The Living Waters of Jesus (John 7:37-41)
Giver of life, grant me an awareness of your presence within me today. Thank you for this promised gift secured by Christ’s sacrifice. Help me to delight in your presence, rest in your presence, find joy in your presence, and be at peace in your presence. You and you alone are the treasure of life that brings beauty and meaning to everything else. Amen.
Go and pour yourself a cup of water (save this for the end of your devotion) and then sit outside in the sunshine. Be still and quiet. Turn off your phone and set it aside. Listen to the sounds about you. Feel the breeze that God commands to blow. Feel the sunshine that God commands to bring forth light. Hear the birds and the life buzzing around you. Even the sounds of traffic point to the activity of life; life that God allows and sustains. After several minutes of quiet contemplation of God’s creation, sing to the Lord the simple words of the doxology: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Once you have sufficiently stilled your heart and prepared yourself to commune with God, move forward with the devotion.
This scene takes place in the Temple courts on the last day of the Festival of Tabernacles, or as it is traditionally known, Sukkot. The festival took place at the end of harvest every year. For seven days people would sleep in tents to remember how God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness when He freed them from Egyptian captivity during the time of Moses. The last day of the festival was a day of great rejoicing when sacrifices were given. The priest would walk from the Temple down to the Pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher and draw water while the crowds around him would lift up a great cheer of celebration. He would then carry the water back to the Temple altar where he would pour it out into a silver basin to prepare for sacrifices. As the author of Hebrews tells us, these sacrifices were powerless to truly cleanse people from sin, so they had to be given over and over (Hebrews 10:1-4).
In the midst of this celebration, Jesus stood and made an amazing proclamation. Jesus who would offer himself as the one true sacrifice that would take away the sins of his followers forever, said these words: “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.” Jesus had come to replace the entire system: the priest, the sacrifice, the altar, the water, and even the Temple itself. Ezekiel 47 tells of a day when from underneath the altar in the Temple would flow an ever growing river of living water that would heal the nations. Jesus was proclaiming that He had come to provide that wellspring of living water. Those that wanted life and would call upon the cross as their altar, and Jesus as the sacrifice for their sin, and Jesus as the priest whom they celebrate and follow, would have the living water poured out in them. John tells us that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit that would come to reside in the followers of Christ. We no longer need a physical Temple, because Christians now become mobile Temples wherever they go, with living water pouring out of them. The water that satisfies and brings healing to the nations.
Are you thirsty for a true soul satisfying life today? Is it because like the Jews in the Temple courts you have been celebrating and looking to elements in this world that can never provide what you truly need and desire? Listen to Christ’s offer, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” Take your glass of water and take a deep drink. Now, quietly turn to Christ who lives within you through the Holy Spirit, and drink deep Christ’s presence with you. Find in Him peace and joy and rest. Celebrate Him and His great love for you. Celebrate your eternal forgiveness and place in the Family of God. Allow Him to energize your soul with healing and love and truth today. And may whatever anxieties and hardships present themselves to you today be rendered powerless as you walk about with the living water of Jesus pouring out of you.