John chapter 7

Living water

“If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within. – Vs 5 NLT

John tells us that Jesus made this statement on the last day of the Feast of Booths. This would have been the eighth day. Each day up until then, the priests would had fulfilled the ceremony of carrying water from the Pool of Siloam and pouring it into a basin located by the altar of burnt offering. At this altar the priests would sacrifice various offerings to God. Some offerings were made for their own sins and some for the sins of the people. The point of the burnt offering was that, by it, a person might become accepted before God and forgiven. The burnt offering involved the sacrifice of a male animal: a ram, goat, bullock, or a turtle dove. The offering had to be without blemish, the very healthiest and best available. This foreshadows the Lord Jesus, who was examined by Pontius Pilate who declared, “I find no fault in Him at all.”

But not only did the sacrifice foreshadow the future atoning work of Jesus, the water in the basin foreshadowed the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus offers Himself as the only way to quench their spiritual thirst. If they only believed in Him, He promised them  a source of “living water” or new life through the Spirit of God.  It was the same offer He made to the woman at the well back in chapter 4. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10 NASB). There on the Temple Mount, Jesus was declaring Himself as the source of life. The day was coming when He would offer Himself as our substitionary sacrifice. He would do what no bull, goat, or lamb had ever done – completely satisfy the just demands of God. He would be the perfect sacrifice, or as John the Baptist, He would be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And as a result of that sacrifice, those who believe would be given new life – made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Isaiah had predicted this statement by Jesus hundreds of years before: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:1-2 NIV). Jesus is offering His listeners something far greater than they had ever received before: Eternal life. Something that is absolutely free and cannot be bought with our good efforts or hard work. Jesus is offering living water that will flow from within. You won’t have to go the Pool of Siloam or the well of Jacob and haul your water through self-effort. He will cause it to flow from right within you through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is offering to quench thirst and satisfy our spiritual needs. But we tend to turn elsewhere to have our needs met. We tend to look elsewhere to satisfy our spiritual thirst. We attempt to haul water from other sources in an effort to quench the spiritual thirst within us. But Jesus says, “Come to Me and drink.” He is the source. The only source. And when He quenches our thirst, we never thirst again!

Father, thank You for the living water made possible through  the death, burial, and resurrection of Your Son. Thank You for the reality that because of His death, I have new life made possible by the Spirit of God who lives within me. I am a new creature. I have a source of spiritual sustenance that flows from within, not from without. I don’t have to haul water to the altar. I don’t have to go to the well of life anymore. The water of life flows within me! Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org