Anyone. Anyone who is thirsty. Anyone. Anyone who thirsts. Anyone who has become dissatisfied with a lifeless life. Discontent with existing, but not living. Anyone.
Jesus stands on the last and the greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles and declared that for those who are spiritually thirsty, living water is a present reality.
During the Feast of Tabernacles there were two primary ceremonies. One was the Festival of Lights in which lamps were lit all around the Temple courtyard on the final night commemorating the restoration of the Temple by the Maccabees during the inter-testimonial period. It is as the light of these lamps flood the Temple grounds that Jesus stands and exclaims, “I am the Light of the world.” Earlier on the final day of Tabernacles was the water libation ceremony in which water would be poured out before the people upon an altar symbolizing the water from the rock in the desert wandering (Exodus 17), through which God saved and provided for His people. It is during this ceremony that Jesus stands and declares, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38).
A few chapters earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus had spoken similar words to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).
“This water” (I envision Jesus motioning toward the well). Physical water, the water of this world. Or “living water”. The choice is ours.
Why do we continue to believe that this world has anything to offer that satisfies? Why do we find ourselves returning to the well of despair? The well of heartache? The well of futility? Rather than drinking deep from the well of life? The living water of the Kingdom of Jesus.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8a)
“As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for the Living God” (Psalm 42:1-2a)
Living God. Living water. Life that is life. Life that is filled. For anyone who is thirsty. Anyone.
~~ Via West Erwin church of Christ bulletin, Tyler, Texas