the SMITTEN ROCK in Exodus 17 was in fact a type of Christ, “a SPIRITUAL ROCK which followed Israel; and the ROCK WAS CHRIST.” (1Cor 10:4) Fanny Crosby pictured this NT fulfillment writing "Though my weary steps may falter, And my soul a-thirst may be, Gushing from the ROCK before me, Lo! A Spring of joy I see." Amen! Just as life giving waters flowed from the rock smitten by Moses to quench the thirst of a multitude, the smiting of the rock prefigured the life giving waters that flowed from Christ's pierced side (Jn 19:34-note), providing "LIVING WATER" to many, the Rock Himself declaring that "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (Jn 4:10, 14-note). All who drink of this water may joyfully sing "I've got a river of life flowin' out of me. Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I've got a river of life flowin' out of me. Spring up Oh Well. Within my soul. Spring up Oh Well And make me whole. Spring up Oh Well And give to me That life abundantly." (P. Wickham)
The Jews were required to attend 3 festivals each year, Moses recording that…
Jewish Encyclopedia on etrog - Etrog is the Hebrew name of the citron fruit of a tree of the orange and lemon family… The etrog is used with the "lulab" at the Feast of Booths or Sukkot. Of the four species of plants enumerated in Leviticus 23:40, on which the carrying of the lulab is based, tradition takes "the fruit of splendid trees" (ESV)… to designate the citron… It is evident from Josephus and the Talmud that the custom of carrying the lulab and the etrog was well established in the time of the Maccabees.
Jewish Encyclopedia on lulab - Name given to the festive palm-branch which with the Etrog is carried and waved on the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). The three constituents of the lulab are: (1) a shoot of the palm-tree in its folded state before the leaves are spread out this must be at least three handbreadths long, so that it may be waved, and must be bound round with a twig or tendril of its own kind (2) three twigs of myrtle of the species which has its leaves in whorls of three and (3) two willow-branches of the kind of which the wood is reddish and the leaves are long and entire (Suk. 29b, 32b, 34a). In the Temple… The use of the lulab is closely connected with the reciting of the Hallel (Ps 113-118). In the Second Temple it was waved during the recitation of the passages expressive of thanksgiving or prayer… After the additional sacrifices of the day had been offered the lulab and etrog were carried in procession around the altar in the court while Ps 118:25 ("O LORD, do save, we beseech You; O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!") or the refrain, was chanted… The ordinance of the lulab is derived from Leviticus 23:40 : "And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook: and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days." Aside from the palm-branch and the willows the passage does not specify what shall be used and the interpretation of the "fruit of goodly trees" and the "boughs of thick trees" to mean the etrog and myrtle respectively, as also the precise manner of using the four species, rests on tradition
Sukkot (Festival of Booths ["tabernacles" Leviticus 23:34 Deuteronomy 16:13 ]), lasting seven days, from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the tenth month (Tishri), the first day being a holy convocation. For seven days offerings had to be brought (Numbers 29:13 ), the eighth day being also a holy convocation ("' Aẓ eret" Numbers 29:35 ). Labor ceased on the first and eighth days. This feast was also known as "Ḥ ag ha-Asif" ("the festival of ingathering" Exodus 23:16 ). The celebration was marked by the erection of booths, in which to dwell during seven days, and by the waving of palm-leaves with the fruit of the "' eẓ hadar" ("goodly tree" Leviticus 23:40 ). See Tabernacles, Feast of .
Kent Hughes on the celebration associated with the Feast of Booths - Rabbinical literature tells us that each morning great multitudes would gather at the Temple of Herod. They would come with a citrus fruit in their left hands, known in Hebrew as an etrog. The etrog was a reminder of the land to which God had brought them and of their bountiful blessings. In their right hands the people would carry a lulab, which was a combination of three trees—a palm tree, a willow, and a myrtle, emblematic of the stages of their ancestors’ journey through the wilderness. Each morning the people gathered together, and after the priest was sure everything was in order, he would hold out a golden pitcher. The crowds would then follow the priest to the Pool of Siloam, chanting some of the great Psalms and waving their lulabs in rhythm. As they approached the Pool of Siloam, the priest would dip his pitcher into the water,] and the people would recite some beautiful words from Isaiah 12:3-note: “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Editorial Comment: The Hebrew word for salvation is yeshuah derived from yasha which means to deliver gives us the Greek name "Jesus" = transliteration of Hebrew Yeshua - 03091. And so this sentence could be read: "You will joyously draw water from the springs of Jesus!") Then the crowd would march back to the temple, entering through the Water Gate to the blast of the priests’ trumpets. The priest would then circle the altar once, ascend with accompanying priests to the platform, and pour the water out. This was a daily event.
Isaiah recalls God's kindness and His gracious gift to ungrateful grumblers…
The historian Josephus referred to the Feast of Booths as the holiest and greatest of all the Jewish feasts.
The Jewish writings in the Mishnah help us understand something of the prevalent joyful mood and celebratory atmosphere of the Jews in Jerusalem at the time of this great festival…
So clearly the Feast of Booths was a time of great joy for the Jews in Jerusalem.
Lev 23:36 ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.
Andrew Lincoln - In the first century CE (the Feast of Booths) celebrated the completion of the harvest and was associated with God’s guidance of Israel when the people lived in tents during the wilderness experience at the time of the exodus, but it had also become linked with the salvation God would provide at the eschaton (cf. Zech. 14:16-19)… The chief element in the celebration would have been the making of booths, in which the men slept and ate during the first seven days. On these days there was a procession to the Pool of Siloam to gather water and four large menorahs were set up in the court of the women, providing light to enable the celebrants to dance there through the night. Both the water/rain and the light imagery are taken up in the depiction of eschatological salvation in Zech. 14:6–8, 17. Both kinds of imagery would also have been linked with the provision offered by Torah. Here in John the former will be applied to Jesus in chapter 7 and the latter in chapter 8. The manna or bread, also associated with Torah, has just been depicted in chapter 6 as embodied in Jesus and the thematic sequence of the Christological application of bread, water and light imagery makes sense of the present arrangement of chapters, despite the geographical disruption caused by placing the material of chapter 6 between the Jerusalem controversies in chapters 5 and 7. (The Gospel according to Saint John, Black's New Testament Commentary)
The Hebrew word ṣukkāh is rendered in the King James Version as "booth" or "booths."
Booths (05521)(sukkah from sakak = to weave together) meant a shelter, a hut, a booth or a thicket. Sukkah described temporary shelters for animals (Ge 33:17), soldiers (2Sa 11:11), prophets (Jonah 4:5). In Lev 23:42-43 it refers to the booths constructed for the harvest feast, the Feast of Booths (Hebrew transliterated = hag [feast] hassukkot), which was held in the Fall (15th of Tishri - late Sept to Oct - see table for the Seven Great Feasts of Israel)
The Feast of Booths is often referred to as “the feast/festival” (without using the word "Booths" or "Tabernacles") (1Ki 8:2, 65, 12:32, 2Chr 5:3. 7:8, Neh 8:14, 18, Ezek 45:25.) The dedication of Solomon’s temple took place during the time of this festival and so it points to the importance of this feast (1 Kgs 8:2, 65–66). The location of the feast is now “at the place the LORD will choose,” and this probably indicates the centralizing of Israelite worship in the Jerusalem temple (Deut 16:15).
TWOT - Most commonly, (sukkah) is used in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles. Once a year the Israelite left his home to tabernacle in a “booth,” made from tree branches (Lev 23:34ff.). The feast marked not only the joy and thankfulness of a grateful people for God’s provision at the end of the agricultural season (Lev 23:39–41), but was to be a perpetual reminder (Deut 16:13ff.) to the people of God’s care for his own whom he had rescued from Egypt during those long years in the wilderness (Lev 23:42–43). The feast was closed by a day of rest, featured by a holy convocation, marking not only the climax of the religious year but symbolizing the rest of the believer in his God (Lev 23:39). Prophetically, the feast finds final fulfillment in that grand day when God will raise up the fallen booth of David (Amos 9:11) and give shelter to his repentant, redeemed, and re-gathered people (Isa 4:6). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
TWOT on the derivation of sukkah - The basic meaning of the root (of sukkah) is that of blocking, or stopping up something… This important root is productive in both a physical and figurative sense, particularly with the idea of “covering.” In the former sense, it was frequently used in the building activities relative to the sacred places of worship. The cherubim’s wings were to cover the mercy seat in the tabernacle (Ex 37:9) and the temple (I Chr 28:18). A veil screened off the ark and the mercy seat which were located within the holy of holies (Ex 40:3, 21). The participial form yields the denominative sōkēk, a covering erected to protect besiegers from the defenders’ missiles (Nah 2:5 [H 6]).In a figurative sense, it pictures God’s protection for the one who comes to him for refuge (Ps 5:11; cf. Ps 91:4; 140:7)…
The Septuagint often translates sukkah with the noun skene which described temporary, easily moved lodging places (tents, booths) for nomads. It is fascinating that this same word (skene) describes our "eternal dwellings (skene)." (Lk 16:9). Skene was also used to describe the "portable sanctuary," the Tabernacle (Ex 27:21, 29:4, Lev 1:1, Heb 8:5)
Sukkah - 29v - Ge 33:17; Lev 23:34, 42-43; Deut 16:13, 16; 31:10; 2 Sam 11:11; 22:12; 1Kgs 20:12, 16; 2Chr 8:13; Ezra 3:4; Neh 8:14-17; Job 27:18; 36:29; 38:40; Ps 18:11; 31:20; Isa 1:8; 4:6; Amos 9:11; Jonah 4:5; Zech 14:16, 18-19 and translated in the NAS as - booth(1), Booths(9), booths(8), canopies(1), canopy(1), hut(1), lair(1), pavilion(1), shelter(4), temporary shelters(3).
The following Scriptures use sukkah in the context of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles - Lev 23:34, 42-43, Kt 16:13, 16, 31:10, Ezra 3:4, Neh 8:14-17 and in the Millennial (see descriptions of this glorious time) reign of Messiah - Zech 14:16, 18-19.
The first use in Genesis 33:17 is interesting as the related proper noun Succoth is used twice - "Jacob journeyed to Succoth (derived from sakak), and built for himself a house and made booths (sukkah derived from sakak) for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth."
In Psalm 31:20 we see God's promised protection for the righteous - "You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man. You keep them secretly in a shelter (sukkah; Lxx = skene) from the strife of tongues."
Isaiah uses sukkah to describe the time of Messiah's reign on earth (Isa 4:1-5-see discussion of "in that day") when He promises that "There will be a shelter (tabernacle - sukkah) to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain." (Isaiah 4:6-see note) In Amos, Jehovah uses sukkah to describe the time in the Millennium when "I will raise up the fallen booth (sukkah) of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old." (Amos 9:11 - note the abrupt change of emphasis from Amos 9:10 from doom to hope! Prophecy of destruction gives way to prophecy of restoration for Israel [Amos is not speaking of the Church but the nation of Israel!] - cp Acts 15:15-17) John MacArthur writing on Amos 9:11-15 notes that "Millennial blessings await the final faithful remnant, when Messiah personally reigns over all nations in Jerusalem upon the throne of David, and the Jews are never again pulled up from their divinely inherited land." (Study Bible)
Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon on sukkah - thicket, booth (prop. of interwoven boughs) — 1. thicket, lurking-place of lions (cf. [סֹךְ] 1). 2. booth, crude or temporary shelter, for cattle (distinct fr. בַּיִת), but also for warriors in the field; for watchers in vineyards (sim.) (sim. of frailty), for man’s shelter from sun; poet. of fallen house (dynasty) of David; of clouds as (temporary) enclosure of ˊי in storm. 3. specif. of booths, made of boughs, in which people lived at harvest-feast, hence called חַג הַסֻּכוֹת.,
Holladay on sukkah - 1. thicket, as lion’s den Job 38:40;—2. hut made of branches & mats: a) in vineyard Isa 1:8, shelter fm. sun Isa4:6; for cattle Gen 33:17, travelers Lev 23:43, military camp 2Sa 11:11; metaphorically for those fearing God Ps 31:20; David’s empire = Am 9:11; b) ag hassukkôt, feast of huts (trad. transl.: of booths, or of tabernacles) Lv 23:34