The Living Water

Ref: Scripture John 7:37-39

Three Observations About Coming to Jesus to Drink

“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

First, Jesus is what we drink. “Come to me and drink.” Jesus doesn’t just have what our souls need; he is what our souls need.Recall John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” He is the bread of life. He isthe living water. Our souls were made for Jesus. The ache in our hearts is at root an ache for Jesus. This is how the soul lives on God. It lives on Jesus.

Second, the soul can drink. It can swallow. He is speaking spiritually, not materially, when he says, “Come to me and drink.” This drinking is not something you do with your mouth and your throat. You do it with your soul. You do it spiritually. You were made to do this. You are not a mere animal. You were made for this—coming, not physically, but spiritually, to Jesus, and drinking, swallowing the water for your soul that he is.

Third, this coming and drinking are what it means to believe on Jesus. Verses 37–38: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me . . .” That last phrase is another way of saying come and drink. Coming and drinking Jesus is what happens when we believe. It’s what believe means. We saw it in the parallel structure of John 6:35: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Believing on Jesus is coming to him to eat and drink for our soul’s deepest satisfaction.So be done forever with the sad notion that saving faith—that believing on Jesus—is a mere decision to believe facts. No. It is a coming to him as a feast. A treasure. A banquet. A spring in the desert when we are dying of thirst. This is what the apostle John meant when he connected believing on Jesus and receiving Jesus in John 1:12. Believing is receiving him as water, food, life for the soul.

So those three things: Jesus is the water we need, the soul does the drinking, and that is what believing means—coming to Jesus to drink for our soul’s satisfaction.

The Rivers That Flow from the Soul

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

Literally, it says, out of his belly. But the point is our inner being, call it belly, heart, soul, spirit. What does this mean?

It means that when you come to Jesus to drink, you don’t just get a single drink, but you get spring, a fountain, a well. You get Jesus. Rivers of water will flow because a River-Maker is in you. That’s the point. You will never have to search again for a source of satisfaction for your soul. Every river that needs to flow for the joy of your soul will flow from Jesus. When you come to him, you get him. And he never leaves.

The Spirit of the Glorified Jesus

Verse 39: “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.”There was an experience of the Spirit that could not be enjoyed until Jesus had died for our sins, been raised triumphant over death, and ascended to the right  hand of the Father in glory—namely, the experience of fellowship with the Spirit of the glorified, risen Christ. This is what the Father gives to everyone who believes. The presence and power and fellowship of the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ.

Once Jesus was with us as an incarnate man, and now he is in us by his Spirit. Listen to John 14:16–17: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”And he is indeed in everyone who believes on Jesus.
Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:9? “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” If you come to Christ to drink for your soul’s satisfaction, you get Christ. And now we see that he means: You get the Spirit—the Spirit of God and of Christ.Christ, as the incarnate Son of God, is in heaven. We can’t see his body now. We walk by faith and not by sight. But he is in us (Romans 8:10). We have the Spirit of the risen and glorified Christ living in us. Which means Christ is in us.

The Witness of Scripture to the Plans of God

Verse 38 again: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”There are so many Old Testament texts that point to this reality. Let me give you just one.Isaiah 58:11: “You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

But here is the way we should end—the really wonderful implication for us that God spoke of this reality hundreds of years before it happened. It means that God was planning this for you. God was planning to send his Son. He created you to have an unquenchable soul thirst that could draw you to him. He planned for Jesus to stand in Jerusalem, and for me to share in this phatform and cry out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me [Jesus] and drink.”This is God’s invitation to you. Not just mine. Not just Jesus’s. But God’s. Come, drink, live.

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