Title: Spewing Forth Living Water
Bible Text: John 7:37-44
Subject: How can we have streams of living water flow from us?
Complement: - By believing in Jesus as the Scripture has said.
Main Idea: Living water flows naturally down hill!
Intro: I once read in a 1989 Reader’s Digest the following; A 747 was halfway across the Atlantic when the captain got on the loudspeaker: "Attention, passengers. We have lost one of our engines, but we can certainly reach London with the three we have left. Unfortunately, we will arrive an hour late as a result."
An hour later the captain made another announcement: "Sorry, but we lost another engine. Still, we can travel on two. I’m afraid we will now arrive two hours late."
Shortly thereafter, the passengers heard the captain’s voice again: "Guess what, folks. We just lost our third engine, but please be assured we can fly with only one. We will now arrive in London three hours late."
At this point, one passenger became furious. "For Pete’s sake," he shouted. "If we lose another engine, we’ll be up here all night!"
Obviously the man had no sense of what powered a jet to stay in the air. But I wonder if his comment is any different, any more ridiculous than the person who believes the commercials we see on TV today. You know the ones, …some pro athlete is playing some sport and is all sweaty and hot and then he lifts up a bottle of some particular drink and instantly all his carbs are restored, his electrolytes level off and he is ready for more action. He is empowered by this mystical liquid concoction that is a miracle drink with all the nutrients needed to make you into a super man or woman of physical prowess. And it taste good too! Were expected to believe that this drink has the power to quench a persons thirst, restore their strength and give them power to go on. About as likely as a jet plane staying aloft with no engines.
This is of course ludicrous, and yet people buy it. Wouldn’t we all love a thirst quencher that had the power to make us into super men and women? Able to be empowered to do whatever needed to be done. Especially in the spiritual realm?
What would you say if I told you their really is a thirst quencher that can make us empowered in our walk for God?
No more how hum Christianity. No more flat line, going no where, going through the motions walk with our Lord.
Even in Jesus’ day people wanted to quench that thirst, fill that void, to be able to know the power of God in their life. That’s a thirst that has been desiring to be quenched by people for a long time. How can we quench our spiritual appetites so as to be powerfully used by God so as to know His blessings? The commercials on TV promise thirst quenching power for the athlete in us. God’s Word today promises us thirst quenching power for the godly man or woman in us.
I. A Common Phenomenon Being Spiritually Thirsty.
A. The people in Jesus’ day were thirsty.
1. It is most likely that Jesus said these words found in verse 38 on the last day of what the Bible calls the great feast.
a) The great feast was a feast that lasted seven days.
b) On each of the seven feast-days a priest would fill a golden pitcher from the pool of Siloam.
c) Accompanied by a solemn procession the priest would return to the temple and amid the sounding of trumpets and the shouting and rejoicing of the multitudes he would pour the water through a funnel which led to the base of the alter of burnt offering.
d) The people were in a joyous and euphoric mood.
2. These people had several things come to mind during this feast.
a) They were reminded of the blessings granted to their forefathers in the wilderness when Moses hit the rock with his staff and water flowed forth for the people who were dying of thirst.
b) They also looked forward to the future when the people of Israel would experience the spiritual bounty of a day when the messiah would walk among them.
3. Now it may have been right after the completion of this symbolic rite of water-pouring and the chanting of the familiar lines from Ps. 118 that the loud, clear voice of Jesus was heard to say, “If anyone is thirsty…”
Trans: But Jesus, as we know, wasn’t speaking of H20. He was speaking of a spiritual thirst. A thirst of a person’s soul.
B. Today, people are looking to have their thirst quenched.
1. Every where we look people are trying to find a sense of purpose, belonging, a reason for living.
a) I glanced through a local paper here in Westport the other day and saw ads for all sorts of Spiritual thirst quenchers.
b) *See Paper
c) The sad thing is that people will eat this stuff up.
2. From sex, to drugs, to power – people are trying to fill a void in their hearts and souls.
a) The amazing thing is that when people get really thirsty they are willing to go to a lot of different fountains to get their thirst quenched.
b) They end up being “easy” in that they are not at all selective!
c) The result is drinking from some pretty nasty wells that only end up making a person sick, sad, and sorry!
C. The Bible tells us that sometimes people drink from bad wells.
1. The woman at the well in John 4:13 was trying to quench her thirst at the wrong well.
a) She came to Jesus and wanted this water He talked of that was a spring welling up inside a person. (4:14)
b) Jesus very clearly tells her, after a short conversation, that the well she had been going to – one of five different live-in boy friends – a life of looking to sex for a true relationship was the wrong well!
c) She was thirsting for love, a meaningful relationship and had struck out five times…
d) Most people would give up, console themselves with the attitude that they were just going to go through life never having that thirst quenched.
e) But Jesus was the thirst quencher – this woman suddenly had hope because she finally came to the real source of living water.
2. Another account of looking to the wrong place for living water is found in John 6:35.
a) The people had come following Jesus and the motive is seen in that they were quite certain they had finally found their meal ticket. (vs. 26)
b) Jesus stands up now and tells them they have been trying quench their parched souls with water from the wrong well.
c) Physical Food, chasing after bodily pleasure and comfort is not long lasting – it is empty.
d) And yet people look to lives physical pleasures all the time with the hope of finding refreshment and relief for their thirst.
Trans: All these things are empty. The author of Ecclesiastes calls it a chasing after the wind. Foolishness! But my sense is that we are often times victims of our passions and as a result even those of us in the church who call ourselves Christian, sometimes fail to live life with power, with strength, with living streams of water pouring out of us. We become thirsty in our souls and seem to not no where to go to get refreshment.
II. Real thirst quencher happens from only one fountain!
A. The first step to quenching our spiritually arid soul is in recognizing that we are indeed thirsty. (37b)
1. Only people who are parched will seek refreshment.
a) It is amazing how many people walk around with, figuratively speaking, their tongue hanging out all dry and swollen.
b) They are dying of spiritual thirst and they don’t seem to get it!
c) The Greek Word here for thirst (dipsao) literally means to have a passionate longing after something without which we can’t live.
2. Jesus says, “If any one is thirsty?”
a) You have to want it!
b) You have to want to be empowered by God.
c) You have to want to be a man or woman who is willing to be a tool powerfully used by God.
d) Coaches will tell their team – you have to want it guys! Meaning you have to be giving your all to the goal!
e) Isaiah said, “Here am I Lord, send me!
f) The Psalmist says that like a deer thirsting for water, is how we need to approach God.
g) With our very soul longing after God!
3. It’s not enough just to be a Christian and expect that we are somehow automatically going to be some great tool to be used by God.
a) We have to be thirsty!
b) We have to want it!
c) If not, then we need not apply, we’re not ready for the gusto, the adventure, the thrill of being a powerful tool for God!
B. The second step to quenching our thirsty soul is to go to the right source of refreshment.
1. As I mentioned before, people will look in all sorts of places to have their thirsty souls quenched.
a) For the really desperate – drugs, alcohol, one night stands, pornography…
b) For others it may appear on the outside to be more subtle – they seek after spiritual refreshment – they turn to spiritism – nothing new – been around for as along as man – but it it’s empty and destructive.
c) People looking everywhere to some how, some way fill that God shaped void in their soul.
2. Nothing can quench that thirsty soul but Jesus.
a) That is why He said that the only way to a relationship, a deep intimate, powerful, loving relationship with the Heavenly Father is through a close, loving, intimate relationship with Him.
b) No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ!
C. The Third Step is to believe in Jesus Christ as the Bible teaches.
1. To believe in Jesus means that we believe what the whole Bible teaches about Him.
a) It means more than just knowing who Jesus was.
b) It means more than just sort of winking at Jesus in some Good-ol-boy kind of way as if to say, “OK Lord, you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone and we will get along wonderfully!
2. It means making Jesus Lord!
a) He is not to be one among equals.
b) He stands alone.
c) It is not like buying a thirst quencher and any brand will do!
3. To believe in Jesus as the Bible says is clearly stated in Romans 10:9ff.
a) That if you confess with your mouth – that is, that you are willing to voice the words to all who can hear – whether they will receive it well or not – that Jesus is Lord!
b) And if you will believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead- that is, that you believe that He is the risen Son of God!
c) You will be saved!
Trans: So we need to know we are thirsty, go to the right fountain, then believe in the source, Jesus Christ, as truly the only real soul thirst quencher. But in case your sitting here thinking somewhat smugly that you have all the bases covered, you need to know that Jesus also comments about fruitfulness in this passage. There must be results! Not potentially, maybe, sort of, kind of – for the person who is truly drinking from the right source – Jesus Christ – there will be results – visible and obvious!
D. The result of having our thirsty souls quenched will be Streams of living water.
1. Flowing from Christ to us.
a) The Greek word rheo is used in no other place in the NT but here in John.
b) It literally means to flow – this idea of gushing forth from the source.
2. As we tap into Jesus Christ the only true source for refreshment for our Soul, we also are made into conduits in which that flow can continue onto others.
3. Flowing from us to others.
a) There will be streams of living water flowing from us!
b) To us and also from us to others!
4. Their will be fruitfulness! Results flowing from our innermost being!
a) The word for inner-most being is translated “Belly” in the KJV.
b) This word stands metaphorically for the innermost part of man, the soul, the heart.
c) Out of our soul will flow forth streams of hope, love, joy, peace, all the fruit of the Spirit.
ILL. So we see that Jesus wanted the people to know where they could have a real thirst quencher. Through Him!
But you may be here today and your thinking, “Well yes, I have tapped into Jesus, but to be honest – their isn’t much flowing out the other end. I think of the picture of the fireman standing there at the end of the hose, a look of profound concentration and focus on his face, all the right fireman’s gear, the hat, the boots, the coat…. But all that is coming out the end of the hose is a little dribble of water falling down and landing on his nice looking boot. Like the faucet that won’t fully shut off.…drip…drip….drip. So how do you and I become powerhouses for God? How can we go from a trickle to a tempest for Jesus?
III. Practical Insight into being a conduit of God’s streams of living water.
A. Know that God has provided for us an abundant and fruitful Christian Life as a result of being filled by the HS. (verse 39)
1. Jesus told us in John 10:10 that the reason He came was that we might have life and have it to the fullest!
2. The Bible talks about fruitfulness for Christians.
a) In Jn. 15:5 we are told by Jesus that if we abide in Him we will be able to do great and powerful things!
b) Jesus Doesn’t lie!
3. Every person who believes in Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit – He resides in us, but not every believer is filled – controlled and empowered by the HS.
a) The HS as we have seen here in John 7 is the source of the overflowing life.
c) We are told in Acts 1:8 that when we have the HS we will receive power. Power to have streams of living water flow from us as we become His witnesses – by word and by deed!
ILL. Picture a hose connected to it’s source spewing forth water all over the place. Then unscrew that hose from the source and try to plug it in somewhere else…..the result is that the stream of water stops flowing. The same thing is true for Christians….sometimes we get sidetracked, we forget to attach ourselves to the source and as a result we no longer have streams of flowing water coming forth from us. How do we stay connected?
B. Secondly we must stay attached to the source – keep drinking!
1. Don’t stop drinking!
a) How many of us could physically drink a glass of water and never drink again?
b) We might last 24 hours before we start having ill effects.
2. What is the greatest cause of dehydration?
a) A great deal of physical exercise.
b) Staying to long in a hot, arid place.
3. The same is true in the spiritual realm.
a) You will never thirst again the way the lost person does who doesn’t have a connection with Jesus Christ.
b) You have tasted the living water and you know where to go to get refreshment for your soul.
c) But you do leak!
d) That’s right – you need to come back to Jesus again and again to be renewed in your spirit and to be empowered to do His work.
e) We need to be refilled.
4. A person is indwelt by the HS once but there are many fillings.
C. Thirdly we need to know how to keep being refilled.
1. It is only accomplished by faith.
a) It is a spiritual event and therefore will require faith based on the power and authority of God’s Word.
b) We can experience the life of power with streams of living water flowing from us by remembering what the Bible says is required.
2. Experiencing the filling happens when we acknowledge our thirsty souls.
a) When we confess our sins.
b) We need to thank God that he has forgiven all our sins- past, present, and future – because Christ died for us.
3. When, by faith, we claim the fullness of the HS for our lives.
a) We can do this because God‘s Word has told us that we need to be filled in Eph. 5:18.
b) He has promised He will always answer us when we pray according to His will. (1Jn. 5:14,15)
4. The result is spirit-filled results.
a) We no longer are content to just get by in our walk with God.
b) We thirst for more power, we want to get involved and be used by God.
c) We want to be tools.
Conclusion: A. J. Gordon, one of the founders of Gordon Conwell Divinity School, told of being out walking and looking across a field at a house. There beside the house was what looked like a man pumping furiously at one of those hand pumps. As Gordon watched, the man continued to pump at a tremendous rate; he seemed absolutely tireless, pumping on and on, up and down, without ever slowing in the slightest, much less stopping.
Truly it was a remarkable sight, so Gordon started to walk toward it. As he got closer, he could see it was not a man at the pump, but a wooden figure painted to look like a man. The arm that was pumping so rapidly was hinged at the elbow and the hand was wired to the pump handle. The water was pouring forth, but not because the figure was pumping it. You see, it was an artesian well, and the water was pumping the man!
When you see a man who is at work for God and producing results, recognize that it is the Holy Spirit working through him, not the man’s efforts that are giving results. All he has to do-and all you have to do is keep your hand on the handle.