I now find myself in the seventh chapter of John, and thought I’d skip to a passage that I’ve spent many a time meditating on, teaching from, thinking about and reflecting on:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “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.'” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39 ESV).
One thing I find very interesting about this passage, is it mentions at the beginning of verse 7 that it was the last day of the feast. We know from the beginning of the chapter, that this was the Feast of Booths or as it was also called the Feast of Tabernacles. This post is not intended to go into a study about the feasts, but each one of the feasts Israel would observe did point to or represent the Messiah in some way, and this particular feast was the last of seven in total throughout the Jewish calendar, and John makes mention that Jesus shared these words publicly on the last day of this feast.
So what does this mean? I’m not sure entirely, but keep in mind, that Israel would celebrate by spending seven days of this feast living in booths or tents, to commemorate God’s faithfulness in bringing them out of Egypt into their own land. Kinda like a how we’re wanderers in this earth and don’t have a home of our own as believers until Christ sets up His Kingdom. But just as Moses struck the ‘rock’ twice and water flowed out and they drank in the wilderness, so we’re to perpetually drink from our Rock, Jesus Christ and come to him and drink daily. See my previous post, No Loafing Allowed for more about feeding and drinking daily, on continuous basis.
Notice, unlike what he told the woman by the well in John 4 about just not ever thirsting again, but believers would have rivers of living water coming out of them? For what purpose? Among other things, to refresh others as well. It’s not about just following Jesus and our thirst will be quenched, but we’re to quench other peoples’ thirsts as well.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
I’ve had this on my mind a bit, not just because I’m reading through and blogging the Gospel of John and reached this particular chapter, but because I saw somebody post a link either on Twitter or Facebook–can’t remember which–to an article on CNN entitled “Do You Speak Christian?” and the author makes a quote earlier on in the piece, that most people have an idea of church lingo and how to use them properly, but actually don’t necessarily know what they’re talking about. In the Western culture, it’s easy to speak certain things and sound like you’re in the in crowd. As the author states:
Many Americans are bilingual. They speak a secular language of sports talk, celebrity gossip and current events. But mention religion and some become armchair preachers who pepper their conversations with popular Christian words and trendy theological phrases.
If this is you, some Christian pastors and scholars have some bad news: You may not know what you’re talking about. They say that many contemporary Christians have become pious parrots. They constantly repeat Christian phrases that they don’t understand or distort.
Interesting huh? It’s a lengthy article, but what I was expecting the author to get into, and he did, was how politicians know how to do this. But yet, they pander and cater to the general Christian population in their cultures, and their policies and lifestyles demonstrate they are anything but. However, due to the highly superficial nature of such a large faction of the Church in general, many buy it hook, line, and sinker just because the right lingo was used. Look at the president of the United States— a man whom I know personally some Christians who defend having voted for him believing him to be “one of our own”, never minding the his pro – abortion and pro-gay rights stances.
Jude 12 refers to a type of person, appearing on the outside to be like a believer, one of the in-crowd but who is really just a waterless cloud. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.“
How Do you Spot the Difference?
The words that one speaks has life, and the other is empty and nothing results from it. Like a cloud without water, you see the big thunder cloud coming on the horizon, and as it gets over you, you experience no rain, nothing is watered, nothing is refreshed…and then it keeps on going. It looked promising from a distance, but once you experienced it, it was just empty. Possibly even hype. Whereas, like Jesus, they said of him “nobody has ever spoken with such authority.” (Matthew 7:29)
A key to being filled with these rivers of living water and having them come out of us is found in the following text:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph 5:18-21)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)
Are you a Christian poser, lots of style but no substance? Do people listen to you? Are you taken seriously or are your words empty? Do you bring life to people who hear your words? This is how people can tell whether you’re a river of living water, or a waterless cloud.