How should we live in the world? Are we to live stagnant, isolated lives?
Let’s understand how Christians live like rivers of flowing water.
We will examine John 7:37-39 and Jesus’ instructions on being rivers of living waters.
John 7:37 If Anyone Thirsts
In John 7:37 Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts...” The benefits of water far outweigh artificial and addictive sugar-laden drinks. The benefits of true religion far outweigh counterfeits. According to WebMD, water keeps us slimmer, boosts energy and lowers stress due to dehydration, builds muscle tone and prevents cramps, reduces wrinkles from the inside, aids regularity and reduces kidney stones. It truly satisfies. In a parched land, thirst was well-known. God promised Israel living water (Proverbs 18:4; Isaiah 58:11), like water for a thirsty land (Isaiah 44:3), water without price (Isaiah 55:1), a powerful symbol of life. As water truly satisfies physically, belief in Jesus satisfies forever.
John 7:37 Come to Me and Drink
In John 7:37 Jesus stood on the last day of the Festival of Tabernacles and announced, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” The Feast of Tabernacles, is an autumn festival (Leviticus 23:33-36) commemorated since the Exodus with small booths made from leafy boughs. In Jesus’ day the High Priest went from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam and filled a container with water. He re-entered the Temple through the Water Gate. Along with a wine offering, he poured the water onto the base of the altar. The water symbolized the Holy Spirit poured out upon people as it flowed down the Temple steps into the outer courts.
John 7:38 Rivers of Living Water
In John 7:38 Jesus said, “He who believes in Me... out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” A rule of desert survival is not to drink stagnant water, but to look for a source of running water, sometimes called “living water.” To drink from the living water that Jesus gives, only requires belief in Jesus. The Holy Spirit flows from God to us and and we are satisfied. Christianity is not a selfish religion practiced in isolation from others. What we have received from God ought not to stay within us, but should flow out of us like living water, rather than staying still and becoming stagnant.
John 7:38 Living Water in the OT
Jesus’ words that “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” comes from the Old Testament. Psalm 1 says that those who delight in God’s law are like trees planted by rivers of water. Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes water flowing from the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem and making the desert to the south productive. The Apostles often used allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament. Allegory helps us understand the Holy Spirit flowing from heavenly Jerusalem into and out of Christians as a blessing to others around them. Does the Holy Spirit flow from us to others? Do we love our neighbors and thereby quench their spiritual thirst?
John 7:39 The Holy Spirit Flows
When Jesus said that out of our hearts would flow living water, John 7:39 says, “this He spoke concerning the Spirit.” As the Holy Spirit flows like rivers of living water from within, a very important spiritual gift is evident. The Holy Spirit gives many gifts to believers, and first in 1 Corinthians 12 is wisdom. Proverbs 18:4 speaks of the mouth being deep waters and a very important gift of the Holy Spirit is emphasized, “The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.” It is in wisdom that the Gospel must be preached and in wisdom that Christians will gently lead their non-Christian neighbors to salvation in the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is like rivers of living water, meant to flow into us from heaven and out to the world. We are not to live aloof from the world. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. Let’s live like flowing streams in a spiritual desert, filled with life and bringing life to all around us through the Holy Spirit.
John 7:37-39; Proverbs 18:4; Isaiah 58:11; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1; Leviticus 23:33-36; Psalm 1; Ezekiel 47:1-12; 1 Corinthians 12; Proverbs 18:4