On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39 NIV)
The great news is that since Jesus made this promise, he has been glorified through his death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit has been given! He now indwells every believing heart. What a glorious deposit guaranteeing a great eternal future and an abundant present in God. Money in the bank, baby!
From these verses we see that Jesus mentions only two prerequisites for us to first receive and then release rivers of living water, aka the Holy Spirit:
- Belief in Him – not just what he did 2000 years ago, but also believing that He is a giver of good gifts today. If we ask our Father for bread He will not give us a stone … this implies ongoing relationship and intimacy. Believing Him in the real everyday issues of life: that He is the answer for all our needs, questions and challenges. When we believe lies which question His goodness, we short-circuit the flow of His River in our lives. Conversely, when we allow the Spirit to flow in and through us, we experience the beautiful fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, etc. These proofs of the Spirit will be evident within our heart even when the circumstances scream otherwise. Have you ever come across a believer who is genuinely joyful and peaceful even though they might be going through difficult things? Well, it’s because they’ve learned to allow the Spirit to flow within regardless of the outward.
- Thirst for Him – Is anyone thirsty? We can be content, but we must never be satisfied with where we are in God. There is so much more of this glorious inheritance to have and to experience. To lack hunger, thirst and pursuit of Him is to limit any forward momentum in God … which is the same as moving backwards! Don’t believe the lie that living under grace means that Jesus has done it all therefore you do nothing. Dallas Willard, the brilliant spiritual formation professor says, “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.”
Are you thirsty for a deeper experience of Jesus in your day-to-day life? If so, ask Holy Spirit to give you a thirst and a hunger for him, so that you yearn for Jesus and the things of his kingdom with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength! And then let the River flow to spill over onto the hearts of the people that God brings your way!