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On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38 (NIV)

The Temple mount in Jerusalem had at least 37 great water cisterns, one of which held between two and three million gallons of water. The cisterns kept people alive in the dry, lip-cracking summer months. God is referred to in Jeremiah not as a cistern of living water, but a spring of living water (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13). He was a natural, free-flowing, drink-all-you-want spring of spiritual life.

On one occasion, God rebuked Israel’s idolatry by using water and cisterns as a picture they would readily understand. Not only had Israel forsaken their free-flowing spring of spiritual life, they had built cracked, broken cisterns of their own that leaked the water and ran dry as fast as they filled them (Jeremiah 2:13). Their cisterns? Idols. Trying to get spiritual life from an idol was like pouring water into a cracked cistern. You never have time to drink because you’re constantly repairing the container.

Jesus stood up at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem hundreds of years later and said that streams of living water could flow from the Jews if they would believe in him! (John 7:37-38) This would amount to blasphemy for a religious Jew, for living water could flow only from God himself, as Jeremiah had said. But then they likely would have remembered Isaiah 58:8 where God had told their forefathers that those who believe and obey him would be “like a spring whose waters never fail.” Standing on a mountain honeycombed with cisterns, Jesus divided Jerusalem like a cracked cistern with his words (John 7:43). He suggested they were dry idolaters, echoing Jeremiah, but offered them “Springship” if they would believe in him, repeating God’s offer through Isaiah. And he did it all in late October when water was plentiful from winter rains. He was talking about the dry state of their souls.

What Jesus didn’t tell them, but John tells us (John 7:39), was that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. Believe in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit, and become a source of living water, of spiritual life. If you are thirsty, you need never go through a dry season again. Let his living water flow from within you today.

God’s Promise to You:

“You will never be spiritually dry if you believe in my Son.”

Ken Boa

About the Author

Dr. Kenneth "Ken" Boa is engaged in a life-ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Case Institute of Technology , a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary , a Doctorate from New York University , and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England. Dr. Boa is the President of Reflections Ministries, an organization that seeks to encourage, teach, and equip people to know Christ, follow Him, become progressively conformed to His image, and reproduce His life in others. He is also President of Trinity House Publishers, a publishing company that is dedicated to the creation of tools that will help people manifest eternal values in a temporal arena by drawing them into intimacy with God and a better understanding of the culture in which they live.