Day 32: Rivers

Read: John 7:37-39

Think about the last time you watched a great movie or read a riveting novel. What was the climax like? I’m thinking of Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers when Gandalf floods the plain near Helm’s Deep with light and charges in with reinforcements for his weary allies. Or, for a genre change, in The Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom appears onstage with Christine instead of Piangi, thwarting his impending capture and putting her life at risk. Those plot-twisting, heart-halting moments can steal the breath from an audience, slow down time, and reflect truth in beautiful ways.  

John 7:37-39 is, without question, the climax of this chapter. We’ve read for three days now of Jesus’ repeated rejection by members of His family, by the Jewish people, and by the religious authorities. All of this has taken place in Jerusalem, the Great City of Israel, during one of the biggest Jewish holidays, the Feast of Booths.  

John tells us that on the last day of the feast, when a priest would carry water from the Pool of Siloam and pour it out on the altar as a symbol of their expectation of the Messiah, Jesus stands up and cries out a message for the people. “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.” Jesus proclaims a message of beauty, mystery, hope, and fulfillment. Water is essential to life and sustenance. Jesus invites any and all to come and find life in Him!

John further clarifies Jesus’ invitation in verse 39. He points to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as the source of the new life that is available through Christ. “…the Spirit had not yet been given,” writes John, “because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John is able to provide this clarification in retrospect. He’s writing after Jesus’ death and resurrection and after the Spirit descended on the disciples. God, fully shown to humanity in the person of Jesus, offers the life of God to anyone who will believe in Him. How can this be?

Read aloud the words of Jesus. Write them out, then read them aloud again. Take a moment or two of silence to dwell on His invitation and promise. Don’t think too hard or too long, just meditate for a moment on the source of your life.

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