John 7:37-39 NIV
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.
There is an unseen current rushing through your home, your church, and your city. That current is nudging everything it touches, and letting us know it’s there. It is the mighty River of the Holy Spirit, and it’s coming to . . . no, it’s already flowing through . . . a location near you. Whether or not we allow that river to flow in through the gateway of our hearts, to the deepest places, to satisfy our deepest longings, and to then become a spring of living, satisfying water that flows from us to others—is a choice we all have to make.
In John 7, Jesus is attending the Festival of Tabernacles (or Sukkot), a feast that commemorates the shelter-living the Jews had to do as they wandered through the wilderness on their way to the Holy Land. It was in that wilderness that water miraculously flowed from a rock to satisfy the desert-thirst of God’s people. On the very “last and greatest day” of that celebration of the Exodus journey toward the Promised Land, Jesus lifted up his voice for all to hear: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink…whoever believes in me rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
First, the stories of the Exodus would have leapt to mind for those listening, potentially feeling parched themselves. The Jews needed water. God provided. Second, Jesus seems to be suggesting that thirst will be quenched for a believer by a river of “living water,” gushing up from within. This phrasing feels quite similar to Jesus’ words, spoken to the Samaritan woman in John 4. Jesus is most probably drawing their attention to verses like Jeremiah 2:13, a powerful prophetic passage: “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'” (Jer. 2:13).
Broken cisterns. Our best human efforts to satisfy our spiritual thirst, ultimately leave us desperate and unsatisfied. Jesus is saying that unquenched thirst is an indicator that someone’s cisterns are broken, and our best efforts to replace what God gives are not enough. Jesus also knows that we need to know our need, to really feel our lack, before we pursue him for spiritual satisfaction.
Pray to become, and to remain, a thirsty believer—one who relies on, and drinks from, the river of the Spirit flowing from within. The life of Jesus flowing from within. Ask God to help you identify any broken cisterns you have made to satisfy your own spiritual thirst. Then pray for those in your home, church, and city, to become aware of their own need as well.
The river of the Spirit is there for the drinking; lead others to the water that you have found.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. There is a river of life within me, and I welcome both the refreshing I need and the call to meet the thirst needs of others. Come, Holy Spirit, let your Holy Spirit pour from life, sweeping those in my influence up in your current of love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
How would you define “spiritual thirst,” and how have you experienced Jesus quenching that thirst in you?
For the awakening,