Rivers of Living Water

John 7:37-42 – 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. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

2014-01-10 - Rivers of Living Water (IMG_8028)The waters of Reynolds Creek cascade over the rocks just above Deadwood Falls. Glacier National Park, Montana.

I think there are times that we, as Christians in the present day, imagine how wonderful it would have been to walk and talk with Jesus during his life here on earth.  We think to ourselves, if only we could have seen him perform just one of his miracles, how much easier it would be for us to believe.  Not that knowing Christ in the flesh would have been a bad thing, in fact I am sure it had to be an incredible experience.  However, as believers today we have some very significant advantages, or should I say blessings.

First of all we have the full story laid out in front of us in Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation and everything in between.  As today’s passage indicates some who encountered Jesus realized he was special, that he was quite possibly “the Prophet,” or “the Christ,” foretold by the prophets of old.  Still, others questioned it because they assumed he came from Galilee, while Scriptures said he was to be a descendant of David from the town of Bethlehem.  Many, I am sure witnessed his miracles, but there were also many who did not.  None of them, though, had the written word of the Gospels to tell them the full narrative of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.  They could not just pull a Bible off their bookshelf and compare the prophecies of the Old Testament to the detailed accounts in the four Gospels like we can.  What a blessing!

Another advantage we have is the interpretive comments we often find in the Gospels.  When Jesus says, “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,’” I suspect this would have been a difficult saying for many in his day to understand.  For us though, John immediately tells us, “Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  For us there is no guesswork.  What a blessing!

Last but not least, we have the advantage of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  For those in Jesus day, “as yet the Spirit had not been given.”  But for the believer today, as we read in Ephesians 1:13-14, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”  Those who believed in Jesus day could look forward to receiving the Holy Spirit.  For believers today, we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” from the start.  What a Blessing!

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2014.

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Like a Tree Planted by Water

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

2013-12-14 - Like a Tree Planted by Water (IMG_2958)Sycamore trees along the bank of Caesar Creek.  Caesar Creek Gorge State Nature Preserve, Oregonia, Ohio.

The sycamore tree is a common sight along the creeks and rivers here in southwest Ohio.  The mature trees are quite beautiful, and also easy to identify, with their smooth, white bark.  If you spot a sycamore you can be pretty certain there is a stream nearby.

Just as we find many passages in the Bible where God is glorified by his creation, examples from nature, like today’s passage in Jeremiah, are often used to provide practical illustrations of important scriptural truths.  We understand the need that trees have for water, and easily grasp that these sycamores, growing near a stream, will have a sustained source of water even in times of drought.

In the fourth chapter of John’s Gospel we find Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman beside a well and read of their exchange:

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:10-14)

You see, Christ is the “living water” that carries us through the droughts, the one who helps us flourish even in the difficult times of life.  But, if we have not put down our roots by the stream, if we have not put our trust in him, how then will be able to draw upon this “spring of water welling up to eternal life?”

Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts

© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.