THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
John 7:37-39 (NLT) – 37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
THOUGHTS FROM WILL
This verse is quite a popular one; you may have seen it in social media posts or on about a thousand paintings at Mardel. But the context of this verse makes it all the more beautiful. Jesus was at what was called the Feast of Tabernacles (a very significant festival in the Jewish tradition) when this speech took place. On the seventh day of this festival, a golden pot filled with water was carried, three trumpet blasts would go off, a scripture would be recited, and a series of several more traditions were practiced. All of which, on that day, led up to lots of water being poured out to God as a sacrifice.
When Jesus shouts to the crowds here, the image of the water being poured out as sacrifice to God would have been fresh on their minds. Jesus’ words paint this picture where He is implying that we can pour out the water we have in an effort to please God, or we can come to the source of the living water, who IS God. It’s a dichotomy between striving and simply receiving. We can choose to work for water or receive His rivers.
Naturally, as people, we can find ourselves trying so hard to earn our redemption. We try to gather all the water we can, get all of our behavior in order, and then we present it to God, hoping that He will be pleased with us and reward us back. The only issue is, that isn’t the gospel. The Jesus message is one of undeserved grace. We will not, and cannot, ever get to a point where we are so “good” in the eyes of God that we could earn anything. We are broken, but our God is one that offers to us a water that is so scandalous in its inclusiveness, that anyone who is thirsty may come. And the Holy Spirit, being the living water, will flow out of us if we choose to come to Him.