The Living Water! – John 7:37-53
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 19, 2015
I was reading an old western the other day by Louis L’Amour. In it the hero was trekking across the Southwestern desert without water when he comes to a small watering hole. He figures out that the water is no good; it is poisoned and would kill him if he drank it, and since there is no other water for miles he has to do something about it before he can drink it. This little piece of the short story I was reading made me begin to wonder how in the world do folks in our day and age know, when they are dying of thirst, if the water they are drinking is poisoned or not?
Folks can be poisoned by a lot of things: What they read, what they are taught, by the example given them from their peers or parents, or what they watch in movie or TV. Everything from our spirituality to our worldview can be slowly poisoned and we never realize it until we have to pay the ultimate price. The common folks of Jesus’ day were slowing being fed intellectual and spiritual poison, they needed clean, clear, and “living water” to drink from. Jesus offered them an undiluted view of God without any spiritual arsenic mixed in; he was the living water. Let’s discover what he teaches us about the living water…
READ: John 7:37-53
Political correctness has corrupted and poisoned how many think in our day and age. So much so that logical thinking is almost a lost art. And sadly there are those who are desperately looking for the truth but are slowly being poisoned. It was true in Jesus’ day as well. In fact we discover that…
I. The Living Water brings spiritual understanding! (Vv. 37-39)
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 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.
1. This section of John is interesting because the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated with certain festival rituals. One was a solemn procession each day from the temple to the Gijon Spring. A priest filled a gold pitcher with water while the choir would sing, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3 NIV)” They would then return to the altar and pour out the water. This ritual reminded them of the water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings. It also spoke prophetically of the coming days of Messiah, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. (Zechariah 14:8 NIV)” Here is the one who would bring about the Living Water of God for anyone who would place their faith and trust in him, standing in the temple courts crying out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” This was a wondrous and serious announcement. Jesus is telling them that the Living Water, the Spirit, would flow freely if anyone would come freely to him! The choice is ours just as it was theirs. They would receive the gift of God and he would freely flow from within the person! Because “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” It is hard for us to imagine because we live after the fact. We enjoy the gift of God readily when we trust Jesus with our lives. John explains why when he writes, “Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Jesus has now been glorified and because of that we know that the Living Water brings spiritual understanding!
EXAMPLE: My brother Ed had read the Bible before and like many before him who have, but who do not know Jesus personally as Savior and Lord, he did not fully understand its truth. He came to Denise and me in utter humility after giving his life to Christ. He readily confessed that what he had thought he had once understood before was nothing like what he now knew to be true. What was the difference? The power and presence of the Holy Spirit in his life! In fact, the promise that Jesus made to his disciples is for all believers, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26 NIV)” This is why Jesus told his followers, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63 NIV)” The Living Water brings spiritual understanding!
Dead water is that which is stagnant, murky, or full of unseen dangers. The Israelites understood the concept and distinction between living free flowing cool spring water and dead water that was stagnant, muddy, and foul. Their spirituality had become the latter, dead and stagnant. They needed to experience the living water of God brought about by the presence of the Holy Spirit. In their confusion they needed to learn that…
II. The Messiah brings the Living Water! (Vv. 40-44)
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
1. John shows us that some things never change and here we see that just as in our day and age where people argue as to whether Jesus is the Messiah or just a good man and wise teacher. Muslims believe he is a wise man and prophet, the world believes Jesus is a good man who taught good things, but the testimony of Scripture, of those who walked with him and lived with him and watched him die, and experienced the empty tomb (after he was glorified) and ate with him and spoke with him say otherwise. They testify to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah! So, we discover “On hearing his words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Christ (Messiah).’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ (Messiah) come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ (Messiah) will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?'” And in fact Jesus did because he was born in Bethlehem, the town where David’s family came from! The prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus! Jesus was and is the Prophet Moses spoke about, but more than that he is the Messiah from whom the Living Water of God flows. Afterwards, “the people were divided because of Jesus” and “some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him” because it was not yet his time to be ultimately rejected by them, falsely accused by their mouths, murdered by their schemes, handed over to others to murder and be crucified by their own enemies. It was not God’s timing. And no matter how much people try to intellectually dismiss Jesus, rewrite the history of Jesus, or pervert who he was we discover only the Messiah brings the Living Water!
EXAMPLE: What we fail to understand is the fact that we are all spiritually dead until we give our lives to Christ. We may think we understand deep spiritual truth, but what we think we understand is like the skim on top of a deep pool of water. All we see is the skim on top and not the deep pool below. It is unknowable to us. This why Paul would testify, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory! (1 Timothy 3:16 NIV)” And this is why Paul would rejoice, “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. (Ephesians 3:8-9 NIV)” Only the Messiah brings the Living Water!
Even today there is confusion concerning the Holy Spirit. Some falsely teach he is a power, like electricity, unknowable and impersonal. Others think of him as an “it’ without substance. None of this is true. The Holy Spirit is personal, a person, and part of the godhead — the Trinity. Father God, Jesus God, and Spirit God working in complete unity, function, and purpose. Each a personality and presence of God doing a specific intent and because of these we learn that…
III. The Living Water causes division! (Vv. 45-53)
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law — there is a curse on them.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” [Then each went to his own home.
1. It is kind of humorous but we find the befuddled “temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees.” They honestly do not know what to do with Jesus after trying to seize him and failing. Angered, by the temple guards returning without Jesus they ask, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” The guards could only offer, “No one ever spoke the way this man does!” Matthew relates that “When Jesus had finished saying these things; the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:28-29 NIV)” They had heard the same tired old teachings of the temple priests and the Pharisees. Jesus taught with fresh new insights and with the power and authority of God! Incredulous the priests and Pharisees respond, “You mean he has deceived you also?” Meaning that Jesus must have bewitched them in some way, which was not true. Then they offer up a false caveat by retorting, “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob knows nothing of the law — there is a curse on them!” None of what they said was true, but this is often the case with those who cannot argue from facts or logic; they often resort to innuendos, lies, or distortion in order to gain an audience. Like the Christophobes of our day and age; they resort to name-calling, half-truths, and straw dog arguments. As if to counter their very words, John offers up proof that indeed some of the Pharisees and rulers did begin to believe Jesus was the Messiah because “Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, ‘Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?'” Nicodemus was both part of the ruling council and a Pharisee. In fact God had instructed the Israelites, “Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it. (Deuteronomy 1:17 NIV)” Nicodemus offers up this very law in which they were to follow as an example, yet their ungodly reply is both bigoted and racist, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” Their prejudice and hatred against Jesus was already strong enough to overthrow reason. The now accused Nicodemus of being as ignorant as they thought Galileans, country hicks, were! The Living Water causes division!
EXAMPLE: What causes the division among folks concerning God is due to whether the concerned parties have the presence and power of God in their lives or not! There are those who try to manufacture spirituality through meditation, diet, or personal restriction or empowerment. These fail miserably because it is man trying desperately to obtain that which they never can — the mind of God. Paul would write, “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:11-14 NIV)” This is why the Living Water causes division!
The Living Water brings Spiritual understanding! The Messiah brings the Living Water! The Living Water causes division!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.