On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, "If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say."
Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him. The Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been given his full glory.
When the crowd heard Jesus say this, some of them said, "He must be the Prophet!" Others said, "He is the Messiah!" Others even said, "Can the Messiah come from Galilee? The Scriptures say that the Messiah will come from the family of King David. Doesn't this mean that he will be born in David's hometown of Bethlehem?" The people started taking sides against each other because of Jesus.
Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
Jesus tells it as it is, and he gets a mixed reaction. There’s no encounter with a person, just a bold statement shouted out. Teachers usually sat to teach, but Jesus stands. It is likely that people listening would not necessarily understand what Jesus meant, but the teachers of the Law would.
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah chapter 55:
If you are thirsty, come and drink water! If you don't have any money, come, eat what you want! Drink wine and milk without paying a penny. Why waste your money on what really isn't food? Why work hard for something that doesn't satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and you will enjoy the very best foods.
And Jesus has claimed this scripture for himself. He has fulfilled it – “Come to me!” Those teachers that realised what Jesus had done would probably have taken a dim view – to their minds this would be blasphemy. It was probably not the best time to arrest Jesus, when emotions and religious fervour were running high on this special festival day.
Jesus is offering the Holy Spirit, symbolised, amongst other things, by running water. It is available to all who call on the name of Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Jesus doesn’t talk about the milk and wine, attractive though they may seem in comparison to bland water, but the gift Jesus is offering is free and unlimited, ever flowing, and it reaches parts milk and wine simply cannot reach, and they will deteriorate rapidly. It is the ultimate quencher of thirst, the thing most needed in a dry and barren land, or in a life of faith that feels like it’s crawling through the desert. An outpouring or an infilling of God’s Holy Spirit refreshes and enables, empowers and emboldens us to do the work Jesus calls us to.
Many Christians live a life of faith but have no experience of the Living Water Jesus offers. They may be dutiful, obedient and attentive to prayer, bible-reading and living according to God’s way for them. However, the prospect of being inundated is something they shy away from, standing at the side of the pool while others swim, or worse, like Pharisees considering those swimming to be irreverent and disorderly. Some may even claim that the source has now dried up. I believe it still to be wide open to anyone who has faith in him.
Jesus is risen, ascended and glorified. That turn of events has opened the floodgates of God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to set his Holy Spirit water-canon on us. He wants us to dive into the sparkling deep spring. He wants this water to flow from deep within us.
Are there areas of your life that still resist the call of Jesus?
Do you have the experience of Living Water?
If not, then who could you talk to?
Father God, You sent Jesus not only to raise us up to be kings and priests before you, but also to fill us to overflowing with your Holy Spirit. Fill me/fill me once more with your Holy Spirit so that I may be the person You have called me to be. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.