September 25, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—John 7:37–39 (NIV)
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. I love a nice glass of ice water—to me, it tastes like pure satisfaction.
In today’s verse, 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 within them “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 the current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years in the wilderness.
All 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 when Jesus stood and declared it was He who was the fountain of living water they needed; that He was the answer to their prayers.
The Greek word used in this verse demonstrates this concept clearly. Thirst (dipsōntes) means “to suffer from thirst; to painfully feel want of and eagerly long for.” I bolded specific words like painfully feel and suffer 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.”
Throughout the Bible, the river is a picture God gives us to show how all goodness and life flow from Him, the source. Just as the river’s water travels from the source and makes it way down, the living water of Jesus flows through our lives, brings deep satisfaction, and then overflows into the lives of others! May our lives reflect this beautiful truth as we interact with others in Jesus’ name!
Pause: How has Jesus brought satisfaction in your life?
Practice: Do a search online to find all the different instances where “river,” “water,” or “living water” are referenced in Scripture.
Pray: Father, I thank You for the living water that flows into my life through the work of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit. I pray I would never seek satisfaction in anything else and that my relationship with You would overflow and bring satisfaction into the lives of others. Amen.
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.