Come and Drink (02-02-22)
Bible Reading: John 7:37-39
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,
"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said,
rivers of living water will flow from within them."
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.
Helen and I have visited Israel once, it was in November, the temperature during the day was 35 degrees and, to our dismay, the roof-top swimming pool at the hotel was closed ‘because it is winter!’ Wintertime or not, at 35 degrees we still needed an abundant supply of bottled water as we explored the wonderful sites in Israel, ancient and modern.
It was in this climate that Jesus spoke the words, ‘"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.’ The festival at which he said this was the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’, or ‘Sukkot’ as the Jews know it, and it occurs in September or October, when the daytime temperature would no doubt exceed 35 degrees, and everyone would know what it is to thirst.
Needless to say, Jesus here was not offering parched travellers a drink of bottled water but was using people’s physical thirst to teach a spiritual truth, a truth that we all have a thirst that can only be quenched when we come to Jesus to drink of the life-giving Holy Spirit.
On the surface we might thirst after many different things today, some might be essential to life, some less so, and some indeed might be harmful to life, ours or someone else’s. We may try to quench this thirst with possessions, activities or addictions, but find the thirst is never fully satisfied.
I wonder if, behind whatever it is we thirst for, there isn’t a deeper thirst, a thirst for love and for significance. Deep down I think we all want to know that we are loved and that we are valued.
This is the thirst that is quenched when we come to Jesus to receive his life-giving Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God who tells us that we are loved by God unconditionally, and valued by him as priceless, just for who we are and not for what we do or for what we accumulate.
When God’s Holy Spirit meets these deeper needs, I think we will find that our other needs are met as well. The Spirit we receive, to miss-quote a phrase from an old Heineken advert, is ‘The Spirit who refreshes the parts that other spirits cannot reach’.
And, when we come to Jesus and drink of his living water, we have within us the source of life and love that will flow out from us, as Jesus said, to refresh those around us who also thirst.
Lord Jesus, I come to you, today to drink of your life-giving Holy Spirit. Fill me afresh, that your life might flow from me to those around me who are thirsty.
River, wash over me