The Flow From Within
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. (John 7:37-39)
The Feast in today’s reading was Tabernacles, one of three occasions when all Jewish men had to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. The festival commemorated God’s provision, not only through the recent harvest, but also during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. It was one of the most popular festivals of Jesus’ day, full of joy and ceremony, including the highlight of priests taking a jug of water from the Pool of Siloam and going in procession to the altar in the temple where the water was poured out. This ritual happened every day for a week; but on the last day of the festival (‘the last and greatest day’), water was neither collected nor poured. It was, instead, a day of ‘sacred assembly’ (Leviticus 23:36). And it was on that day, when religion had run out, as it were, that Jesus invited men and women to come to him for an experience of the Spirit that would never run out and never run dry.
This is why any worship and prayer that discounts the Spirit, or that solely pays lip service to him, or that gives mere theological credence to him, is going back to the old ways that Jesus brought us out of. For he said that we should expect the Spirit’s life to ‘flow from within’ (John 7:38). This is something we are meant to experience, not just to think about. He wants us to know the Spirit’s presence, joy, promptings, gifts and guidance – yes, even as we pray today!
If you have never experienced that promised ‘flow’ of the Spirit, why not ask Jesus to release it within you today? If you have, ask him to let it flow again today!
‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit’ … When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:2, 6)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont