Living Waters

John 7:37-39

May 10th & 11th, 2008


            On many thoughts and minds of folks this weekend is Mother’s Day.  In our country it ranks right up there in holidays.  Only on Christmas and Valentines Day are more Cards purchased, and it ranks second to Christmas in terms of Flower purchases.   However, we are all red up here today, not because of mother’s day, but because of the festival of Pentecost.   In the history of the church, this day is right up there with Christmas and Easter.   This is significant to us, because on this day God gave his church the Spirit by which our Savior Jesus is understood.    1 Corinthians 12 says “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”. It is also through this Spirit gives us the power to carry out the mission Christ has given his Church. 

Often the dove depicts the Holy Spirit, and fire shows the Spirit’s power.  However, today we will hear the Spirit described with the term living water “Whoever believes in me out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

It is important to note that unlike Southern Illinois in the spring, the world of the Middle East has never been an area where water is in abundance.  In the ancient world and to a certain extent even today, having enough water to drink was a constant concern.   To use the metaphor of living water was also significant, because Jerusalem unlike many cities of the world did not have a river flowing through its city. Unlike us, the people of that day did not ready access to flowing water.  However, the people knew that the God of the Israelites had provided water in the past.  During their 40 years of desert wandering, water rocks were struck by Moses and waters for the people came gushing forth.  According to the Old Testament the waters would really flow when the Messiah would arrive.  “For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground.  I will pour my spirit upon your descendents  and my blessing on your offspring.”  (Isaiah 44:3)   Here we see that God’s Spirit is connected with Living Water.

Jesus starts out by saying these words “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink”.   The Spirit’s role is to show and deliver us the Savior, but to do this he also convicts the world of its thirst.  “When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement” (Mark 6:8) ….  There is an axiom in exercise that bids you to constantly drink water even if you are not thirsty.  Why?   Our body needs water, even if our mind hasn’t yet gotten the message.   It is this need for water, the need for the living water Jesus carefully brought out of the Samaritan women a few chapters earlier.   Jesus asked this woman for a drink, and she was floored that he would even talk to her.  He then showed how thirsty her life was by asking her to “Go get your husband”, she says I don’t have a husband.  Jesus responds by saying I know, you’ve had five husbands and the one you are living with now is not your husband”.   What was Jesus doing?  He was prepping her with the good news by allowing her to see her own thirst.   Sometimes we sense our thirst, our sins, our shame, our weaknesses before God and others in a very real way.  At other times our thirst is not as pronounced.  However, ultimately it is God’s Word that says we are thirsty.  “If we say we have not sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)”  Isaiah says “all our righteous acts, are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).   The quenching water of the Spirit poured out both at the resurrection and at Pentecost ultimately brings satisfaction to those who believed in Jesus, and he alone for their salvation. 

            Those who believe in Christ, have been blessed with the gift of faith.   This faith is no small thing.  It is as if we are now walking Oasis in a world that is a desert wasteland filled with lifeless people.  To the women at the well Jesus said if you drink what I have to offer you will never thirst again.  Paul says in Titus 3:5-6 “ he saved us , not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

            So what does the Holy Spirit bring us?   Through Jesus Christ, he brings to us certainty.  I had a teacher once tell me the “Holy Spirit is no skeptic”.  In other words when we struggle with fear or doubt, the Holy Spirit uses the tools of his trade to get us back to certainty.  These tools are God’s Word, his meal, and baptismal cleansing.  It is the Spirit who the Bible says is a “deposit “guaranteeing what is to come” (Ephesians 1:14) 

            Secondly, the Spirit is for all people.  In the past couple of years there has been talk of a “religious gene” which some people are given which make them more religious.  You and I know people who don’t seem to care about the gospel, or who don’t seem like they would possibly care about the good news.  Yet the fact is they are thirsty, and just as God can cause his Word to be spoken to different languages through every day apostles he can work in their heart.  God know the most non committal, irreligious person is in fact thirsty.  He also knows that the true church quencher comes from him not from us.  The Holy Spirit know no boundaries, and the living waters can and will flow to call, gather, and bring together many in the church.   

            The Holy Spirit not only brings the thirst quenching message of Jesus love into our lives but also certainty when we have doubts along with strength for the day.  His message is God’s message, and that means it is for all people.  also comes for all people, and he also allows us to bear fruit for him.  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22) By showing us Jesus he changes this relationship (point up and down), and he also changes this relationship (point outward).  Any good that we are allowed to do on our brief stay before heaven, is really his doing and his work through us. 

            The Spirit is about bringing to this parched world the living waters of Jesus love.  He uses his church to bring God’s Word to bear on peoples lives so that the thirsty will not only be satisfied but through faith will flow rivers of living water.”  Thanks be to God for the Spirit.  Amen.