Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water’”—John 7: 37-38.
When was the last time you were super thirsty? I mean like totally parched. Take just a second and remember that feeling—the sheer desperation of needing something to quench your thirst. It brings to mind the image of a lone traveler in a desert gazing into the horizon in search of a cool spring. I’ve never had to crawl across the desert, but I think the thirstiest I’ve ever been was during college when I worked at a summer camp. It was fun but swelteringly hot outside. The heat alone was one factor, but, also, the many activities we did during the day made me primed for dehydration. Running, swimming, hiking, sports competitions—by mid-afternoon my throat was raw and lips cracked. On multiple occasions I remember being tempted to drink water straight from the fishing pond because my thirst was so painful.
Each afternoon one of the counselors walked around the camp to the various work stations bearing cold drinks. One particular summer, my afternoon assignment found me on the last stop on the cold drink run. Inevitably, the only thing left was a hot, syrupy soda. It never failed. I took the Dr. Pepper—or even worse, grape soda—and in my moment of desperation tilted my head back and took a long drink. For a minute, the need was gone. But just as quickly, my thirst was back and raging with a vengeance. Only one thing was going to satisfy and that was the genuine article: H2O. I was in desperate need of the real thing.
As I think about how intense my thirst was during those long, hot days, I can’t help but see the similarity between my body’s thirst for real water and my soul’s thirst for God.
Just as God created within each of us a thirst mechanism for water and a hunger mechanism for food, so he also placed within our souls a thirst for him. As French philosopher Blaise Pascal once said, “Man was created with a God-shaped vacuum in his soul that can only be filled by God Himself.” Essentially, the soul thirst was our need for connection with our Life-source, Jesus Christ.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus gave an invitation to thirsty souls to come to him and find refreshment. He said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water’”—(John 7: 37-38).
Friends, the significance of his statement will be oh so clear with a little background scoop. Jesus makes this announcement during the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Jewish people were commanded by the Lord to throw a huge party in memory of how he met their every need during their wilderness journey (from slavery in Egypt into the Promised Land). This feast celebrated the fact that when they were in the desert—desperate, dehydrated, and despairing of life—God provided for them in a super-natural way... their primary need ...WATER.
Each year the Jewish people descended on Jerusalem for this event. This joyous feast was rich with symbolism. On the last, and the greatest day of the feast, the high priest would lead the people in a procession from the Temple Mount through the city of Jerusalem to the pool of Siloam. Here, the priest would fill a pitcher with water, and the parade would continue back to the Temple. In the midst of thousands of worshipers, the high priest would pour the water from the pitcher onto the altar. I know. I know. Kind of sounds strange to us today, but this act symbolized how the Lord had provided life-giving water for the people and how he would continue to do so each year.
Stop. Ponder. Let the reality of the moment sink in.
At the pinnacle of the celebration, with the entire city in complete silence, Jesus arose and cried out for all to hear, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink and out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” That’s what I call a scene-stealing moment.
Who says such things?
Who makes such claims?
Who can call Himself the source of life?
Jesus, that’s who.
Jesus made the audacious claim that he is the fulfillment of this Old Testament symbol. He is the Living Water—the source of life for those who walk through any wilderness.
Jesus came to quench our thirst for love, acceptance, peace, and life. He alone can fill our innermost being. And he invites us to come to him and drink. Here, to “drink” means to believe, to trust, to experience... this is far more than simply knowing facts about Jesus. Think about it. Drinking implies experiencing Christ. Forsaking other sources of water—admitting that they will never satisfy—and going to the real thing.
It is easy to see the empty wells of this world that tempt us to come and drink. Wells that never truly satisfy. As followers of Jesus, we have the Fount of Living Water available to us. Don't let the busyness of life drive you to spiritual dehydration, turn to Jesus and allow Him to fill you with Living Water.