DayBreaks for 2/25/2019: I AM #9: The Living Water
John 7:37-38 (ESV) – 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.’”
While Jesus doesn’t explicitly use the “I AM” phrase here, his claim is equally strong: he is the source of living water. What was living water? It was moving water – safe to sustain life – as opposed to stagnant water such as that in the Dead Sea.
Jesus makes this statement during the feast of tabernacles which the people referred to as “the season of our gladness,” for it marked the completion of the harvest. Josephus called it “the holiest and the greatest festival among the Jews”. It wasn’t just for the rich; it was for everyone – the rich, the poor, the stranger, the widow and servants – all were to share in the universal joy.
During this festival, a priest took a golden pitcher which held about two pints of water and went down to the Pool of Siloam where it was filled. He carried it back through the Water Gate while the people recited Isa 12:3: With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. The water was taken to the Temple altar and poured out as an offering to God. As that was taking place, the Hallel—that is, Ps 113-118—was sung to the accompaniment of flutes by the Levite choir. When they came to the words, “O give thanks to the Lord” and again to the words, “O work now then salvation”, and finally to the closing words, “O give thanks to the Lord”, the worshippers shouted and waved their palms towards the altar. The whole ceremony was a vivid thanksgiving for God’s good gift of water, an acted prayer for rain, and a memory of the water which sprang from the rock when they travelled through the wilderness. On the last day the ceremony was doubly impressive for they marched seven times round the altar in memory of the sevenfold circuit round the walls of Jericho, whereby the wails fell down and the city was taken.
Against this background and perhaps at that very moment, Jesus’ voice rang out: If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.” It is as if Jesus said: “You are thanking and glorifying God for the water which quenches the thirst of your bodies. Come to me if you want water which will quench the thirst of your soul.” He was using that dramatic moment to turn men’s thoughts to the thirst for God and the eternal things.
The concept behind “living water” is water that is moving, flowing. Such water is safe to drink as opposed to stagnant water such as was found in the Dead Sea. It would be cooler and more refreshing – it was the kind of water that could sustain life.
Jesus’ claim is that he is able to provide us with the refreshing, safe water we long for and more – that we will become channels for that water to flow out to others. But like the Dead Sea, we can’t be channels of blessing unless we stop just taking in water – we must let it flow through us as the water from the Jordan flows through the sea of Galilee. Let it flow through you today!
PRAYER: Lord, our spirits are thirsty until we drink deeply of you! Let us let your water flow through us to the parched spiritual desert in which we live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>