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|Posted on April 5, 2016 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
Rivers of Living Water
John 7:37 (ESV) On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
There was a tradition that each day of the Feasts of Booths water would be drawn from the pool of Siloam and carried to the temple to be poured out as a part of the morning offering. As the priests carrying the golden goblet of water entered the inner courts of the temple, trumpets sounded three times and the crowd recited Isaiah 12:3.
Isaiah 12:3 (NASB) Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.
On the last day of the feast, Jesus used this time of pouring out the water to make a clear invitation to come to Him as the provider of living water. His words were reminiscent of Isaiah 55:1 though not a direct quote.
Isaiah 55:1 (NASB) “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
The Jewish people listening to Him would recognize those scriptures and some would understand His meaning. His statement probably made some of their hearts burn within them.
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
When Jesus speaks of the scripture foretelling rivers of living water, He does not quote a specific verse or passage. Ezekiel 47:1-9 speaks of a trickle flowing out from the temple that becomes deeper and deeper and flows out farther and farther. It begins at the prophet’s ankles and ends up being a river he had to swim in. All that the river touched lived. Zechariah 13:1 has a similar message about a fountain, again flowing water:
Zechariah 13:1 (NASB) “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.
A river has a continuous flow. The river, being representative of God working in the believer’s life, is a conduit of His love and grace. Oswald Chambers said of John 7:38, “Jesus did not say – ‘he that believeth in Me shall realize the blessing of the fullness of God,’ but – ‘he that believeth in Me out of him shall escape everything he receives.’” He also stated, “If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts.” However, as Susan already said, a river flows continuously. God’s living water never ceases to flow through us, so when we pour forth into others’ lives, we are then replenished. If we are experiencing times of drought, we need only rest in Him and wait for His rain to fall. It ALWAYS will!
John 7:39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The prophet Joel foretold the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all those who trust in Christ, first manifest on the day of Pentecost as a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire and recorded in Acts 2. This occurred after Jesus had been crucified, risen, and ascended to the Father to return to His glorified state.
Joel 2:28 (NASB) “It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
Peter quoted this passage from Joel in his sermon to the people to explain how the disciples were enabled to speak in many languages that all might hear the gospel in their native tongue.
Jesus left us here with the job of being His witnesses and ambassadors. The rivers of living water, the Holy Spirit, is our empowerment to fulfill our purpose. Jesus is proclaiming Himself to be the sole source of the living water. He is the Word incarnate, and He is the thirst quencher. He is the Living Bread and the Living Water. Your hunger is filled, and your thirst is quenched when you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus.
When Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink,” He was giving a pattern for receiving the gift of salvation. What does He mean by thirsting? To be spiritually thirsty is to recognize that there is a separation, a disconnect between a holy God and yourself. And that disconnect is caused by sin. To thirst is to realize that you are a sinner, a person who falls short of God’s holy perfection and that you are unable to reach up to Him on your own. You realize the water fountain is twenty feet tall, and you are only three foot, two inches. No way you can jump up and drink! Jesus says, “Come to me,” because Jesus is the only way to the Father, the only one who can lift you up. He is the way of escape from sin, separation from God, by receiving His invitation and creating unity with God. Jesus is the bridge between the Father and humanity. Or in my earlier illustration, He is the big brother who lifts you up to the twenty-foot high fountain. When you place your trust in the One who is offering you the water, He will enable you to drink.
John 7:40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.”
There were some people who were only ready to acknowledge Jesus as a prophet but not necessarily the Son of God or equal to God. Now there were others who believed He was the Messiah, the Anointed One foretold in Scripture. So some were drawn closer to trusting in Jesus.
John 7:41b But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”
As far as the people knew, Jesus was from the village of Nazareth in the region of Galilee, but the Old Testament predicted the Messiah would come from Bethlehem which was located in the region of Judea. The people were focused on geography because they did not realize He was born in Bethlehem. They were majoring on the minor instead of majoring on the major, the fact that God had validated Jesus through signs and wonders and his exhibiting unique knowledge of the scriptures when teaching in the temple. They did not seek out the facts, and did not even ask Jesus where He was born.
John 7:43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
There were believers and doubters, the two camps that still exist today. As preachers often say, you are either saved or you are lost (not saved). There were fence-sitters, doubters, and then there were those who out and out rejected Jesus as Messiah. The fence-sitters were still not believers but were open to listening some more if given the opportunity, but those who had made up their minds that Jesus was not the Christ wanted to arrest Him. The sovereignty of the Father prevented them from arresting Jesus every time until the appointed time.
Q – Are you thirsty for something this world cannot supply? Is there a hunger within you for a fulfilling life that seems out of your reach? The Living Bread and Living Water that can supply all you are missing are found in the person of Jesus Christ. Trust Him to lift you to the Father today!
|Posted on March 4, 2016 at 10:45 PM||comments (0)|
John 4:27 (ESV) Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”
If the disciples had come back too soon, they would have interrupted the important exchange between Jesus and the woman. Had they been much later, they would not have been privy to His meeting with her at all. I do not believe in coincidences. God’s timing is always perfect. Jesus probably wanted them to catch the end of the conversation because He wanted them to understand that He did not have the “Hatfields and McCoys” prejudice that was expected of a Jewish man when in the presence of a woman, especially one from Samaria. The disciples were surprised that Jesus was talking with a woman but none of them was bold enough to ask him about it, not even Peter who had a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. Perhaps they did not want to open a can of worms or risk a lecture about why the prejudice that had existed for a long time needed to be set aside. Jesus offered salvation EVEN to the Samaritans.
John 4:28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
The woman abandoned her water jar in her excitement to tell the very people who had probably scorned her that she believed the Messiah was right there in their town. In her exuberance, the very reason she went to the well flew right out of her head and she left her water behind. All she could think about was sharing the joy of the freedom she had found in the Messiah. Because of her testimony that Jesus knew everything about her without being told, the people headed out to see Him for themselves. The passion in her voice and the zeal with which she was sharing her encounter caused the townspeople to become inquisitive for themselves. Perhaps their entire perspective could be changed as hers was. She obviously had found something they each lacked. The living water which flew right past her at first was now flowing through her to others. After her encounter with Jesus, the Samaritan woman became insightful. The Holy Spirit had enabled her to understand at last.
John 4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
Meanwhile, back at the well, the disciples are trying to get Jesus to eat the food they purchased for Him. They have no idea what just transpired and are only thinking of taking care of His human, physical needs. Jesus had sent them to get food, but now He is not eating it. What’s the deal?
John 4:32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?”
When Jesus tells the disciples He has food they are unaware of, they (like Nicodemus and the woman) are understanding this in terms of the physical. They do not realize He is speaking of spiritual nourishment.
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
So Jesus explains that His food is to do God’s will. Jesus’ main purpose in becoming flesh was to show us the way to the Father in a tangible form to which we could relate. The final fulfillment of this purpose was to die in our place on the cross. This was the ultimate demonstration of the Father’s love for all who would believe and become His children.
Even for us, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing God’s will and obeying it. We can have completely full bellies yet feel a hunger deep within if we are not living out our God-given purposes. As Christians, we all have the primary purpose of “knowing God and making Him known” as Dawson Trotman of the Navigators so aptly put it. The specific ways that we fulfill making God known falls to every believer individually as they submit the gifts that God has bestowed upon them back to Him for His service. This is the secret of being spiritually filled. As Paul stated in Philippians, we can be content even if hungry or in need:
Philippians 4:12 (NIV) I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
The secret of contentment is to be completely surrendered to Jesus Christ and filled with the power of His Holy Spirit.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
When our primary pursuit is an intimate, obedient relationship with our Lord, our spiritual hunger will be satiated. If we neglect to use the gifts the Lord has given us, we starve spiritually. If we are not being filled, we have nothing to pour out on others. This is why mentorship is vital, to nourish others. The mentors/ministers need someone to pour into them as well. And all of us need to be plugged into the main source – the Word of God.
John 4:35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Four months before harvest, the grain would still be green. A note in the John MacArthur Study Bible indicated that the crowd of people coming out from the town of Sychar, wearing the whitish robes of the day, may have looked like ripe heads of grain against the field of green. The harvest was coming to them, and all they had to do was reap. Because Jesus knows the hearts of men, has an eye better than superman’s, He knows they are ripe for harvest. He knows they are being drawn by the Holy Spirit to salvation. Jesus says to the disciples, “Get busy, boys, here they come!” As we serve Jesus, we are given the privilege of sowing seed (the Word of God) and reaping the harvest, seeing others surrender their lives to the Lord. Sometimes we sow, and sometimes we reap what others have sown. The disciples were late arriving to the harvest party, but Jesus still included them in the most important festivities. They probably had the privilege of baptizing the new believers. Both sowers and reapers receive wages or rewards. The wages or profit which Jesus offers here is the joy of seeing new believers come into the Kingdom of God. These rewards are accredited to our eternal account.
John 4:39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.
Because of the testimony of one woman, an awakening began in Sychar. The woman’s encounter with Jesus made her fearlessly bold. She dared to approach men with the message that she believed Jesus to be the Messiah and zealously presented them an impassioned plea to come and see for themselves. After they had met Jesus face to face, the people asked Him to stay with them because they wanted to hear more of what He preached. They were mesmerized by the truths that He was sharing and asked Him to stay on and teach them more. So Jesus and the disciples stayed there for two days. He not only traveled through Samaria, but lodged there!
John 4:41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
After hearing Jesus teach, many more believed. Some told the woman they now believed because of hearing it with their own ears. What the woman had told them got them to travel to where Jesus was, but what Jesus taught after they arrived caused them to believe. They proclaimed that Jesus was “indeed the Savior of the world.” Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah.
Q – We are tempted to believe that our one voice cannot make a difference in our world. The witness of this one rather unlikely woman sparked an interest that changed an entire town. Will you venture to be that one voice that shares with others the truth that Jesus has changed your life and is able to change theirs? You do not have to be a theologian to share what Jesus has done for you and invite others to hear more at your Bible teaching church. Will you take a moment to share today? Jesus may use you to awaken someone to their need. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?!
|Posted on March 3, 2016 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
John 4:1 (ESV) Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.
Jesus delegated the work and privilege of baptizing people to His disciples (students). Since the crowds following them in Judea had attracted the negative attention of the Pharisees, He decided to travel to Galilee. It was not yet time for Him to be sacrificed, so we wanted to avoid the scrutiny of the Pharisees for a time. Jesus still needed to build a firm foundation for the disciples from which they could teach after He had returned to the Father. He would also perform more miracles to confirm and solidify in His followers’ minds His position as the Son of God.
John 4:4 And he had to pass through Samaria.
The Jews did not like the Samaritans and would sometimes take the long way around rather than travel through that region. When the Northern Kingdom was taken captive by the Assyrians, a small group was left behind. The Assyrians brought in other groups to live there, and the Jews who remained intermarried with them. So the Samaritans were despised as “half-breeds” and idol worshippers. They had also built a temple on Mr. Gerizim and worshipped there rather than traveling to Jerusalem. There was an extreme prejudice that worked both ways between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews did not consider the Samaritans to be authentic worshippers of the one true God. The Samaritans were loathsome to the Jews and vice versa.
There were other routes to Galilee that Jesus could have taken as many other Jews did, but he “needed” to go through Samaria. This could have been because it was the shortest route, or it could have been that He knew of the divine appointment waiting for Him at Jacob’s well. He knew He was about to embark on a life changing encounter, not just for one woman but for an entire community.
John 4:5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Jesus was exhausted from traveling and exhibiting the frailty of His humanity. He experienced hunger and thirst just as we do, so He sent the disciples to buy food. As we learned in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh.” He was completely human, willingly limiting His powers as God.
John 4:7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Reformation Study Bible:
4:9 Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. This phrase could also be translated, “Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans,” referring to the legislation that forbade a Jew to eat or drink with Samaritans, who were more lax in their understanding of ritual cleanness. The surprise was not so much that Jesus would speak with a Samaritan, but that He would drink from a Samaritan vessel.
This is reminiscent of the separate drinking fountains for “White” and “Colored” which I even remember seeing as a child in the late 1950’s and early sixties. How sad that these kinds of behaviors were still present and tolerated in our lifetimes. However, the separation between the Jews and the Samaritans was due more to religious views than the race issue. The Samaritan woman was shocked that Jesus, a Jew, would talk to a woman, let alone a Samaritan woman. At that time women were not seen as equal to men and were treated almost like property. It was even more astounding that He would be willing to drink out of her water jug since it might not be “ceremonially clean” according to Jewish standards! He was definitely stepping outside the social norms of the day.
John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
Jesus, who would later die on the cross to give us the gift of forgiveness of sin and eternity with God, says, “If you only knew who you were talking to!” He basically says, “You don’t know this yet, but you should be the one asking Me for drink.” Jesus IS the gift of God, and has the power to give the gift of the indwelling Spirit to those who believe on His name. He speaks of “living water” which goes whoosh over her head because, like Nicodemus, she is thinking literally rather than figuratively. She is only thinking in terms of her five senses.
Reformation Bible Study:
4:10 the gift of God. This expression emphasizes that salvation is not earned but given (Eph. 2:8.) Jesus Himself is the gift of God (3:16; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:25).
living water. In the Old Testament, living or running water was employed figuratively as a reference to divine activity (Jer. 2:13; Zech. 14:8.) See also v. 14 and 7:37–39.
John 4:11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
Sometimes when I read the Bible, I am tempted to think, “How dense were these people?!” I forget that since I grew up mostly in church, I know the rest of the story. This woman was talking to a total stranger who seems to be talking in code that she is currently unable to crack. She does not yet have the 6th sense of the Holy Spirit interpreting things for her. Therefore, she wonders how He can offer her water when He has no bucket to lower into the well. After all, He asked her to give Him a drink. She wonders if He thinks He is greater than the patriarch Jacob who established the well in the first place. Both Jews and Samaritans revered Jacob as an important forefather of their people. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the pillars of their culture and their belief system.
John 4:13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Obviously, Jesus is not talking about actual, liquid water. Jesus is using a spring of water to represent the presence of the Spirit of God evident in the life of the believer. His Holy Spirit flows in, thru, and from us when we commit our lives to His saving care. He speaks of eternal life, the thing we should really thirst after. Once we belong to Jesus, we need never thirst for God again because He is with us always in the form of the Holy Spirit, the Living Water.
John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
We will study John 7:38 in more depth later.
John 4:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Okay, once He spoke of eternal life, I really think she should have had a clue that He was not talking about quenching her physical thirst. I’ve heard preached that she may have jumped at the idea of not needing to come to the well because her reputation would have drawn scorn from the other women there. Instead of gossip at the water cooler, it was gossip at the water well. Besides, never being thirsty would be an excellent benefit, but Jesus was offering her so much more!
John 4:16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
Here’s where it gets sticky. Jesus seems to be changing the subject, but He is really transitioning to help her see her need of the kind of water He has to offer. His request draws her out and causes her to reveal what He already knows. Once again, we see that Jesus has the power to see deep within us.
Hebrews 4:13 (ESV) And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
We might as well be completely honest with God because He alone knows the complete truth about us. We cannot hide! Jesus is better than Paul Harvey…He truly knows the rest of the story because, after all, He wrote it.
John 4:17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
She tells the truth that she is not married, but Jesus responds with the entire truth of her past. She was not only astonished that He knew the entire truth but that He was willing to listen to her which was probably something she had not experienced ever. Now He is not only talking to a Samaritan woman but an adulterous Samaritan woman. She had probably never been treated as if she had any substantive worth. Jesus did not detest her like most people she encountered. However, He made clear that she could hide nothing from Him.
John 4:19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
The woman acknowledges that Jesus must be a prophet since He knew about her marital situations without being told but then brings up another controversy that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritans only accepted the Pentateuch which is the first five books of the Old Testament, but the Jews recognized the remainder of the Old Testament as well. Both groups could cite references to support which mountain the temple should occupy. Why she brought that up is a mystery to me. Perhaps she is trying to lure Jesus into being judgmental? Or perhaps she was trying to understand the reason why they have a different view of the matter. Or maybe she just wanted to leave the squirmy feeling of talking about her adulterous behavior.
John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Jesus makes the point that it is not worth debating because He knows that temple worship will soon be ended. There would be no further need of daily sacrifices once His work was completed on the cross. He states that salvation is through the Jews. The promise was made that salvation would come through Abraham’s seed and David’s throne but would bless all nations. The Jews knew Who they worshipped, but ultimately only those who recognize Jesus as the Messiah will be the true worshippers.
John 4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus could tell the woman that the hour is now here because He had arrived on the scene. His ministry on earth as the God-Man ushered in the time when people must worship “in spirit and truth.” God’s Holy Spirit within us enables us to commune with and worship God who is spirit. Knowing our life comes from the Spirit of God, we are constantly intertwined and empowered as we worship Him with complete honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. We need not hold anything back because as previously stated, God already knows.
Romans 8:16 (NIV) The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
We know we are His as we are led by the Holy Spirit. He affirms we are His chosen, adopted children by the way He moves in our lives and enables us to exalt Jesus, blazing an adventurous trail as we serve Him. This life we live in Him is not dull. It is exciting, exhilarating, and fulfilling! Come live in our home for a while and you will see. It might get a bit cramped since there are already two of us in a one-bedroom apartment. Perhaps you might stick with visiting us on this blog until the Lord provides a guest room.
John 4:25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
This is the one occasion before Jesus was brought to trial that He point blank declares Himself to be the Messiah. In the case of the Samaritan woman, He makes sure she can make no mistake about Who He is. He is God in the flesh. In the original language this could be translated, “I who speak to you am.” This is reminiscent of the way God chose to introduce Himself to Moses when He said, “I am that I am.” His statement should clear up the mud in the woman’s thinking about “living water.”
Q – Are you thirsty for things only God can provide – forgiveness, cleansing, and power to live victoriously for Him? Have you come to the One who can give you living water? If so, Praise Him! If not, we pray you will understand His invitation to you and surrender your life right now. If you need further information about how to do this, contact us by using the “Contact Us” tab on the website.