Apart these words are so powerful together they could be confusing. awkward. mismatched. Living doesn’t usually associate with an element like water and an element like water would usually get matched with its flow, size, depth, or insert any other descriptive attribute.
Apart the words hold meaning…life, alive, living, breathing, moving, awake
…life over death, alive or dead, breathing over breathless, moving over still, awake instead of asleep.
In John 7:37-38, John gives us a picture of a water that is completely other than what we have normally experienced. the WATER takes on a non-tangible role and becomes something that cannot be tasted purely in a physical sense, but felt in the heart.
John 7:37 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. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
If, who? Anyone. If anyone thirsts. The anyone means…well, anyone. If anyone in this crowd is thirsty what I am saying is for you. No matter your race or gender, issues in your life, your past, your present, your status….if anyone thirsts…this is for you.
If anyone thirsts. What kind of thirst is he talking about? Is he back there selling lemonade on a hot Jerusalem day? No, he is speaking metaphorically. He is speaking not of physical thirst but of spiritual thirst.
How long can the human body go without water? 3 days…if that. The human body was made to drink water and the human soul was made to drink God. We are more than a body. We are more than organisms descended from monkeys or primordial slim. We are made in the image of God with a soul that was made to drink in the greatness of God.
And what Jesus offers is more than the Gatorade thirst quencher. When Jesus asks if anyone thirsts, he is implying that what he is offering will satisfy you….forever! Sometimes it could feel like we talk all about this bible stuff. We ask you to think. We ask you to read. We ask you to study. But if it stops there, you are missing the most important part!
My wife makes a few incredible dishes one of which is called a loco moco. It’s a Hawaiian dish with ground beef and eggs and rice with gravy. You can follow the directions in the cook book on how to make it just right. You could the meat and get the rice just right but if that’s all you did you are missing something. What are you missing?
Eating! I want to eat! I want to drink!
We cook meals to eat! We dig wells to drink! We read the bible to ultimately satisfy our thirst for God. If all you did was read the bible…its like cooking food and never eating it. We memorize verses because we are feasting at the thanksgiving dinner of God!
The water…its free. The soul…it thirsts. And Jesus wants to satisfy this thirst, forever.
And here is the crazy part!…what exactly are we drinking?
John says we come to Jesus and drink…go back and read the verse…What are we supposed to drink?
Come to ME and drink…drink what? Drink me Jesus says. Jesus isn’t holding something to give us, he wants to give us himself. He is what we drink. Our hearts ache to be satisfied with Jesus.
Again, speaking metaphorically. He is not offering you a glass of diet coke to drink with your mouth and swallow with your throat. This drinking he is talking about is done with your soul. You have heard that song, how great thou art. Very classy, very old. If you haven’t go look it up. A line in there that says, “then sings my….soul”. How does the soul sing? How does the soul drink? We are more than animals. We are more than just bodies.
John Piper says this,
“This is the most important thing to know about yourself. You were made to live on God.”
Did you see the connection between verse 37 and 38? This coming and drinking of Jesus is equated with believing.
To say it another way, to believe in Jesus is to come and drink.
You may have heard people tell you about trusting in Jesus for salvation. To make him lord and savior of your life. What does that even mean?
What that has always felt to me was like reciting words and understanding facts about God and Jesus and what he offers. When we talk about believing it is much more than that.
Believing in Jesus is coming to the feast and continually treasuring Christ. Having faith is seeing Jesus as the only thing or person that can satisfy your soul and then acting on that by continually going to him to bring that satisfaction.
You don’t just cook the meal, you eat! You don’t just believe in facts but you drink for your souls satisfaction..
So is this a one and done thing or is he a means to an end?
By no means….he is the source of this satisfaction….he is a well…and you will never have to look anywhere else to be satisfied.
Out of your heart will flow RIVERS of living water.
He is not a stepping stone to something greater.
He is not a means to an end.
He is the one that satisfies and it simply becomes a journey of drinking continually from that fountain. When you come to Jesus for a drink, you don’t just get a shot you get a fire hydrant. When you crank that hydrant on water explodes through that hose.
You don’t get a drop of water, you get river!
You get LIVING WATER.