On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.John 7:37-39
John is writing this gospel after the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was given in great power and came into the hearts of believers. When Jesus was still on earth the Spirit had not yet been given in that way. The Spirit of God is always present everywhere in the world. He was present before the day of Pentecost as well as afterward. But not in this sense. He was not performing this ministry of making Jesus real. So for the first time we have our Lord's hint of how this is all going to be accomplished.
I must leave, I am going back to him who sent me, but when I do so I will send the Spirit. He goes on and teaches what that means by using a beautiful symbol.
Each day during the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the chief priests would lead a procession down through the Kidron Valley to the pool of Siloam. Out of the waters of the pool he would fill a golden pitcher and carry it back to the temple and pour it over the altar to remind the people of the days in the barren wilderness when God gave them water out of a rock. Then the people would shout and wave palm branches, rejoicing and praising God. But on
the great day, the last day, there was no such ceremony because this day had been added to the feast. It was on this day that Jesus seized the opportunity to cry aloud,
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. By that, he means,
I am the Rock. I am the very Rock that those in the wilderness drank from. These words are confirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4:
They all drank of the Spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ. There in the wilderness God was teaching the same truth that he is teaching us today: Jesus is the Rock from which we can drink and satisfy the thirst of our hearts.
Notice Jesus does not limit the word
thirst. He says simply,
If any one thirst. People thirst for many things. Some are thirsting for significance. They want to feel like they are important, that they belong. People whom society overlooks, those who are not wealthy, or handsome, or have strong personalities, thirst to be regarded as important. To those Jesus says,
If you thirst, come to me. You will find the very significance you seek. Some are looking for power, the ability to accomplish things. Jesus says to such,
If that is what you want, come to me. Drink of me. Listen to my words. Come into a personal relationship. Draw from my wisdom, from my strength, from my presence with you. Your thirst for power will be satisfied by my power in you.
Physical thirst is the most powerful drive known to man. You can deny satisfying hunger for weeks at a time, but one thing you cannot leave unsatisfied is thirst. It becomes a driving demon that takes over the whole of your life and makes you think of nothing else but satisfying it. That is what Jesus means. If you feel yourself driven, wanting something, restless and thirsty and longing for satisfaction, then his invitation is,
Come unto me and drink, and by means of the Spirit, which I will give to those who believe in me, I will satisfy that thirst.
Thank you, Lord, that you are the One who can quench my thirst. Help me today to draw from your wisdom, strength and your presence with me.
When we are overwhelmed with longing we cannot satisfy, are we learning to bring our deep thirsts to Jesus who offers His life as the fountain of living water?