February 5, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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In the first part of this special two-part study, you’re invited to discover how you can go deeper into your calling and get in the story!
Icebreaker Question: Who has been instrumental in your faith?
In this section, we’ll give a brief overview of the topic and some key talking points to consider and reflect on before you dive into the discussion.
Memory Verse of the Week: Ezekiel 47:9 (NIV)
“So where the river flows everything will live.”
READ: Ezekiel 47 and John 7:37–39
The Kingdom River
When was the last time you were thirsty? Maybe you were outside working on something, maybe it was this morning when you woke up, or maybe it was after engaging in a really intense workout. Who doesn’t love a nice glass of ice-cold water? It’s pure satisfaction!
In John 7:37–39, Jesus paints a picture we can all understand. He says anyone who is thirsty can come to Him and not only experience the satisfaction of having their thirst quenched right then, but also have “rivers of living water flow from within them.”
In context, Jesus was in Jerusalem for Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths. It was a joyous occasion as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued blessings over them in their current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during their 40 years in the wilderness.
Throughout the first seven days, water from the Pool of Siloam was carried in a golden pitcher and poured out at the altar to remind everyone of the water God miraculously provided for a thirsty Israel in the wilderness. On the eighth day, there was no water pouring. Instead, there were only prayers for water so they could be reminded to continue seeking God’s provision. And it was at this time that Jesus stood and declared that He was the fountain of living water they needed; He was the answer to their prayers.
The Greek word for thirst (dipsōntes) used in this verse demonstrates this concept clearly. It means “to suffer from thirst; to painfully feel want of and eagerly long for.” I bolded specific words like suffer and painfully feel because they convey the depth of Jesus’ statement.
The truth is, humans experience this level of thirst all the time but seek to quench it through different things . . . and no, I’m not talking about soda or tea. We thirst for satisfaction and seek to quench that thirst in health, wealth, power, status, relationships, sinful habits, and worldly identities. But eventually, we come to realize that not a single one of these things can truly satisfy. Why? Because true, lasting satisfaction is obtained only when we come to Jesus and receive His indwelling presence (the Holy Spirit). And so, when we boil down His statement to its bare minimum, we see that satisfaction and fullness only come when we eagerly, earnestly, and ardently seek a relationship with Jesus. But it doesn’t stop there because “whoever believes in [Him] . . . rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38 NIV).
Throughout the Bible, the river is a picture God gives us to show how all goodness and life flow from Him, the source. This is seen clearly in Ezekiel 47! Just as the river’s water travels from the source and makes its way down, the living water of Jesus flows through our lives, brings deep satisfaction, and then overflows into the lives of others!
Consider now in your discussions or personal reflection time how your life can reflect this beautiful truth as we interact with others in Jesus’ name!
Below, you’ll find some key discussion questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends.
Discussion Question 1: Why does the Bible so frequently connect the grace of God to water? What does this teach us about our lives?
Discussion Question 2: Have you ever seen something die without water? Maybe it was your lawn, a house plant, or a garden. Consider our designed dependence on water. Are you dependent on Jesus this way? Why or why not?
Discussion Question 3: How has Jesus brought satisfaction in your life?
Discussion Question 4: How can God use your story and life to bring refreshment and satisfaction into the lives of others? In what ways can you get in the story God is writing in your community?
Your story matters. God wants to use your past, your life, and your story to reach people with the gospel of Jesus! Today, write down what God’s done in your life! Write out your story/your testimony, share it with someone, and thank the Lord for all He’s done.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.