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Lesson 43: Rivers of Living Water—for You and from You (John 7:37-39)

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February 9, 2014

When you read Jesus’ words here, where He promises that from the innermost being of the one who believes in Him will flow rivers of living water, you have to stop and ask, “To what extent is that true of me? Since I trusted in Christ as my Savior, has it been my experience that ever-flowing, abundant rivers of living water have gushed up inside of me and flowed out of me?”

Those questions are both convicting and hope-producing. They are convicting because none of us, if we’re honest, can say, “Yes, those words nail it! That’s exactly how to describe my life since becoming a Christian!” Honesty forces me to say, “Well, there has usually been a trickle of living water, although there have been some droughts where even it has dried up. Occasionally, there has been a creek of living water. But ever-flowing, abundant rivers (plural)? It would be a stretch to describe my Christian life like that!” So Jesus’ words convict me with the barrenness of my walk with Him.

But Jesus’ words also give me hope. If my life doesn’t match His description here, it can! So can yours! This is a promise from the Son of God to all who will come to Him and drink: Out of your innermost being will flow rivers of living water. It describes, as Calvin points out (Calvin’s Commentaries [Baker], pp. 308-309), an ideal that none of us can possess perfectly in the present life because of indwelling sin and because of differing measures of faith. But it’s an ideal in which we can make progress as we walk with the Lord. We really can experience consistent fullness of joy in Him that flows from us to others. And so we should have hope because He who began the good work of salvation in us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6). But we need to press on toward the goal (Phil. 3:12-16). Here is Jesus’ promise to all:

Jesus Christ blesses all who believe in Him with rivers of the living water of His Spirit so that we will bless others.

There is the promise, an implicit requirement, and the result:

1. Jesus Christ blesses all who believe in Him with rivers of the living water of His Spirit.

Note five things about this wonderful promise:

A. The person of the promise: Jesus’ claim shows Him to be God in human flesh.