Stephen Caswell © 2005
The Search for Living Water
There is said to be a strange plant in South America which finds a moist place and rests there for a while, sending its roots down and becoming green. When this bit of earth dries up, the plant draws itself together and is blown along by the wind until it finds another moist spot, where it repeats the same story. But after all its journeyings it is nothing but a bundle of dead roots and leaves. The life of this plant tells the story of those who drink only at this world’s springs. They go on from spring to spring, and at the last, at the end of the longest life, they are nothing but bundles of unsatisfied desires and burning thirsts.
In contrast, Jesus tells also of the living water which He gives to those who believe on Him. Whosoever drinks the living water from Christ shall never thirst. In Christ all our cravings are met. There’s no desire in our nature which cannot find perfect satisfaction.
Today I would like to look at how God desires to give dry, thirsty people new life. Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b Many people including some believers live lives that are dry and shriveled up. God never intended us to live that way. He wants us to have fulfilling lives, fruitful lives. Jesus Christ came to refresh weary, thirsty people. Jesus Christ has the answer for everyone who is thirsty. He longs to give living water to thirsty people. This morning we will see 3 things in John 7. 1. Invitation, Come To Christ, 2. Incarnation, Receive Christ, 3. Irrigation, Share Christ.
1. Invitation - Come To Christ
John 7:37: On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
a. The Symbol
The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated with certain festival rituals. One was a solemn procession each day from the temple to the Gihon Spring. A priest filled a gold pitcher with water while the choir sang Isaiah 12:3: Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. Then they returned to the altar and poured out the water on the ground. It reminded them of the water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings.
1 Corinthians 10:1-4: Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. It also spoke prophetically of the coming days of Messiah. He would bring material and spiritual blessings to Israel. Christ stood up at this time and offered salvation to all who were thirsty; dissatisfied with rituals.
b. The Sinner
But notice the condition. The Scripture says, If anyone thirsts. Thirst here speaks of deep spiritual need. Without water people die of thirst. Without Christ sinners die from spiritual thirst. Yet unless a person knows he is a sinner, he will never want to be saved. Until he realizes he is lost, he will never desire to be found. Unless one is conscious of a great spiritual lack in his life, he will never want to go to the Lord to have that need supplied. Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Jesus Christ can’t save people who don’t acknowledge their need.
We must admit our sin. Until we confess our sin God can’t cleanse us from it. Unless we acknowledge we are dead in our trespasses and sins Christ can’t give us new life. Luke 5:32: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. People who think they are righteous can’t be saved. If you are thirsty come to Christ and admit your needs.
At Alcoholics Anonymous the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. You can’t help people who deny their problem. Addicts have to be honest and take responsibility for their behavior. In the same way, God can’t save people who deny their need. Thirsty people must admit their need. The Samaritan woman thirsted for meaning after 5 failed marriages. Her life was dry and empty. She longed for a fulfilling life.
c. The Savior
God’s invitation for salvation was first given in the Old Testament. Isaiah 55:1: Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. In this verse God says come 3 times. He wants us to come to Him just as we are, thirsty, hungry and in deep need. In the Gospels Christ offers salvation time and again. Every time He invites needy sinners to come to Him. These folk are described as thirsty, heavy laden and lost.
In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says: Come to me all you labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. If you are worn out from trying to keep the law come to me and I will save you. Salvation and Service. In Matthew 22:4 Jesus says: Come to the wedding. If you want to get to heaven accept my invitation. Salvation and Security. In John 7:37 Jesus says: If you are thirsty, Come to me & drink. I will save you and satisfy the deep longing in your soul. Salvation and Satisfaction. Thirsty sinners must come to Jesus Christ.
He doesn’t call us to come to Church. Jesus doesn’t call us to come to the Lord’s Table or the waters of baptism. Jesus calls sinners to come unto Him and drink. He alone can save us. He gives new life to needy people. It is in the present continuous tense, we are to drink from Him and keep drinking. Firstly, Jesus satisfies our thirst and saves us. Secondly, He satisfies our souls by giving us fulfilling lives in His service. We must drink from the living waters every day. As we need food and drink to sustain physical life, so too we need the abiding presence of Jesus Christ to sustain our spiritual life.
John 6:53-56: Then Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
People look for salvation in different things. Some seek salvation through keeping the Law. Others hope that a religious ritual will meet their needs. Yet all of these things fail. They leave us dry. Jesus calls thirsty people to come to Him for righteousness. Are you thirsty? Are you tired of sinning? Are you tired of trying to live a life that pleases God and failing? Come to Christ as you are! Admit your need. If you’re thirsty come to Christ and let Him quench the thirst in your soul? Jesus invites you to Come and Drink.
2. Incarnation - Receive Christ
John 7:39: But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
How can we obtain this living water? When you are hot and thirsty you drink a glass of cold water and you immediately refreshed. We must do what the Samaritan woman did and receive Christ into our lives. He’s the only one who can give us refreshing living water, or the Holy Spirit. Firstly, we believe in Christ for our salvation. Secondly, we believe that He can satisfy our daily needs. We are to keep drinking the living water made available from Jesus Christ. The words believe and drink are both in the present continuous tense. The Christian life is not an event. It’s more like a daily meal.
Sick People, Alcoholics
When we come to Christ we must believe that He can save us. A sick person goes to the doctor because they believe that they can help them to be well again. They tell the doctor all about their sickness and he prescribes a cure. An alcoholic goes to A.A. because they believe that they can help them overcome their drinking problem. They ask for their help because they know that they can’t save themselves. They are in a helpless situation. They need help outside of themselves. They are powerless to change.
So too sinners go to Christ because they know that they are dead in sin. We know that only He can give us new life. So we go to Christ and ask Him to save us. Why should we believe in Christ? Because has conquered Satan, sin, death and hell. 1. He lived as a man on earth. He was tempted like we are, yet didn’t sin. Therefore He possesses life, abundant life. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me. John 14:6 2. When Jesus died on the cross it was not Himself; He died for us. He took the punishment for the world’s sin.
3. Then Christ rose from the dead to new life. He conquered Satan, sin, death and hell. He is Lord! The Lord Jesus Christ offers eternal life to us. He says, Come, believe in Me.
There are so many diseases in the world today. Some of them are common. Some of them are rare. Usually medicine is available for the more common diseases. But this is not so for the more rare diseases. There is often no hope for recovery from such sickness. Unless you can obtain a blood transfusion from someone who has had the disease and lived. Their immunity helps you. Their victory over the disease becomes yours. This is what Christ has done for us. He never yielded to temptation and sin. He died to take the punishment for sin. Then He rose to new life overcoming death the natural consequence of sin. We can conquer sin through Jesus Christ. Praise God He makes us more than conquerors. When we believe in Jesus Christ we share His victory over sin.
What happens when we acknowledge our sin and believe in Jesus Christ? God forgives us of our sin and gives us eternal life. We drink from the Holy Spirit Who comes into our lives and imparts His life to us. Salvation is a gift to be received by faith. Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Salvation Is A Gift
A missionary became a good friend of an Indian pearl diver. The two had spent many hours together discussing salvation, but the Indian could not understand anything so precious being free. Instead, in making preparation for the life to come, the diver was going to walk the nine hundred miles to Delhi on his knees. He thought this would buy entrance into heaven for him. The missionary struggled to communicate to his friend that it is impossible to buy entrance into heaven because the price would be too costly. Instead, he said, Jesus had died to buy it for us.
Before he left for his pilgrimage, the Indian gave the missionary the largest and most perfect pearl he had ever seen. The missionary offered to buy it, but the diver became upset and said that the pearl was beyond price, that his only son had lost his life in the attempt to get it. The pearl was worth the life blood of his son. As he said this, suddenly the diver understood that God was offering him salvation as a priceless gift. It is so precious that no man could buy it. It had cost God the life’s blood of his Son. The veil was lifted; he understood at last.
The 3,000 received the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:37-39: Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.
Filling Is The Answer
Paul tells us to live victoriously and to avoid excesses of the flesh. Moody once illustrated this truth as follows: Tell me, he said to his audience, How can I get the air out of this glass? One man said, Suck it out with a pump. Moody replied, That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass. After many impossible suggestions, Moody smiled, picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. There, he said, all the air is now removed. He then went on to show that victory in the Christian life is not by sucking out a sin here and there, but rather by being filled with the Spirit.
How can you drink the living water? By believing that Jesus Christ can save you from your sin, past present and future. We have a living faith; not just when we believe but continually. When we believe in Him, God forgives us of our sin. It’s as simple as saying Lord Jesus I believe you died for my sin, please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. After we do this we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who gives us new life. This new life is abundant, continuing, fulfilling and fruitful. Have you asked Christ to save you? Have you received this new life from the Holy Spirit? Are you daily living that life?
3. Irrigation - Share Christ
John 7:38: He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
John 7:39 tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Living Water that Jesus promised to all who came to Him; to all who believed in Him. The Spirit of God gave life to Adam in the Garden of Eden and man became a living being. The life God imparted was both spiritual and physical. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God they died spiritually. Ever since then man has been born spiritually dead. By believing in Christ we are born again through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us new life, spiritual life, eternal life. Where the Holy Spirit lives there is liberty, life and fruitfulness.
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
When a sinner believes in Christ they immediately receive the Holy Spirit. He comes into our hearts and removes our thirst. He meets our innermost need for spiritual life. The Spirit of God brings life, joy and peace to believers. This is the life God intended from the beginning. Where does this life come from? Not from the outside but from the inside. The Holy Spirit within us meets our needs. He blesses us and fills our hearts with life. The living waters meet the needs of our thirsty souls. Romans 14:17: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s new life satisfies our soul’s longings. We feel refreshed instead of thirsty.
Playgroup Swimming Day
Last Wednesday we had the first day for Playgroup the year at the Manse. We had a swimming day for the kids. Yes, Sandy and myself have invested in a pool. It’s a good 16” deep and about 6’ across. In fact we borrowed a pool from a friend as well. So we had a diving pool for the mums and a wading pool for the kids. To fill these we used water from the tank. With water being so precious you could be tempted not to do that. However the Lord sent us 25mm of rain that night and our tanks were filled to overflowing again. God wants us to share our blessings. As we do He sends further blessings to be shared again.
In John 7:38 Christ says that the water flows to others. Rivers of living water flow out from us to those around us. God doesn’t want us to be dams or reservoirs but rivers. Dams hold water in and stop it flowing. This water then becomes stagnant. Flowing rivers bring life. Along the banks grow shade trees and fruit trees. The Lord wants us to share the blessings of our new life with others. He wants us to tell others about the new life He has given us. A One scholar, Temple warns: No one can be indwelt by the Spirit of God and keep that Spirit to himself. Where the Spirit is, He flows forth; if there is no flowing forth, He is not there. The joy of the Christian life cannot be contained without being lost. It must be shared. Salvation is for everyone.
Sharing The Gospel
I was sharing the Lord with someone who is searching for meaning this week. As we addressed His questions and looked at God’s Word I was blessed. Talking to Him about Jesus Christ allowed the Living Waters to flow through me. This young man is searching. He is not there yet. Can I encourage you to pray each morning and ask for opportunities to witness to some one about your Savior Jesus Christ. Share your blessings with the lost.
The encounter that the Samaritan woman had with Jesus shows these 3 steps.
The Samaritan Woman
Invitation: Firstly, she came to Jesus. He offered her living water that would satisfy her soul. This woman was thirsty and searching for meaning in life. She had been involved in 5 broken marriages. When the woman asked to receive the water Jesus dealt with her sin.
Incarnation: Secondly, she recognized that Jesus was the Messiah. She learned that a relationship with Christ was more important that religious heritage, religious tradition and religious places. Real worship is spiritual, not material or physical. She believed in Him and had her thirst quenched. She received the living water that Jesus offered her.
Irrigation: Thirdly, she shared the Good News with the people in her town. She brought them out to meet Christ. The Samaritan woman shared the joy and blessings she received from Christ. This is the natural response we should have when the Lord saves us.
Have you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? Has He brought new life to your soul? Are you overflowing with His life, His love, joy and peace? Are you sharing the living water with others? Or have you become stagnant in your faith? God doesn’t want the blessings of the Holy Spirit to stop in us but to flow through us. When we become reservoirs instead of rivers we become stagnant in our Christian life. The deepest joys in the Christian life come from sharing your faith with the lost.
Is your life filled with the fruit of the Spirit? Is God reaching others through you? If you are drawing on the Spirit it should be. If the Holy Spirit is flowing through our lives others will be blessed. If there is no fruit, no flow of living waters, then you aren’t abiding in Christ. If this has happened to you can I encourage you to drink afresh from the living waters and let God use you? Then keep drinking to maintain the fellowship.
2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.