“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 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. On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” ” (John 7:37–52, NIV)
It’s the last day of the feast. For the previous 7 days, each morning, priests drew water from the pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher and then marched in a parade behind the High Priest to the temple and around the altar. The trumpet was blown and psalms of praise and thanksgiving were sung to God for the harvest. This was an important day because the festival took place during the dry season as the cisterns used for drinking water were running dry. The prayer for rain was necessary for their survival. But not only water for the cisterns, the crops in the field would not survive if God did not send the rain to bring in a harvest.
For 7 days, the “water parade” took place as the priests marched to the temple each morning and the people were called to pray for the necessity of water that only God could supply. It was in this context that Jesus stands among the people to make His stunning announcement. “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
The people were celebrating the ritual of prayer that recognized their dependence on God for life giving water. Jesus stands in the midst of the ceremony and says, “I am the answer to your prayer. In me, you will find life giving water for your soul! Drink from the cup of my salvation and an endless supply of water will satisfy your thirst for God…forever.”
John explains to us that the living water Jesus spoke of was the promise of the Holy Spirit which resides in the heart of every believer.
Well…when a man stands in the midst of a celebration of this magnitude and makes a claim of such significant implication, you would expect that it would get people’s attention. And that it did! In fact, it divided the crowd into two groups. Some who heard this announcement rightly understood that the only one who could make such a claim was the Messiah himself. Perhaps Jesus was the Messiah – the fount of living water.
Yet others opposed this view. They argued that the Messiah must be born from the family of David in the town of Bethlehem. Here’s the problem with their argument. He WAS born from the family of David and his birthplace WAS the town of Bethlehem. They knew the scripture. They just didn’t take the time to know the person to see what the scripture spoke of was standing right in front of them.
You need to know that the offer still stands. Jesus is the answer to our prayer. He is the One that quenches the thirst of our soul as we yearn to be satisfied with that which only God can supply. Are you satisfied in Him alone? Or have you fallen into the trap that Jeremiah speaks of when he reveals the heart of God:
“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. ” (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV)
Are you satisfied with living water or have you dug your own cistern?
Drink deeply from the only water that satisfies. Find your hope in Christ alone.