“Rivers of living water”

A really challenging saying of Jesus was, “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38). Jesus is obviously NOT speaking of people feeling a physical thirst! What is the ‘water’ that will flow out of believers? What scripture had ‘said’ this? Isaiah is the scripture and in the way the prophet makes the point we see more clearly what Jesus means. Look at Isaiah 12 “You will say in that day … ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid … he has become my salvation’ With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (verses 1-3).

Then in chapter 58, we read of times of failure when people put on a show of righteousness (verses 1-4) that “did not make your voice to be heard on high” (verse 4). But for those who were genuinely righteous the time will come when, “the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire … and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (verse 11). This is the prospect of living on earth when the whole world becomes a Garden of Eden.

Remember the conversation Jesus had with the Samaritan woman, when he said he could provide “living water” to drink – if the woman had asked for it! (John 4:10). What did he mean? Isaiah has made it clearer what he meant! But until that time comes, John’s gospel provides a rich source of nutrients for those with a thirsty mind!

We must ask ourselves ‘Is my mind thirsty?’ Remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the mount? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6). To do that you must have a genuine dissatisfaction with the nutrients this world provides. Ask yourself, ‘Am I satisfied with the way I think, the things that occupy my mind? Do you go to bed at night thinking your day has included times of positive spirituality?’ It is sad that many are not conscious they are suffering from spiritual malnutrition. This is a tragic situation, especially among young people, with so many looking for “kicks” in enjoying all the froth and bubble of life today, the very opposite of “living water”.

In the Bible’s final message we have God on the throne saying, “To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless …” (Revelation 21:6-8). Let us live today and all the tomorrows in this mortal life wearing “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).