#8: RIVERS OF LIVING WATER
ARE NOW AVAILABLE
In the autumn of A. D. 29, in Jerusalem; the morning of the 22nd day of Tishri, the eighth and final day of the feast of Tabernacles: After the early morning sacrifice, the priests begin the water-drawing ceremony. A priest descends to the Pool of Siloam and fills a golden pitcher with water from the pool. Then another, carrying a pitcher of wine, meets him at the massive bronze sacrificial altar.
The people celebrate with palm branches in their hands and with singing led by a choir of Levites. Some drink from the pool. Trumpets blast joyfully. Then one priest pours water onto the western side of the base of the altar while the other priest pours wine into a silver basin on the eastern side. Several priests pour much water onto the steps of the temple. Many recall Ezekiel’s prophecy describing water flowing out of God’s temple (Ezekiel 47:1). The multitude chants a psalm giving thanks to the Lord and praying that God will send salvation and prosperity. They rejoice in the bounty God has sent them and they ask Him to provide rain for the new growing season.
When all becomes silent, Jesus’ strong voice carries throughout the temple as he prophesies: “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water” (John 7:37b-39a, AMP). Here Jesus foretells that after his resurrection, words from the Holy Spirit will flow out of believers. As the Scriptures command, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” and, “A person's words can be life-giving water;” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV, 18:4a, NLT).
The prophet foretold that when the Redeemer came, the Lord would put His Spirit upon those who receive him, and would put His words in their mouths:
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 698 B. C.)
“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,’ declares the Lord.
‘As for me, this is my covenant with them . . .
My Spirit, who is on you, and my words
that I have put in your mouth
will not depart from your mouth,
or from the mouths of your children,
. . . from this time on and forever,’”
(Isaiah 59:20-21, NIV)
The presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies of this temple. But as Jesus declares this truth with penetrating power and authority, the Spirit of God charges the atmosphere of the holy place and the outer court with His liberating presence.
Many in the crowd, upon hearing Jesus and feeling the anointing of the Holy Spirit with him, exclaim, “This is the Prophet!”
“I believe he is the Messiah,” another affirms.
“But should the Messiah come out of Galilee?” one asks.
“Don't the Scriptures teach that the Christ would come from Bethlehem?” another argues.
“Where is this man from? Who is he?” others question. And there is a division in the group because of him.
When the officers come back to the religious leaders without arresting Jesus, the Pharisees ask them,
“Why didn't you bring him to us?”
“No man ever spoke like this man,” they answer. For even the temple guards were lost in amazement, absorbed in the wisdom Jesus shared, as written, “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130 NKJV).
Comments: Several commentaries describe the water drawing and pouring out ceremony that the priests at the temple did every year during the Feast of Tabernacles. It must have been an impressive drama, but it was not a true portrayal of how the river of God’s Spirit is released. The pouring out of God’s Spirit is not controlled by or achieved through man’s hands, as in the priests’ drama. Rather, it is God who pours out His Spirit in answer to our prayers (Acts 1:14, 2:1-4, 16-17, Joel 2:15-18, 28-29).
The good news that Jesus brings us in this passage is that no matter where we are or what kind of spiritual atmosphere is around us, individually we can always go to Jesus and drink of His Spirit until He fills us to overflowing and rivers of living water of His Spirit flow out of us. Since Jesus has made the way for us to be continually filled with the Spirit, we should never have spiritually dry times. Even when we go through a wilderness of trials and tests, we will not be spiritually dry if we are continually filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20). So come into the presence of God through the blood of Jesus and ask the Lord to fill you anew with His Spirit today and let His rivers of living water flow out of you. Drink until you are filled to overflowing. Draw near to God and welcome His refreshing presence and His anointing which sets us free.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 172-175.