Text: John 7:37-39
Facebook live: You have received the water for life by the Spirit!
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
As we celebrate the day of Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit, we begin with a short reading in the book of the Prophet Joel:
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28
The Spirit has now been revealed as He that is sent to glorify Christ or to make Him known. We have a greater measure of His manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our day than the believers of the Old Testament had.
"At the time when Jesus preached, He promised the Holy Spirit, and therefore the Holy Spirit was not yet there - not that He was not in existence in His person, but that He was not fully made known - in His revelation and in His work.
For that is the special work and office of the Holy Spirit that He reveals and glorifies Christ, that He preaches and give testimony concerning Him. That this office of the Holy Spirit was then not yet in active working and the office of glorifying Christ the Lord was not yet fully in use … that is, the preaching of the forgiveness of sins, and how one may be delivered from the power of sin, death, and the devil, and have comfort and joy in Christ.
All this was at the time of Christ, unheard of and not mentioned; that deliverance, salvation, righteousness, joy, and life should be given us through that man, Christ, whom people did not know."
Popular Commentary of the Bible P.E. Kretzmann NT Vol. 1 Pg 452
Not so in the giving of the Holy Spirit.
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
It was on the last day of the feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, (booths) the "day of the great Hosanna,” which was a time of joyous celebration as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued provision for them in their current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years of exodus they endured in the wilderness.
The leaves of the willows and the other branches that had been used for the building of the booths – or tabernacles - were shaken off and the palm branches were waved against the altar, when the priests went around the altar seven times in a procession of thankfulness, and when a priest was commissioned to get a pitcher of water from the pool of Siloam and then pour it out at the side of the altar. All these ceremonies had been introduced over time, and the Jewish teachers had explained some of them, especially the last, as a symbol which would find its fulfillment in the days of the Messiah.
The water of the pool of Siloam was considered living water, since it was replenished from time to time by means of a natural siphon from a spring in the rock. But, after all, it was only earthly water, which could quench the thirst for only a short while.
Here Jesus points to the work of the Holy Spirit and the revealing of the work of the Christ himself when He says:
38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
In a sense saying: “Out of the rock of stone that is the human heart born in sin and dead to God will flow the living water of life by God’s holy Spirit!”
Not only with the Spirit bringing those to faith in Christ by His own working, but also by those who are brought to Christ and are used by God through the Spirit to bring Christ to others.
As it feels to me and I’m sure to you, we feel separated from each other right now and we are. We have not seen each other in person at church for many weeks and we might even begin to forget about each other. Over time if this were to continue it might be a real possibility.
It can be that way with the work of the Spirit too.
It can at times be forgotten … as though He were afar off and not part of our daily lives. At the best of times, when things are going well, we have little need for Him. We can get consumed with things of this life that are going well and the abundance that we have that God provides.
But, there are other times, as we all know, where our world can come crashing down upon us. You can lose focus of Jesus, the one who redeemed you - who were lost. The Spirit’s work can be resisted, while things of the world draw you away demanding your attention, and just when all seems well and good, life can call your attention to all its frailties and trials …
Loss of life, loss of job, loss of security …
We can’t know what God has in store for us as he calls each one of us to faith and in service for Him through the Spirit’s work … but we can know, as Jesus said:
“Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 Jesus said this, about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.
I think of so many, who still need to hear the good news of the gospel and the joy of salvation found only in the name of Jesus. Yes, and I feel, as my friend Paul Ruehl and I discussed many times, the urgency to allow God to work through us to reach the lost in service to Him, now!
Christ Jesus has given you and me, by His Spirit, an appeal to His work to reach those who are lost with the word of the gospel. That appeal comes to you through the Spirit and through His working in you, so that you feed on the word of God and by faith cling to that blessed hope.
When we were in discussions with our friend’s at St Mark’s about a possible merger last year the idea of a new name was on all our minds. I thought that Blessed Hope Lutheran Church would be a wonderful name. My thought came from Titus 2:13 which reads,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
The blessed Hope is Jesus!
We know him by the working of the Spirit!
God in his mercy has had mercy on you!
You have been washed clean of your sin and by faith in Christ through the waters of Holy Baptism have peace with God.
The working of the Holy Spirit causes faith in you to believe the gospel message that, in Christ forgiveness of sins is offered and by faith received.
May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you all now and forever!
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.