From today’s reading of John 7-8
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. – John 7:37-39 (ESV)
The last day of the feast – the great day! – Jesus stands and delivers the great invitation. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
Does anyone not thirst? In our fallenness we are a thirsty people. To my shame, I often foolishly run after all sorts of things that aren’t Jesus to fulfill my thirst. Yet Jesus is the only one who can quench it. Jesus gives me the Spirit, making alive the dead and the dry in me, satisfying the thirst that is endemic to fallen humanity, the thirst arising from long, long years as orphans, away from the garden, away from our Father.
Jesus says something here that, if you peer into it, is quite curious. “Let him come to me and drink” is followed by this promise, for whoever drinks: “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
We rarely think about what happens after we drink. I’m thirsty, I drink a glass of water, and I’m no longer thirsty. So far so good, but drinking that glass of water does not make me a source of water. Yet drinking of Jesus is an in and out phenomenon. We drink, and are filled, and overflow in rivers (not trickles – rivers!) of living water.
Such is the Spirit. The Spirit knows nothing of temporary, solitary satisfaction. He is about filling beyond the brim, overflow, multiplication, abundance! Hold out a thimble and prepare to be drenched with gallons! Cracked ground becomes dark, rich fertile soil. Fruit emerges from the once-hopeless vine, green shoots push up from the soil. A parched, shriveled heart becomes full, healthy, beating out the rhythms of life in the Spirit. The Lord of life who can bring water out of a rock turns each of his followers into a spring of rivers. When we’re drinking deeply of the Spirit, strike us and more water will pour out. The invitation to the thirsty is daily called out from those flowing with this river of life – come and drink!
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:1-3 (ESV)