John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
This is a very famous passage for an excellent reason: it is the promise of the Holy Spirit to all who will believe. John clarifies that in the following verse, but I want to focus on what Jesus said. In the first place, He said it in a loud voice in a very public setting, and not even in a house of worship. In other words, this promise isn’t limited to a select few, to some sort of inner circle. Jesus’ words reinforce that. He didn’t say, “If any righteous person,” He said, “If anyone.” I’m reminded of what one evangelist reported Jesus said to him: “You catch ’em, I’ll clean ’em.” The only prerequisite Jesus mentions is thirst, that is, perceived need. We miss out on a lot of God’s blessings because we don’t recognize we need them. I think that is perhaps the major reason God allows all sorts of trials into our lives: to teach us how much we need Him. The devil would love to make our lives a living hell, but God never allows more than we can stand, if we will trust Him (1 Corinthians 10:13). Another thing that stands out to me in this is the quantity. The NIV tones it down slightly to “streams,” but the Japanese sticks with “rivers.” That’s not limited! John the Baptist specifically said that God gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3:34) We see what a life empowered by the unlimited flow of the Spirit looks like in Jesus. If we take John’s explanation of this declaration by Jesus along with what Jesus said to the disciples just before His crucifixion, (John 14:12) we realize that our lives should look a lot more like Jesus than they do today. We back off from that sort of promise, giving all sorts of excuses, but none of them hold water, if you’ll pardon the pun. By making excuses, we are rejecting God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, whom He wants to pour through us for His glory.
Wow and ouch! I certainly didn’t expect to receive such a strong Word this morning. Just yesterday in the message the Lord reminded me that it’s not just the gift of tongues that requires the will of the speaker, but also prophecy. I have bemoaned the fact that I have spoken very few prophecies in this church, when I am used that way often enough in other settings, but the Lord pointed out that it’s been because I’ve been afraid of offending people I will continue to deal with on a daily basis. At a meeting off somewhere, I might never see that person again, so I’m free to speak whatever the Lord puts on my heart. Here, I’ll have to deal with their questions and their follow-through in relation to whatever the Lord says. I must not fear man! The supply is unlimited, but if I turn off the spigot, nothing will flow. I do need to be very careful I don’t speak out of my own mind and imagination, but I have blocked blessings from people out of being afraid those blessings wouldn’t be received as blessings. I am to be fearless in my obedience so that God may use me freely, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this opportunity for repentance. Help me follow through in consistent obedience, and not deceive myself by just saying yes, yes, without acting. Keep me from any sense of self-importance, but rather help me stay fixed on You, so that I may be fully available to do whatever You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!