“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You,
my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psa. 42:1,2).
Read John 7:25–44
25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 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.
40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“We were made to be satisfied with the Living Water. And if we recognize our thirst, we are blessed, because God is able to satisfy” (Randal C. Working).
“If you really set your heart on something then you can get it” is advice sometimes asserted to boost positive thinking, but unrealistic expectations can end in bitter disappointment. In the spiritual arena, however, genuine hunger for God will always be rewarded. Here in the midst of hostility and confusion Jesus makes an astounding claim. On the greatest feast day he loudly proclaims (everyone should be in earshot!) that those who really long to know God can come to him. “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (37). Jesus satisfies humankind at the deepest levels of yearning for meaning, purpose and wholeness. Believing him results in abundant life, filling and surging out of believers like streams of living water. John explains that this experience refers to the Holy Spirit, who had not yet breathed life on his church. Jesus, who has consistently taught how he is utterly at one with his sending Father (on his timetable, 34), will go on ministering through the Holy Spirit. Sublime Trinitarian truth shines out here. What a promise!
Tragically, the context shows that few take Jesus seriously. Is it irony when earlier Jesus says “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from” (28) because it is obvious that many of them don’t? Some think that because Jesus is from Galilee then he cannot be the Christ. Others say that the Messiah will originate from Bethlehem (42)—apparently without realizing that Jesus does! The religious leaders continue to hate him with consuming envy (Matt. 27:18) because of his effortlessly transparent authority. Apparently, there’s little thirst for the living God. Yet, some in the crowd, which includes pilgrims at the feast, have a deeper longing. They have seen enough evidence (31). While some call him a mere prophet, others see him as the Christ. A thirst for God has been awakened.
If you were in that crowd, what would you think of this unusual rabbi from Nazareth?
Lord, although many others may not recognize You as the very Messiah of God, I recognize this Truth and as such commit my life to You.
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