The Gospel of John: Rivers of Living Water.

“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.’”(John 7:37-38).

In building upon what Jesus said in John 7:37, Jesus continues by saying, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” To believe means to trust, depend, commit and worship a particular object of such belief or faith. Jesus said the object of saving faith, or belief, was He. Philippians 3:9 says, “and be found in him (Christ), not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

When Jesus stated “as the Scripture has said” He was referring to the Old Testament. Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “During the wilderness wanderings, God empowered the elders of Israel with His Spirit, prompting Moses to look forward to the day when all of God’s people would be empowered by the Holy Spirit for ministry (Num. 11:1–30). God also miraculously gave the people water during this same period (Ex. 17:1–7; Num. 20:10–13). Over time, the prophets picked up on these twin giftings of water and the Spirit to describe a future outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all of God’s people, using water as an image of spiritual abundance (Isaiah 12; Ezekiel 36:25–27; Joel 3:17–21). By the first century, the Jews had included in the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) various rites involving the pouring out of water to depict their hope for future spiritual blessings and salvation.”

Jesus was proclaiming that He alone was the fulfillment of all that the Jews anticipated in the particular Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus is the only One who provides living water (John 4:10-11). When Jesus does this work in the particular soul of the sinner, the converted individual becomes a tributary of the rivers of living water. The image of “rivers” implies great abundance of blessing: not only for the believer but also for those are around them.

Dr. R.C. Sproul writes in his commentary John, “With the Spirit’s coming . . . the priesthood of all believers became a reality—every member of the community of faith was endowed by the Holy Spirit, empowered from on high to participate in the ministry of Christ’s kingdom.”

As Dr. Sproul concludes, “We must always remember that we are not sources of living water, only Jesus is. However, Jesus empowers us by the Holy Spirit and works through us to bless others. Let us be eager for Jesus to use us this way.”

Soli deo Gloria!

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