John 7:37 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”
Hunger and thirst is something that people can instantly relate to. In his own ministry, Jesus travelled extensively and his disciples, along with all travellers, would know where the wells were situated throughout the region to draw water. Like Jacob’s well, just outside Sychar, where Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman and told her that he could give her living water. The woman had replied, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?” In Jesus’ reply, he tells her, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Jesus had come to offer life to the dead and his time of ministry was short. You can feel the urgency in his plea as he stood up and cried out. Rabbis would normally sit and teach so this immediately feels different as he continues to beseech the people, saying, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’”. Some of the people may have recalled the words of Isaiah, ‘Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation, and you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord (55:1/12:3).
This took place at the Feast of Booths, a time of remembering the 40 years in the wilderness, a time of thanksgiving for God’s provision, a time of prayer for the rains for the next year’s harvest. Jesus wanted them to recognized the drought in their own lives and their need for life-giving water. There were those among the crowd who responded and believed, saying, “This is the Christ” and I wonder if they recalled the word of the prophet Zechariah, who declared:
“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”
That fountain of life is available to all who thirst for truth, who seek forgiveness and who long to be filled with the ever-flowing streams of living water that come from Spirit of God. A spring of water welling up and running over, immersing us in His abundant life.