November 1 Bible Reading: John Chapters 7-9
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
The Feast of Tabernacles was one of the holiest festivals of the Jews, and this festival originally celebrated Jehovah God dwelling with the Israelites throughout their wilderness journey (see Lev. 23:33–43). On each day of this festival, the people came with palm branches and marched around the great altar. During this time a priest took a golden pitcher filled with water from the Pool of Siloam, carried it to the temple, and poured it on the altar as an offering to God. This ceremony was a memorial of the water that flowed from the rock when the Israelites traveled through the wilderness. On the last day of the feast, the people marched seven times around the altar in memory of the seven times they had previously walked around the walls of Jericho.
Jesus Christ chose to keep a low profile at this festival (vv. 2–10), and as He taught in the temple (v. 14), He waited for the right moment to declare Himself publicly. It was on the last great day of the feast - probably at the climax of the daily processional when the priest was pouring water on the altar - when Jesus stood up and cried out for everyone to hear: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
In this declaration of Jesus, there were three preconditions set up for the miraculous to take place in the life of any person: (1) the person should thirst (or, have a spiritual need), (2) the person should go to Jesus by faith to quench the thirst, and (3) the person should drink the living water that Jesus offers freely (Isa. 55:1). Thus, at the climax of the feast, Jesus repeated dramatically the message He had earlier given to the Samaritan woman (4:10–14) making clear that coming to Him meant believing in Him. Through this great declaration, Jesus offered living water to all who thirst, and continued satisfaction to all who would believe in Him!
The living water which Jesus offered was the Holy Spirit, who would empower believers for the work of evangelism and witnessing Jesus (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet fulfilled His mission on earth. It was on the Day of Pentecost that He would send the Holy Spirit to His disciples so that they could fulfill His ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 10:4). All who would believe in Jesus would have their own needs supplied, get satisfied, and thereafter the rivers of spiritual blessing would flow out from them to others (Isa 44:3-4; 55:1–2). It was Temple who made the following observation: “No one can be indwelt by the Spirit of God and keep that Spirit to himself. Where the Spirit is, He flows forth; if there is no flowing forth, He is not there.”
This is the question you should ask yourself: Is my heart overflowing rivers of living water (of spiritual blessing)? In other words, have you gone to Jesus and asked Him for the free gift of the Holy Spirit? (See Luke 11:13) As Apostle Peter explains that Jesus has gifted the Holy Spirit to the Church on the Day of Pentecost: "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He (Jesus) poured out this...(gift of the Holy Spirit)" (Acts 2:33)