If Anyone Thirsts…(John 7:37-38)
“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.” (NKJV)
Jesus was at the temple in Jerusalem during the feast of Tabernacles, and stood up to preach and declare the Word of God to the thousands gathered there to celebrate the feast. This was the final day of the eight day feast, when there was a big assembly of believers from all over the (then known) world. The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is a joyous feast of thanksgiving to God for His provision and forgiveness. (Last week we spoke about the aspect of thankfulness in Sukkot). The requirements for Sukkot are given in Leviticus 23:34-36, about the eight days of offerings and celebration beginning and ending with a “holy convocation”. The eighth and last day was the grand finale of the festival.
One of the Sukkot traditions involves the pouring out of life giving water. Here, the Priest would walk from the pool of Siloam to the altar at the Temple, carrying a pitcher of water, which he would pour upon the altar. This was an act of thanksgiving (in faith) for the winter rains to come, and another bountiful harvest in the spring. This tradition also represented to the Jewish people of Jesus' day that the Holy Spirit would be poured out when the Messiah came. It is while the Priest was pouring out the water on the altar that Jesus cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Jesus was revealing that He was the Messiah they had been waiting for!
People were tired of the burden of the law. They had lived with its increasingly onerous demands for thousands of years and were hungry for something different. There was a thirst for Truth and the reality of God and the people longed for a faith they could feel in their hearts and not calculate with their minds. They were tired of guilt and condemnation. It was time for a change but not everyone was willing to move towards satisfying this need. It required a change of thinking (faith), and that is sometimes too costly and painful!
Jesus is making the same offer to you and me today. He freely pours out the awesomeness of His Spirit on those who seek but who qualifies to receive?
1) Jesus said “If anyone thirsts”. How thirsty are you for the living waters? How much are you longing for more of His presence? A thirsty person drinks very differently to someone who is not in great need. A person who has walked through a desert and is gasping for a drink is not likely to pick up a glass and sip delicately from it. He would be so happy to see water that he may splash it all over his face and head, and toss it into his open mouth, gulping down great mouthfuls of it, while it ran down the side of his face and on to his clothes. He may not even care about what he looks like as he assuages his extreme thirst and satisfies his deep need. He drinks like he can never get enough! If you are thirsty for the living waters, the crystal river which flows from the throne of God, you can receive as much as you desire. In Old Testament times, only chosen prophets and kings partook of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Today, because Jesus tore the veil and brought us into the Holy place, we can all receive, and Abba pours out His Holy Spirit on anyone, according to their thirst, hallelujah. I am thirstier than ever before, and I love to drink deep and long of the living waters.
2) Jesus said “Let him come to Me”. Jesus is the baptizer, and the One who pours out His Spirit as much as we desire. In John 4:14, He said to the woman by the well: “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” He also said (John 15) “Abide in Me and I will abide in you” and John 14:16: “I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” Jesus is calling us to come to Him when we are hungry and thirsty for more of the Spirit. While impartation by the laying on of hands is a wonderful reality of Kingdom life, many of us run to people for more of the anointing when Jesus says “come to Me ” and “live in Me”. He is our source! He said (Luke 11:9) “So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened unto you” and verse 13: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” He says to us today “If you are thirsty, come to Me”. Wherever you are in your walk with God, take a decision today to get a little closer, to draw a little nearer, and to drink deeper from the River that flows from the Throne. Choose to come. Choose to drink. The choice is entirely yours!
3) Jesus said “He who believes”. We receive when we step forward in faith. Everything in the Kingdom is accessed by faith, and just as we first received the Holy Spirit in faith, we experience more and yet more dimensions of His presence and power as we take steps in faith, knowing that God wants to release more of His Kingdom into us. If you are hungry and thirsty for the things of the Spirit, believe for more! We drink from an infinite source which never runs dry. There is an old chorus I used to sing which goes like this:
“There is a River that flows from deep within.
There is a fountain to cleanse the soul from sin.
Come to the River, there is a vast supply.
There is a River that never shall run dry.”
4) Jesus spoke about “rivers of living waters”. A river is a moving body of water which is fed from a larger source and flows out into an ocean or larger river. The Lord is calling us to be rivers today, and not stagnant pools of water. Jesus said in Matthew 10:8 “Freely you have received, freely give”. Let the River flow into and through you. If you want more of the presence and power of God in your life, begin to freely give away what you already have. Minister His presence, His healing, His Words of life into someone who needs to receive, and you will find exceedingly abundantly more than you had asked or imagined flowing back into you. Then, you give away what you received, and receive some more, until you can barely contain the anointing of the Lord and it is always flowing like an electric river right through your life, as you go from strength to strength and glory to glory, hallelujah! “Come Holy Spirit, precious River of God. Fill our lives to overflowing. Emanate from our very beings. Be a River that we cannot contain and which bursts its banks each day to flood where we are!”
I feel that the blessed Holy Spirit wants to break many of His precious ones free of the burden of legalism and the spirit of condemnation which makes you feel like you can never do enough or be good enough for God. In the name of Jesus Christ, I break that lie of the enemy off your life, and speak His Holy and life giving Word over you, that you are fully loved, fully accepted and fully forgiven. You are also fully filled with His Holy Spirit. Lift up your cup to Jesus as you come to Him and drink, thanking Him in faith for filling your life to overflowing with the power of His presence. It is your portion and what He desires to give you. Be hungry and thirsty for more of His presence. It is all about His presence! May you experience a fresh revelation of the Holy Spirit, as the Messiah pours out fresh water upon your heart, and may His presence overshadow you and saturate you right where you are right now, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 08 October 2012
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