Summary: May the Lord make us refreshing fountains where thirsty souls may drink. Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we possess the “water of life” and can be channels of blessing to those in need. From hearts of love, let us pour out to others what we have first receive
Opening illustration: The Dead Sea is so salty that it contains no fish or plant life. What accounts for this unusual condition? There are absolutely no outlets! A great volume of water pours into this area, but nothing flows out. Many inlets plus no outlets equals a dead sea.
This law of nature may also be applied to the child of God, and it explains why many believers are so unfruitful and lacking in spiritual vitality. It’s possible for some people to attend Bible conferences, listen to religious broadcasts, study the Scriptures, and continually take in the Word as it is preached from the pulpit, and yet seem lifeless and unproductive in their Christian lives. Such individuals are like the Dead Sea. They have several “inlets” but no “outlets.” To be vibrant and useful believers, we must not only “take in” all we can, but we must also “give out” in service to others!
Let us turn to John 7 and catch up with what Jesus was talking about being a live Christian.
Introduction: On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Jesus spoke to the people who were thirsty. Obviously, He is addressing the spiritual thirst of the people. It may be that there is a deep thirst in your own soul today. You really want to find the water that will quench the thirst. You earnestly want to satisfy the longings of your heart to know God.
Jesus made a strong declaration that will answer your need. He no doubt had in mind the miracle of the water coming forth (Exodus 17:6) out of the rock in the wilderness as well as the words of the prophets. Christians have long identified Jesus with the rock (I Corinthians 10:4) in the wilderness. Let's allow the declaration of Jesus to speak to us.
How can ‘Rivers of Living Waters’ flow out of us?
How can we be fruitful/vibrant/useful/live Christians?
1. Christ is our INLET (v. 37)
The feast referred to in verse 37 is the Jewish feast of Tabernacles or feast of booths, as we learn from chapter 7:2. According to v. 14 Jesus had gone up to the temple about the middle of the feast. Now it was the last great day of the feast as he stands up to shout the words of our text. The origin of the feast is described in Leviticus 23. Now on the last great day of the feast of booths, Jesus stands up and cries, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink." Whether the people at the feast grasped the full significance of this or not, we can see from our perspective on John's whole gospel that Jesus saw himself as the fulfillment of the Jewish feasts. He was the fulfillment in the sense that the saving power and grace of God which the Jews celebrated were now present and uniquely available in Jesus. The longing for God and for the arrival of his kingdom, kept alive by the recurring feasts, need not be a mere longing any more. God had now drawn near in his Son, and he offered his saving rule to all who would submit. The waiting was over. As Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Everything in the Old Testament had pointed forward to a time of fulfillment. Jesus is that fulfillment.
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, he was having a private conversation with a despised Gentile. Here we have Jesus speaking publicly in the temple on the most crowded day of the most popular feast of Israel. Jesus has taken a very direct and public stand. He calls the assembled body of Israel to come and follow him. There is no wishy-washiness here. Jesus uses no slick. Jesus is not being remotely seeker sensitive here. He issues the call, “Are you thirsty? Come and drink!” Do you desire satisfaction? Come and Drink! Are you burdened by the bad things you’ve done? Come and Drink! Are you weighed down by the struggles of life? Come and Drink! Jesus calls and leaves us to consider our response. Jesus calls, and something stirs within us to say, “There’s something right about that man”, and not fully understanding, we follow. Jesus calls, and we follow, knowing that understanding will come.
Now perhaps we are ready to hear the words of Jesus as they come to us: "If any one thirst, let him come." The invitation is universal, and yet it is conditional. There are no ethnic, intellectual, or social qualifications for drinking at Jesus' fountain. The invitation goes out to all. Everyone in this room has a personal invitation from Jesus to come to him and drink. Three Things Implied in Thirsting: