Of the Spirit (part 6)
When Jesus stood up in the Temple courts before thousands of people in John 7:37, yelling out “If anyone’s thirsty, come to me and drink” – HOW, exactly, did he want them to “come to him and drink”? Did he mean come over to where he was standing, because he’d set up a table for handing out free cups of water?
But then he said, “Whoever believes in me” in verse 38. That little word “in” hit a different note, because he meant belief in him as a person. The Greek word for “believe” in that verse meant “placing one’s total confidence in.” So that’s what he was shouting for them to do – to put their total confidence in him.
And Jesus shouted that out with great emotion in his voice, because as a nation, up to that point, they had never totally put their confidence in him. Or when they’d said they’d obey him (as they did in Exodus 19:7-8), they’d never backed it up with trust when the chips were down (Hebrews 3:7-11). Or if they did trust him, it didn’t last. They’d soon be looking to other gods and human means to get them out of a scrape.
And Jesus had put up with this for centuries for he was “the spiritual rock that had accompanied them” on their travels, 1 Corinthians 10:4. Despite them never placing their confidence in him, however, he never gave up on them, for from the time “When Israel was only a child, I loved him. I called out, ‘My son!’ – called him out of Egypt. But when others called to him, he ran off and left me,” Hosea 11:1-2.
But here he was at the Temple still loving them, still wanting to rescue them, and still holding out the promise, as he did constantly through the prophets in the Old Testament, that if they came to him, trusted him, believed in his love for them, he would, in the terms so often spoken in their Scriptures, be their guide through life, their strength, their comfort, their safety net, their wisdom, their peace bringer, their ready listener, their restorer of life as he intended it to be – or in a word their “Rock” (Psalm 18:2), who, just like the rock that gushed water in the desert (Exodus 17), would provide a constant flow of all those things they knew and read about, and longed for, in their Scriptures.
Which is why he cried out in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, streams of living water will flow from within him.” But HOW would it happen, and how would they know?…(more on this tomorrow)