Don’t Stay Thirsty, My Friend.
John 7:2, 11-52
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” – John 7:37-38 NLT
It was the Feast of Tabernacles, or booths. This was an annual celebration that took place in Israel, commemorating God’s atoning work in their lives. The booths were temporary shelters erected in the streets that were a visual reminder of God’s providential care for His people during their wilderness wandering days after the Exodus. The festival took place from the fifteenth to the twenty-first or twenty-second day of the seventh month, which would place it some time during the month of October. There were daily sacrifices made, and thanks was expressed to God for the harvest. But it culminated in the ceremony of the outpouring of water, drawn from Siloam, in commemoration of the water that God had miraculously provided from the rock at Meribah (Exodus 17:1-7). It was also a reminder that God had future blessings reserved both for Israel and for the world. It was likely at this point in the celebration activities that Jesus made His statement to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! (John 7:37-38 NLT). All throughout the days of the festival, people had been arguing and debating as to who Jesus was. John tells us, “There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds” (John 7:12 NLT). Some were saying that He was a good man. Others claimed Him to be a fraud. None of them could figure out how He seemed to know so much when He was obviously uneducated. When Jesus claimed to be speaking on behalf of God and accused the crowd of trying to kill Him, they simply wrote it off to demon possession. The people were confused by Jesus. They simply saw Him as a nobody from Galilee. They had no idea that He had actually been born in Bethlehem and was a descendant of David, making Him the lawful and rightful heir to David’s throne. None of this mattered to the religious leaders. They simply wanted Him out of the way, and were seeking to arrest Him. The sad reality was that very few, if any, believed in Him.
And while they would gladly drink the water from Siloam as part of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, they would refuse to drink from the one Source that could satisfy their spiritual thirst completely and eternally. He is offering them the very same thing He offered to the Samaritan woman at the well. “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:13-14 NLT). Living water. A permanent quenching of spiritual thirst – once and for all. But it required belief. It required coming to Jesus and accepting who He claimed to be. It required believing that He actually did come from God and spoke on His behalf, and what He spoke was truth. He was the Messiah. He did offer hope. He made available a way to restore men to a right relationship with God the Father. But they had to believe. They had to come. And they refused. Their thirst remained unquenched, their sins unforgiven, their relationship with God unrestored. All because they refused to believe.
Father, so many still refuse to believe today. They reject the fountain of living water for poor replacements that can never satisfy. But the sad truth is, many believers refuse to believe in Jesus today. They refuse to drink daily from that same fountain, turning to other sources to satisfy their needs. Keep us coming back to You. Keep us believing in You. Only You can satisfy our ongoing thirst. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men