A Sermon by Dr. James McCullen
The Portrait of Jesus As the Water of Life
John 7:37-39
37  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.   38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.   39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

INTRODUCTION
What is your favorite holiday of day of celebration? In New Orleans it might be Mardi Gras. It could be the Veiled Prophet parade in St. Louis. Here in Parkersburg it could be Homecoming or the Christmas parade. In the text we have a celebration called the Feast of Tabernacles. zone source of Biblical times says, "He who has never seen the rejoicing at the pouring out of the water of Siloam has never seen rejoicing in his live."

This feast took place in autumn. Each family came to Jerusalem and made a little hut or booth in which to live for seven (7) days. Each day the priest brought water from the pool of Siloam. This water was poured out in the temple to commemorate the provision of water by God in the wilderness. On the eighth day the ceremony took place without water. This called attention to the coming Messiah and the giving to God's Spirit to all believers.

The people would shout out the words of Is. 12:3, "Therefore, with joy shall ye draw out of the wells of salvation." In addition they would sing from what we know as Ps. 113-118 phrases such as:

Ps. 114:7&8 - "Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Ps. 116:12-15 - "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Lord now in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."

Ps. 118:14-16 - "The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly." 22-24 - "The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." 29 - "Oh, give thanks unto the lord, for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.

Can you picture this celebration. Try to capture the joy of this feast and especially this great day of the feast. Truly a focal point of this great day was the ceremony without water. As our Lord Jesus watched this symbolism, He knew the water they were looking for and singing about pointed to Him. Please follow as we look at the water of life.
 
 
 

I.    The Benefits of this Water of Life.   v 37-39 
In order to more completely understand Jesus as the water of life we need to make a parallel. When we remind ourselves of the benefits of water to the physical we can parallel those benefits to the spiritual.

First:    The benefit of water could be that it quenches thirst. There is nothing that will quench thirst like water. In the game called trivia, there is a question, "What is the best thirst quencher." I answered Gatorade, and everyone thought that sounded good. But, the answer was water. Water is the best thirst quencher. Now that really makes sense doesn't it? God made man and God made water. God always makes the best.

Spiritually the only thirst quencher is Jesus. He is not only the best way to salvation, He is the only way to salvation.

Secondly:    Thirst can motivate a person. The greatest men have been those with a great thirst for righteousness and that which will better mankind. However, the worst people on this planet are also people motivated by a great thirst for evil and sin.

Illustration
I was 23 or 24 years of age when I saw a spring of water for the first time. The water came out of a hillside and was crystal clear. It maintained a temperature year around of about 51 degrees. Several people including me drank from that spring. Many said, "There is nothing like a drink of fresh spring water to make you want more." Making a parallel you can never get too much of Jesus and the water of life. But, when you drink of this fountain you also help create thirst as the Lord said,"...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The purpose of this flow is to supply and create a thirst for spiritual things.

Thirdly:    Water also produces life. The lack of rain recently caused a drab look rather than a normal bright green in the grass and foliage. One of our deacons commented after a recent rain that the water from heaven sure produced life in everything didn't it? You can take a desert and make it a flowering garden just by adding water. Friend, you can take the worst case of drab you can find in a human being and life will come when they drink spiritually the drink Jesus offers.

Forth:    Water also cleanses. Several children have had their mouth washed out with soap. It was to be a cure for saying dirty words. Sometimes it works. But, all of us know what a good shower can do for a dirty, sweaty body. Few experiences can revive a body like a good shower. The same is true spiritually, We need the water of life applied to our soul and spirit.

Illustration
Jesus sat His disciples down on one occasion to wash their feet. Simon Peter began to refuse. The Lord said, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." But Simon replied,"...not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Then Jesus said something like this: If you've had a bath you only need to wash the feet.    The Greek language brings the idea of one shower, but many basin baths. If you are save, that is a one time experience, but you do need to confess and be cleansed daily.

Application

This water had been offered previously. In John 4:14, it is offered to a Gentile. It is offered to Jewish people here, but the book of Revelation make it clear it is for everyone (Rev.22:17). Water is free. We pay for it to be collected, purified and piped into our homes, but it's free. Man can't make water to meet the needs of mankind. He must depend upon God. It is also true that man can not provide for himself the spiritual water he needs. He must depend upon God. Do you recognize the benefits from the Water of Life? Notice also the availability.
 
 
 

II.    The Availability of the Water of Life (v.37)  
The water of life is available only from Jesus. He is the source. In the midst of the celebration and ceremony related to the pouring of the water: Jesus stood and cried, "If anyone thirst, let him come unto me,..." Jesus calls attention to Himself. He is the only begotten Son. There is no source but Him. You can't look to Buddha or Mohammed. You can't look to family or good deeds. You have only one source, Jesus.

Illustration
The movie entitled, "The Last Temptation" made a splash in the news. One viewer said, "This movie makes God seem more human. It makes Him one of us; bringing Him to our level."    That is just what's wrong with this movie. It doesn't magnify Jesus as the source of salvation. He is just one of the boys struggling with sin and a mission about which He is not sure.

I have heard some of you speak of relatives who worked in coal mines, but the coal was all mined out, it went dry. I've known people who lived in towns built on silver mining then the silver was all mined and the mine closed. That will never happen with Jesus.

Application
Jesus is the source and He is also the supply. He makes the way of salvation and you must go to Him for it. In John 3:34, it says this about Jesus: "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure." His source and supply will never run out. The river of salvation will never run dry.    The water of life is available in Jesus. Follow as we look at drinking this water.
 
 
 

III.    The Drinking of the Water of Life (v.37)  
The approach must happen by faith. The Lord said, "Let him come!!" In the setting of this chapter the people were greatly involved in celebration and ceremony. Jesus called them to leave the ceremony about water and receive Him as the promised water of salvation. There were some who came only because they enjoyed the holiday and feast. But, others were greatly involved in looking for the Messiah. They had to come by faith.

Some worship today because it is a good atmosphere. You like the morals and the lifestyle of Christian people. you like fellowship, but you have never really left the celebration and ceremony to come to Jesus. You must approach by faith and then make the application of faith. The Lord said, "drink" that is the application. Some try to paint a picture that indicates salvation is difficult, but it is not. It is like drinking. you receive Jesus into your life. Drinking is one of the first acts of an infant. It is one of the most normal things you can do.

Illustration
A man was under deep conviction about his salvation. One night his wife went to church and he stayed home with their 3 year old child. The man thought about salvation and paced the floor. He went into the kitchen and turned the water on and off several times. His daughter said, "Daddy, if you're thirsty why don't you drink?"

Application

And, I would ask you that question today. Drinking will quench your thirst. It will create additional thirst. It will produce spiritual life and it will cleanse your life.- Why don't you drink? We must also notice the container.
 
 
 

IV.    The Container of the Water of Life (vv. 38 & 39)  
The external contain is Jesus, but He has promised to give the Spirit to all who believe Therefore, internally we become containers of the water of life. Jesus said,"...out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water." When I read those kinds of statements, I feel inadequate. Many times I do not feel like I have rivers of living water flowing from me. But, there have been times and I pray they are growing in number when there was a flow of love or some of the other spiritual graces. But, the words of Jesus are true, regardless of how we feel.

The Christian's Joy is internal. He does not have to chase after joy. The allurements of the world are not attractive to him as long as he realizes his joy in internal. We have more of the water of life as we share. Christians are like a bubbling spring not like the dead sea.

Illustration
In recent years the banking laws have changed. You now have branch banks off of the main bank. Just across the street we have a branch bank. They can help you in many ways at the branch. But, they are only able to do so because they have the main bank as their source.

Christians are like that. We are branch banks for Jesus. We are flowing rivers of living water because Jesus is the source and supply. And it all began with a drink.

Illustration
A liberal theologian rode on a train through England with a conservative theologian. The conservative said, "Tell me what you really and honestly believe about salvation." The liberal replied, "No, you won't catch me in that trap. If I told you it would be gossiped all over England in a week." The conservative said, "Let me tell you what I believe about salvation,  and you take it and get it spread all over England. Please spread it all over."

Conclusion

Sad, but true, we gossip the wrong message. We need to gossip the gospel. We need to be brand banks all over this nation.   Read again verses 40-43. Some believed and some didn't. Some would not make a further investigation even about His place of birth. Perhaps Jeremiah explains why these people would not come to Jesus to drink. He stated, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns that can hold no water." (Jer. 2:13)

This morning where is your water supply? There is really only one. It is Jesus and He said, "If anyone thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." Will you come to Jesus? He is the water of life!
 
 

 
 
 
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