Some Bible translations print the words of Jesus in red. Some in black. There is even a version of the New King James that prints Jesus’ words in blue. J.C. Ryle said concerning our text this morning: “It has been said that there are some passages in Scripture which deserve to be printed in letters of gold. Of such passages the verses before us form one. They contain one of those wide, full, free invitations to mankind, which make the Gospel of Christ so eminently the good news of God.” Let us consider this golden text more closely.
The Holy Who?
Before we go further we need to discuss the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Who, not an It. The Holy Spirit is called God (Acts 5:3-4), Eternal (Heb 9:14), Omnipotent (Luke 1:35), Omniscient (1 Cor 2:10-11), and Omnipresent (Ps 139:7-13). Scott Swain said of the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit of the Father (Matt 10:20; Rom 8:9) and the Son (Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6) is one God with the Father and the Son, the third person of the Trinity, and the crowning agent of God’s undivided purpose and power (Eph. 4:4–6).” The Nicene Creed states: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.”
Holy Spirit Promised to the Thirsty
The Holy Spirit is promised to those who are spiritually thirsty. On the last day (great day) of the Feast of Booths, Jesus said: “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!” (7:37). This is the same message He gave to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus told her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water” (John 4:10).
What does Jesus mean when He speaks of spiritual thirst? When you are thirsty, you have a feeling of needing water. When you are spiritually thirsty, you have a feeling of needing God. You recognize that you are in need and that need can only be satisfied by God. Jesus said, “…he should come to Me and drink” (7:37). Spiritual thirst can only be satisfied by Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.”
Those who are spiritually thirsty are those who believe. This feeling of need comes from God as the Father draws a person to the Son (John 6:44). It is more than just an intellectual ascent to certain truths, but a strong desire and recognition of a need that can only be satisfied by Jesus. It involves commitment and surrender to Jesus.
Holy Spirit Satisfies the Thirsty
The Holy Spirit is guaranteed to satisfy our spiritual thirst. Jesus continues by saying, “The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (7:38). The spiritually thirsty will be satisfied when they come to Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus will be saved. This Holy Spirit is promised to all who believe. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 10:13, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, is like “streams of living water [that] flow from deep within him” (7:38). Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life” (John 4:14). The metaphor of living water being a well in one’s heart speaks of satisfaction. This is a satisfaction of one’s spiritual thirst and resting contently in the Gospel. The Christian becomes satisfied with Christ and does not need to seek satisfaction in anything else. We can enjoy God’s good blessings while keeping them from becoming idols. This is because through Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit. Paul said to the Galatians, “walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).
Holy Spirit Flowing From You
The Holy Spirit within you flows from you to be seen by those around you. Jesus said that the living water (i.e., Holy Spirit) shall “flow from deep within you” (7:38). Kent Hughes said, “Furthermore, not only does such satisfaction come to us in Christ, but it overflows to others.” The presence of the Holy Spirit within you will be evident to those around you. There will be those who see your satisfaction in Christ and ask to know Him as well. There will be those who see your satisfaction in Christ and despise you (and Christ). It is helpful for us to remember that the Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible and through believers. Preparing His followers for persecution, Jesus said: “you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you” (Matt 10:20).
The Holy Spirit was promised to empower a believer. “And look, I am sending you what My Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are empowered from on high” (Luke 24:49). When Jesus spoke these words, He had not yet been glorified through death, resurrection, and ascension. The Holy Spirit was promised by the Prophet Joel “After this I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity” (Joel 2:28). John the Baptist said that Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33). For the first Christians, the Spirit was received by all of them at once at Pentecost Acts 2. In some specific situations the Spirit was received in strategic ways so as to publically testify to the inclusion of non-Jews (Acts 8:14-17; 10:44). Christians receive the Holy Spirit when they become a Christian. Have you received the Spirit?
Channels of Blessing
The Holy Spirit is like living water that flows within you and out of you. Jesus said that all who are thirsty should come to Him and drink. Have you come to Jesus to be saved? If not, the invitation is still open. If you have, strive to be a channel of blessing through which God makes His appeal to those around you to be reconciled to Christ. Harper Smyth wrote, “Make me a channel of blessing today, Make me a channel of blessing, I pray; My life possessing, my service blessing, Make me a channel of blessing today.”
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