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.” - John 7:37-38
What is it that you are aching for at this moment? What are you hoping for that perhaps you’ve suppressed because you don’t feel that it’s realistic? What are you longing for that feels out of the realm of possibilities? What are you waiting for that feels so far away?
I suppose what I’m really wondering is this: ‘What is it that you are thirsty for?’
Take a moment now to really think about it. How long has this been something on your heart? How much does it dominate your thoughts? How much of your stress or worry is associated with this thirst?
In the gospel of John, chapter 7, Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles, and he had taken his time to get up there. He didn’t go up right away—as most Jewish men and teachers would have—because “it was not yet his time.”
When he finally arrived, he went into the Temple courts and began to teach, and John tells us that on “the last and greatest day” of the festival, Jesus spoke the words written above.
“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.”
Why did he wait until the last day to say this? Certainly it was to make an emphasis on his words, and John’s pointing us to something significant here. Certainly there’s an allusion back to Ezekiel who had a vision of living water flowing out from the Temple (Ezek. 47). Certainly Jesus is identifying Himself as the new Temple of God out of which the Spirit of God flows.
Certainly that means something new is happening, something that we can’t miss.
Jesus is inviting us to Himself—not to religion, not to an institution, not to a building, not even to a church, but to Himself—because He is the centerpoint that cannot be uncentered, the cornerstone that cannot be pulled out, the focus that cannot not be the main thing. And if He’s the main thing, you know what that means?
That everything else is periphery.
No one and nothing else but Jesus is our source of Living Water (i.e. the source of life, the source of goodness, the source of fulfilment). He is the source of the Holy Spirit of God who is freely given to all those who believe.
And when you and I, and all other followers of Jesus spread around the world, forget that He is the source of Living Water and we get distracted by the chaos around us, it’s no wonder that we fall into worry and angst and anger and impatience.
Have we forgotten about Jesus? In the midst of all that’s going on, have you forgotten your Centerpoint? Your Cornerstone? Your Source of Life?
I’m going to encourage you to try something today. Years ago, while sitting in a church service as a grad student, a pastor encouraged the congregation to do this—so I’m borrowing their brilliance here.
Every time that you take a sip of water today—and it should be a lot, since we’re ‘supposed’ to drink eight cups a day—every time that you put that cup of water to your lips, recite these words:
“Lord Jesus, fill me today with your living water.”
In other words, take time today to pause before drinking and ask Jesus to fill you with the life-giving power of His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to give you a thirst for Him alone. Years ago, I took that pastor's advice to heart, and I've never forgotten it. My prayer today is the same for you.
"Lord Jesus, fill us today with your living water."
If you want a fun song to point you in the right direction, check this one out. Mac Powell – River of Life.