Rivers of Living Water (John 7:37–39)
This week we will study John 7:37–39. So let’s read the passage, “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
What the Parable Meant
In John 7:37–39, we see that it was the last day of the Feast of Booths. We see that Jesus lifted up His voice and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” We see that what Jesus wanted to leave the people with the gospel. He presented the gospel to them, giving them something to ponder and discuss on their journey home. The Feast of Booths is a pilgrimage feast, which means that the Jewish men would have to travel up to Jerusalem to celebrate it in accordance with the law (Deuteronomy 16:16). This means that people from all over Israel and the world would have been there to celebrate the feast. Jesus was inviting everyone at the feast into a relationship with Him. If you remember the Samaritan woman at the well, she received a similar call. Both of these calls to accept Jesus were given as parables, this is one of the more straight-forward parables. We see that this parable is about salvation and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is telling us that anyone who believes in Him would receive the Holy Spirit. Because at this time, Jesus had not yet been glorified, so the Spirit had not yet been poured out. But now that Jesus has been glorified, all believers receive the Holy Spirit.
Salvation is for Everyone
Jesus came first and shared the gospel, then the Spirit was poured out after He ascended to Heaven. The gospel was first for the Jews, at these pilgrimage festivals Jesus would be able to offer salvation to almost the whole Jewish Nation at once (Romans 1:16). Salvation was then and is still open to anyone who believes. It was first for the Israelites, which is why Jesus spent almost all of His time in Israel sharing the gospel with the Jews. The truth is that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That is why we all need a Savior and salvation is what Jesus is offering each of us today. He is offering us eternal life with Him, because without Jesus, the punishment for sin is death. Jesus came and died in our place and anyone who accepts Him, will have their sins cast as far as the east is from the west. If you would like to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life and live forever with Him, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).
Rivers of Living Water
Christians now have the Holy Spirit, which means that all Christians have rivers of living water. Living water means several things, one is that we have the Holy Spirit who seals us to eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13). Normal water is a sustaining substance which gives us life. That is the same thing the Spirit does, it gives us eternal life. Jesus did not say that you would get a glass of living water, no, He said that you would have rivers of living water. A river does not just provide life to one person or one’s family, but to an entire community. Now, I am not saying that your belief covers anyone except yourself. But, I am saying that your faith should be a blessing, that helps others come to the living water, even for generations. Now a river does not produce its own water, it gets water when it rains and from springs, and without that a river dries up into a stream. This is also true of our rivers of living water, its source is from above and is from God, which will never stop providing living water. Without prayer, fasting, and reading God’s word your river will shrink, yes you can receive water from other places like sermons and other Christians, but that is after it already came through someone else’s river. Whereas, if you go to the word of God or pray, then you are going to the Source of all living water, which is not marred by other people’s worldviews. Because what does running water do? Running water removes debris from the river bed and over years it will remove much of the river bed. This is the same thing that happens in your heart, it will wash away the junk and give you a new heart, but instead of overtime, He gives you a new heart the second you accept Him. He will continue to wash away the junk over your lifetime (Sanctification). Maybe some of you are thinking that sometimes junk washes downstream, yes that is true of rivers, but it matters where the water comes from, in the case of the rivers of living water, it comes from the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. That is why it is important to be careful what you let flow into your river. Because where your heart is there your treasure will be also (Matthew 6:21).
Who are you Glorifying?
We are not supposed to become the river, that is not what Jesus said, no, Jesus said that out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water. It’s Who is in our hearts that matter and Who causes the rivers of living water to be there. When some Christians receive the Holy Spirit, they want to glorify the signs that accompany the Spirit or they want to receive glory for themselves, when it is not them that do the signs, it is the Spirit. As Christians, we need to be careful not to glorify ourselves through gifts of the Spirit or through our testimony, when these things are supposed to glorify God, not ourselves. The Spirit seals us forever, changing us and making us more like Christ every day. So this week, know that Jesus is inviting you into a relationship with Him, where you can live with Him forever. Remember, that Jesus said, it was better for Him to leave, so that He could send the Helper. As Christians we should share the gospel with everyone and know that we have the Holy Spirit guiding us. So, today get in the Word of God and pray so that your rivers of living water are coming from the source of all living water.