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. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 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.
Jesus turned up for the Festival of Tabernacles, a festival in which Israel celebrated the gathering of the harvest and God’s miraculous protection as they left Egypt. As part of the festivities water would be poured over the altar alongside the usual wine. This was such a joyous occasion the people would celebrate with music, dancing and singing all night long [see sukkot].
Jesus stood in a very public place and claimed he was the true source of this living water who is the Spirit of God, and through believing in him we can not only receive but have a whole river of this living Spirit-water flowing from within us!
The question is: are you thirsty?
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
We’re all in desperate need of this water, but if we don’t know it we’re in dire straits:
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
This is a great question wherever you are at with God – do you thirst to go deeper?
‘I thirst’ was among Jesus’ last words while on the cross. Was this just physical dehydration or was he thirsty to fulfil the Scriptures? What was in Jesus’ heart? He’d come to fulfil the purpose of God and bring in the Kingdom, so he was thirsting for his purposes to be fulfilled and for the Holy Spirit to be poured out and come to live in human hearts.
We need to be a thirsty people – thirsty for God the Holy Spirit. The more we thirst and drink the more our deep existential thirst will be fulfilled and God’s good reign will be advanced.