“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” John 7:37
Because the leadership in Judea was plotting to kill Him, Jesus had steered clear of Jerusalem for about six months and ministered in Galilee. The Feast of Tabernacles, however, was about to take place, and Jesus’ brothers, who still didn’t believe in Him, pressed Him to go to it. “My time has not yet come” (John 7:6), Jesus calmly replied.
At the Feast of Tabernacles, the Jews praised God for the completion of the harvest. They also built booths, little tabernacles, and lived in them for a week, remembering God’s faithfulness to their ancestors during their journey to the Promised Land.
The Feast of Tabernacles
After the feast began, Jesus went to it, “not openly, but as it were in secret” (John 7:10). All over Jerusalem, He was the topic of conversation and controversy. As Jesus began to teach, people puzzled over Him: “Isn’t this the Man the leaders want to kill? Why aren’t they taking Him in? Maybe they’ve decided that He’s the Messiah after all.” But many believed in Him. “He’s got to be the Messiah,” they said.
By Jesus’ time, a spectacular ritual had developed around the Feast of Tabernacles. Each day of the feast, the priests walked in a procession to the pool of Siloam and filled pitchers with water. Then they climbed the temple stairs to the altar and there, on the stone steps, poured out the water. This was reminiscent of water coming forth from the rock when the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness.
Now, on the final day of the feast, the priest dramatically poured the water on the stone. The people were gathered in a festive mood, and Jesus, almost certainly at the feast’s climactic moment, stood, probably in the very place where the priest had poured out the water, and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37).
Jesus, of course, was not offering literal water. He was appealing to the spiritual thirst in people’s hearts. He was calling people to satisfy their thirst in Him. He was not calling people to religion, which is what the Jewish leaders offered, or to church—although hopefully we can find Jesus at church—or to good works. He was calling people to Himself. Jesus’ invitation is about a relationship with God.
Jesus continued, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38). The prophet Ezekiel writes about a river that will flow one day from the throne of God in the millennial kingdom, “and everything will live wherever the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9). Jesus was saying that a river of life will proceed from all those who believe in Him and will bring life to everyone it touches. In other words, salvation is not just for our own personal benefit—it is to gush forth from us and touch the lives of others.
The Holy Spirit
Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom He would send after His death and resurrection. That day has now come. As Christ is enthroned in our lives, the Holy Spirit lives within us, and His power flows from us and brings life wherever it goes. It is powerful and glorious.
Are you barren and dry and dying for lack of water in any area of your life? Hear the invitation of Jesus and come to Him and drink. When the Lord pours His water of life upon you, you will be refreshed and revived. Then spiritual prosperity will come forth from you and refresh others.