Thursday 04 June 2020

Bible Book:

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.’ (v. 37)

John 7:37-39 Thursday 4 June 2020

Psalm: Psalm 146


John’s Gospel is filled with vivid and earthy images that connect our earthly needs to our eternal desires. In this short passage, the water that Jesus offers us is more than earthly water; it is the gift of the Spirit that Jesus promises to those who believe in him.

This passage fits into the first half of John’s Gospel in which a number of ‘signs’ punctuate the narrative and Jesus teaches against the backdrop of a number of key Jewish festivals. The festival that forms the background of this passage is the ‘festival of booths’ or the ‘festival of tabernacles’, an autumn harvest festival in which people also camped in and around Jerusalem to recall the wilderness wanderings (Leviticus 23:33-44). Prior to this passage, Jesus had travelled to the festival and began teaching the people about his own identity and mission (7:25-36).

Now "on the last day of the festival", Jesus makes an incredible offer. Having previously declared that he has been sent from God (7:28-29), Jesus offers them ‘living water’ that will quench the thirst of those who drink it. Significantly, the feast of tabernacles involved prayer for rain alongside libations of water upon the altar, and in such a context Jesus offers living water. There is no single verse that precisely corresponds to the citation in verse 38, but Jesus is probably summarising on a number of Old Testament texts (Isaiah 12:3; 43:19; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 13:1). The water that Jesus provides will satisfy the thirst of the believer, but that the Spirit given to the believer will be a source of life to others around them. The life-giving Spirit allows believers to help others discover that life.

John ends by explaining explicitly that Jesus refers here to the Spirit. And yet the giving of the Spirit will await the future; when Jesus is glorified – at his death – the Spirit will be poured out. What a joy it is that we can pray and long for this Spirit and know the reality of the Spirit in our lives!


To Ponder:

  • How do you thirst for the Spirit in your own life?
  • How have you experienced the ‘life-giving Spirit’ working through you?
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