The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict, Jesus Urged to Go to the Feast of Tabernacles, Part IX, John 7:37-46 - Lesson 56
Read Verses John 7:37,38,39, In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
It is the day described in Lev 23:36 where God instructs the children of Israel: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
It is the concluding day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
The people are to thank God for all the fruit of the past year, the vine, the olive, the wheat and the barley and the gift of rain to make the fruit grow.
Jesus proclaims in a loud voice to the great crowds gathered in the temple court, a truth that gladdens the heart of the believer, but hardens the heart of the unregenerate.
Jesus had already told the Samaritan woman in John 4:14, ... whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
He now tells those assembled here that not only will the water he gives refresh ones own soul, but will flow out to refresh the lives of others.
He calls those who thirst, those who are hungry, those who know that they are empty and need filling, to come to him and drink.
He speaks of an intense longing in a soul that only the Spirit of God can create.
It is the panting of the soul described in Psalm 42:1.
He tells the hungry soul to come.
To come is an act of faith.
It signifies a turning away from the world, a recognition that your confidence in yourself and the things of the world is totally false and that you are wrong and that Jesus Christ is right.
Come implies repentance.
It is casting off self made confidences and putting on the confidences of the Lord.
It is scaling the walls of the city of the mighty and casting down the confidences thereof.
Come means that you realize that grace and truth are in Jesus Christ and him alone.
But Jesus does not stop with come.
He commands you to drink.
The soul must not only come but he must receive the water into himself.
He must drink.
He must receive into himself the Christ.
He must make Christ his own.
He must appropriate for himself the grace of God in the same way that he personally must drink his own water if his physical thirst is to be quenched.
Another cannot drink it for him.
Another's drink cannot quench his thirst.
Jesus continues with this astounding message: He says:
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Why does he refer to the belly?
How can water flow out of the belly?
The belly of man is that part of man which constantly hungers.
It is the natural man's god as Phil 3:19, says.
The belly of man is never continually satisfied.
If satisfied it soon cries out for something else to satisfy its craving.
But the water that Jesus gives not only satisfies the innermost parts of the believer, the spiritual belly Jesus calls it, but the believer's belly will overflow to others with the water of life which satisfies.
This is the same language that John uses in John 4:14, He shall be a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
The believer is a well and out of the belly of the believer can flow rivers to satisfy the thirst of others.
Christ the living water is an everlasting flow, an everlasting fountain, an everlasting river of water.
But here in this passage, John tells us, Jesus Christ is referring to the Holy Spirit as rivers of living water.
In the believer he is an overflowing supply able to minister to the needs of others.
A saved person is concerned about the spiritual health of others.
Do you know why you are concerned about others?
It is because God through his Spirit is concerned about others.
He satisfies you and there is a non-ending supply of God's Spirit to satisfy others.
The Holy Spirit filled the disciples on the day of Pentecost, and the rivers began to flow.
Thousands drank of the water.
Thousands were saved.
Their bellies were satisfied and out of their bellies the Spirit flowed to others.
Those who come to Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who fills them and then pours out his blessing to others through that belly.
The person is simply the conduit of blessing, the channel of blessing.
The person is filled and has a non-ending supply to fill others.
Jesus could indeed say: He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7:40-43, Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.
Many of the people were impressed by the gracious words that came from the mouth of our Lord.
But they simply said that this is the prophet.
There is no indication that they received him.
Words are cheap but belief takes action.
Belief will cause decision.
Others said, this is the Christ, but how can it be seeing that the Christ comes out of Bethlehem.
They were acquainted with the prophesy but they were ignorant of the facts that were available to them.
The Messiah stood before them but they knew him not.
They had a head knowledge of the scripture but they had never let it affect their heart.
We can memorize the scripture but until it affects our heart the memorized verses will abide in our head in vain.
God is looking for action, he is looking for a yielding of will to him.
He is looking for a doer of the word and not a hearer only.
He is looking for a heart that says that God is right and that I am wrong.
He is looking for a heart that says, Change me!
So there was a division among the people because of him.
Remember that Jesus said in Luke 12:51,52 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Why are we so prone to wanting unity in our Christian life?
Why do we compromise our beliefs in the interest of unity and peace when the example of the Lord Jesus Christ shows us that the broadcasting of truth will bring division?
Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you, he warns us.
1 Cor. 11:19, says: For there must be also heresies (or a dis-union) among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
There must be division if we are to be true to truth.
There must be a separation when truth is preached.
If there is not, then truth has not been preached.
We ought not be surprised if we cause division.
We ought to be surprised if we don't!
John 7:44-46, And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Some of the officers would have taken him.
The Greek word used here is the word for desired.
They desired to take him, they had the will to take him, but they did not have the power.
All power is of God and God had not given them power to take his Son.
His hour had not yet come.
God indeed directs the affairs of men.
Jeremiah knew this when he said in Jer. 10:23, O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
The Pharisees were ignorant of the sovereign will of God.
They thought they were in charge.
They thought they controlled events.
Why have ye not brought him, they ask!
It was incredible to them that a group of armed men could not bring into custody one unarmed man from their own territory, the temple courts.
Never man spake like this man, they answer.
What a wonderful testimony of unbelievers who heard the word of Christ.
It was not a testimony of his miracles but of his word.
His word was the sword that drove these officers back to the Pharisees.
It was the sharp two-edged sword of the Lord.
This is what we are to elevate!
This is what we are to magnify.
The word of God is to be given pre-imminence.