Monday, Aug. 22
“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” John 7:37-39. The term “living water” deserves some attention. Living water is moving water, a stream of water, as opposed to a pond, a well, or a lake. Moving water will keep purifying itself. Stagnant water does not. Jesus is offering living water that will satisfy and last forever. It represents eternal life. It has the same meaning in John 4:10-12, when Jesus told the Samaritan woman “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 7:39, however, makes it clear that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit that was to come later (Acts 2). There is no conflict here. The living water is eternal life, and the Holy Spirit is the divine agent to implement it. God doesn’t do things half way. Note the words “streams” and “a spring of water welling up.” Other renditions are “rivers of water,” “gushing” and “overflowing.” We won’t lack for life giving water. The whole thing is set in motion by belief—belief that Jesus paid for sin—with the result that real life, eternal life, will overflow in the believer to benefit others. You might have noticed that Jesus’ call was for those that are thirsty. He was looking for men like Peter and John, who were excited about the Messiah when he appeared. There is no record here of how many of those present became believers, but I believe many did respond, if not that very day, later on. When Jesus was beaten and pierced and eventually put to death on the cross, these people celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles would have remembered this occasion. Many of them must have been included in those thousands that were part of the early church. Yes, Jesus knew what he was doing.