Is Anyone Thirsty?

 
 

INTRODUCTION

waterfall I want to begin this morning by talking about a festival. (As I talk about the festival I am going to give you some words that provide us with a spiritual backdrop) to the
The festival of Tabernacles

Harvest
Tabenacles is the Jewish Harvest Festival providing them with an opportunity to thank God for the annual harvest AND for God feeding them throughout their wandering in the desert.
Food
Provision
Its an eight day festival and involved the making of little tents on their roofs tents of branches and palm leaves- This symbolises the fact that in the desert they were not yet home. Journey
They were in temporary houses. In that state of complete dependence on God He provided for them.
Dependence
On particularly powerful part of the festival by the time Jesus was around, was that each day. In Jerusalem, the priest would go down with a crowd to the pool of Siloam.
Fresh water
This pool was the only source of fresh water in the old city and and was created by the digging of tunnel which came from a spring deeper in the heart of the city. The tunnel is still there today.
 
He would take from the pool a jug of water that he would then poor along with a jug of wine on the altar to symbolise God’s provision not just of food but also drink.
 
As they processed from the pool to the temple they would sing a particular song which comes from Isaiah 12 In particular verse 3
 
Isa 12:1 In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, O LORD.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.
 
Isa 12:2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.”
Isa 12:3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.
Isa 12:4 In that day you will say:
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Isa 12:5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
Isa 12:6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you
 
Tabernacles for the Jewish people was not just an annual harvest festival It was thanksgiving for God saving them from the desert of Egypt and all that followed, It was and also is a calling on God to provide the ultimate harvest that the messiah would bring.
 
  1. Jesus makes His declaration of fulfilment

 
Now the bible passage I want to look at this morning is from John’s gospel Chapter 7 and I need to say that you SHOULD after this mornings message be able to draw a clear connecting line from the word I brought to you weeks ago In which I called on you to unblock the wells in your life. There is also a direct and living connection to the message of Gospel forgiveness that Brian brought us last week.
 
Let’s read the passage
Jn 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Jn 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Jn 7:39 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.
Jn 7:40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Jn 7:41 Others said, “He is the Christ.”
 
I t is incredibly tempting to put more and more layers of context and meaning into these passages. But I do so want to keep the message clear today.
 
The last and greatest day of the feast was – The feast of tabernacles.
 
Jesus was saying You wandered in the desert thirsty, Even now you know that your lives are unfulfilled and you long for the promised salvation promised by this festival.
 
I am the fulfilment of that promise
 
You are thirsty there is within you a well a source, which God has placed there.
Which will refresh and empower you for purpose.
 
It is here that Jesus gives us the REASON for the spirit’s empowerment. He chooses to make this declaration in the middle of the feast of tabernacles which is primarily what festival
 
A HARVEST FESTIVAL-
 
God provides for purpose. He gives to us that we will then go empowered by the spirit and reap the harvest.
 

3. The power of language.

 
Now I am certain that most of us here are reading John 7 from an NIV Bible, and here as in too many other places, the translation lacks the power of the original text. 
 
If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink is fine but then a little further on it says whoever believes in me as the scriptures has said streams of living water will flow from within him
 
Well let’s start with the word streams shall we
 
It’s a good word but it is NOT the word Jesus used
The way this word is used I wonder if the people who translated the NIV don’t believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
 
Maybe they were tempted to say trickles of Living water OR even how about this
 
whoever believes in me as the scriptures has said a dribble of living water will flow!!
 
You see its here that once again the King James gets nearer to it when it says?
 
Rivers of Living water.- But even that does not necessarily convey Jesus’ heart on the matter. The word used her can also mean
 

A torrent- an uncontrollable torrent.

 
Even the Message gets closer than the NIV saying Brim and spill out of the depths.
 
He is making this statement against the backdrop of the priest who maybe has just returned with that jug and poured it out on the altar and the guys all round are watching it in the dusty temple they have been standing talking and watching – they suddenly think to themselves- I could murder a pint of lager.
 
He looks around at them and taps into that longing both for physical and spiritual refreshment and says
 
voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Jn 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, torrents of living water will flow from within him.”
 
But hang on there’s another bit here that does not quite do it either. It says in the NIV
 
Will flow from within him.
 
Jesus here uses a word that means from your deepest innards from the core of you from the you that is really you.
 
You do not want a superficial and short lived experience of refreshment Jesus is saying from you depths.
 
Reminiscent here of Psalm 130 Out of the depths I have cried to you O Lord.
Or 103 Praise the Lord all my soul ALL MY INMOST BEING praise his holy name
 

Jesus is saying we have a well within our depths from which a torrent of Living Water will flow.

 
The image would have been immensely powerful to the audience then speaking as it did into the centre of this festival that reached back hundreds of years and cried out each time
 
With joy shall you draw water from the well of salvation.
 

4. A wonderful aside

In my preparation I read a commentary that spoke of Jesus as the fulfillment of the feast of tabernacles and I believe he was as we shall see in a moment, but this commentary pointed out that the priest poured on to the altar two jugs one of water and one of wine. He remarked that On the ultimate redeeming altar of the cross from Jesus’ side flowed water and blood mixed together.
 

5. John puts us straight.

 
John’s helps us now in the text by saying
 
Jn 7:39 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.
 
Nobody here can have missed the amazing connection between the illustration of living water and the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost.
Jesus promised this living water both here and to the woman of Samaria in John 4.
 
With the promise to the Samaritan Jesus paced access to the full anointing of the spirit to whoever seeks It it is not a status or hierarchy or only for some. If a Samaritan Woman can have the Living water all of us can.
 
But here in John 7 Jesus does something even more important. He breaks into the very heart of the Jewish way of life- Fulfilling in this declaration the words in Isaiah 12 that were used every tabernacles. He clearly intended to mark this moment as one which change the spiritual life of every jew; and by exytension every one of us too.
 
John was saying the age of the Law was fulfilled at the moment of the cross as the water and blood flowed, the age of the spirit began.
 
What follows seems to show that the jews understood this Some said He must be the prophet, others said He is the Christ.
 
Any of the scholars there would have their minds turn back to ezekial’s prophecy
 
Eze 36:24 “ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
Eze 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Eze 36:28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
Eze 36:29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.
Eze 36:30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine.
 

6. But what is this to us?

 
Jesus promises the torrent of the holy Spirit from within in the context of harvest everyone of theose standing around will have seen as we have done the impact of a physical drought on a harvest. Jesus is saying to them and TO US
 
The holy spirit is given to you that you may go and
 
WATER the harvest be the irrigation that will see the amazing harvest promised to us.
 
For us we can say yes we are glad of the Increase we do see, But as I prayed last week.
 
Lord Give us the Lost.
 
Pour your spirit on us that we might step across to that person that needs to hear the friendly voice and be Jesus to them.
 
The Holy Spirit is released in us for the express purpose of reaching out from us. It is NOT for us just to have exciting meetings or miracle services, but for boldness and insight when we are talking to a friend in the car or helping someone at work.
 
Lord Give us the Lost.
 
Did you notice in that Ezekial passage
 
I will remove from your heart of stone.
 
I know I am mixing the pictures and going much further than I probably should but I was told to have courage, so from that prompting I can say to you, keep digging out that well- Let nothing and certainly NOT a great big boulder of a stone heart prevent you from knowing the freedom that the Holy Spirit brings.
 
Let’s pray for irrigated fields and lives overflowing
 
 
 

 

Tim Blake, 18/04/2010