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God Wants to Quench Our Thirsty Souls

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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God wants to quench the thirst in our souls, so: 1. He reveals Himself to us. 2. He invites us to Him. 3. He tells us how to respond. 4. He gives Himself to us.

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God Wants to Quench Our Thirsty Souls

The Gospel of John

John 7:37-39; Leviticus 23:33-43

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - December 7, 2016

(Revised August 27, 2019)


*Please open your Bibles to John 7:37. Tonight we will look into the glorious truth that God wants to quench our greatest thirst: the spiritual thirst in our souls. By this time, Jesus was in the third year of His earthly ministry, and He was at the annual Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem.

*The religious rulers of the Jews had been wanting to kill Christ for months. They claimed that Jesus deserved the death penalty because He violated the Sabbath Day. But Jesus never disobeyed God's Law even once in His whole life. The Jewish rulers also accused Jesus of blasphemy, because He said God was His Father, and that made Him equal with God (John 5:18).

*The Lord was telling the absolute truth when He said God was His Father. And in John7:7, He gives us the real reason why those rulers wanted to kill Him. Speaking to His unbelieving brothers, Jesus said, "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil."

*In John 7, Jesus was only 6 months away from the cross. And here at the Feast of the Tabernacles, He offers to quench our spiritual thirst forever. Let's begin by reading John 7:37-39:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart (or belly) will flow rivers of living water.''

39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.


*Have you ever been thirsty? Really thirsty? Think about being so thirsty that your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, and all you can think about is water.

*Joey Mora found out what it's like to be that thirsty. In 1996, Joey was a young marine standing on the platform of an aircraft carrier patrolling in the Iranian Sea. Then in a shocking accident, Joey fell overboard, and incredibly, he wasn't missed for 36 hours!

*A search and rescue mission started but was abandoned after another 24 hours. They thought no one could survive 60 hours in the ocean without a lifejacket. Joey's parents were notified that he was "missing and presumed dead."

*The rest of the story is a miracle! Four Pakistani fishermen found Joey Mora about 72 hours after he had fallen from the aircraft carrier. He had taken off his pants, tied a knot in both legs, and trapped some air in them. That was the only thing holding Joey up, and he was floating in his sleep when the men found him. Joey was delirious when they pulled him into their fishing boat. His tongue was dry and cracked, and his throat was parched.

*Two years later, he told his story to Stone Philips of NBC Dateline. Joey said it was God who kept him struggling to survive. And the most excruciating thing of all was the one thought that took over his body and pounded in his brain: "Water!" (1)

*That is the kind of spiritual thirst God wants to quench in our souls.


*God has a great desire to reveal Himself to people. And the greatest way that God ever reveals Himself is through His Word: God's written Word, and the living Word, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

*Remember what John wrote about Jesus in John 1:14-18:

14. . . The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15. John (the Baptist) bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'''

16. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.

17. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

*Also remember what Hebrews 1:1-3 says about Jesus:

1. God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.

2. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

3. who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

*Jesus Christ is God's greatest revelation of all! But God loves us so much that He also reveals Himself in a variety of other ways. Think of the wonders of creation for example. Psalm 19:1 tells us that "the heavens declare the glory of God," and they surely do for all who will see.

*God also designed earthly things to help us understand everlasting things. He reveals Himself through good relationships among family and friends. The relationships between a good father and his children, a godly marriage, and close relationships with friends we love and trust. All of these can point us to the kind of relationship that God wants to have with people.

*God also reveals Himself through religious ceremonies. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are object lessons to communicate the truths of the cross to us in special ways. And that's the kind of thing that happened at here in John 7.

*Jesus and a huge crowd of Jews were at the Feast of the Tabernacles. And though it was one of the three great Jewish Feasts each year, this is the only time it is specifically mentioned in the New Testament.

*Leviticus 23:33-36 tells us the origin of this feast:

33. Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

34. "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.

35. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.

36. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it."

*Then in Leviticus 23:39-43, the Lord told Moses to say:

39. 'Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.

40. And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

41. You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

42. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths,

43. that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.'''

*During this feast all of the people left their houses to live for a week in little huts made out of branches from palm and other trees. William Barkley explained that these booths sprang up everywhere. They were on the flat roofs of the houses, in the streets and city squares, in the gardens, and even in the courts of the Temple.

*The people had very precise instructions on how the tabernacles had to be made, because God was reminding them of many things. When they looked up at night, they had to be able to see the stars through the branches.

*God was reminding them that this is a big universe, and He is in charge of it all. The Lord was also reminding them of the time when their ancestors were homeless wanderers in the wilderness for 40 years. That also reminded people of the sin of unbelief, because the only reason they had to wander for 40 years was because they didn't trust the Lord enough to go into His Promised Land. Looking back on the wilderness years also reminded the Jews that the Lord did lead His people through the wilderness, and He did bring them into the Promised Land.

*Those temporary huts during the Feast of the Tabernacles also remind us that this world is not our home. We are just passing through. And in a sense, the houses we live in are just as temporary as those huts made from branches.

*Another fact about the Feast of the Tabernacles was that everybody had to live in the booths. Everybody: Both rich and poor, both young and old, everyone from the top leaders on down. God was reminding His people that He is no respecter of persons. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, and everybody needs Jesus!

*But this was also a thanksgiving festival. It came at harvest time. And the people were joyfully thankful over the bounty of nature that God had given. Each day, as part of the celebration, a priest would take a golden pitcher and go down to the Pool of Siloam to fill it with water. (John 9:7 tells us that this name "Siloam" means "Sent.")

*The pitcher of water was carried back through the Water Gate while the people recited Isaiah 12:3, "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." The water was carried up to the altar and poured out with great rejoicing as an offering to God. (2)

*It might have been at that very moment when in vs. 37, "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.'" Here Jesus was revealing that the true source of living water was not the pool called "Sent." It is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was sent from Heaven above to die on the cross for our sins!

*God Almighty was revealing Himself to them, and He wants to reveal Himself to you!


*Again in vs. 37: "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.'"


*It's big. It's broad. It's generous. It's an invitation for any man or woman, anyone who seeks Jesus' help, anyone who needs His help, anyone who is thirsty for the things of God.

*Jesus Christ wants to quench our emotional and spiritual thirst. Church: Whatever we are thirsty for tonight, we can trust in the Lord to meet those needs in the right way at the right time.

*And beyond the doors of our church, there is infinitely more thirst out in our world. There are multitudes of lost and lonely people, many who are dismayed, depressed and deceived, many who are hopeless and dying without the Lord.

*There is great spiritual thirst in our world, and Jesus Christ wants to quench that thirst! He says: "If ANYONE thirsts, let him come to Me and drink."


*Come to Jesus! Come to Jesus, because no one can help you like Jesus can. No one can meet our needs like Jesus can. No one can wash away our sins but Jesus. And no one can give us the everlasting living water but Jesus Christ!


*This was not some casual call to follow the Lord. Jesus is passionate about His call. We see the Lord's passion and compassion in the way He stood. Jesus stood up to give His invitation, and this showed special urgency. Much of the teaching of the day was done while seated, but Jesus stood, because He was giving an urgent invitation.

*We see the Lord's passion in the way He stood, and in the way He spoke. Jesus didn't whisper, "Oh by the way, y'all. If you're ever thirsty for real life. Come by and see me sometime." No. Jesus cried out with all His might, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink."

*Jesus cried out! Not just to be heard, but because He cared so much about the spiritual and emotional thirst of these people. The Lord knows more than anyone how desperately people need His living water. And Jesus knows they can only get it from Him. So He urgently cries out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink."


*In this Scripture, the Lord gives us 3 key words to describe what we need to do: Come. Drink. Believe. Please listen for these words as we read vs. 37-38 again:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him COME to Me and DRINK.

38. He who BELIEVES in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

*Come. Drink. Believe: These are 3 different ways of describing what we need to do in order to receive the spiritual water of the Lord and His everlasting life.


*There has to be intentional movement in our heart and soul and life. The great news is that we can start wherever we are right now. And when you think about it, that's the only place we can start! We can't start from someplace we've never been, so where ever you are right now, move your heart toward Jesus! See the Lord as He has revealed Himself, and simply go to Him.


*In a spiritual way, of course, we have to drink Jesus into our lives. In other words: Something on the outside has to come inside, or rather, SOMEONE on the outside has to come inside. That someone is the Holy Spirit of the Lord. And He doesn't force His way in.

*We have to realize that Jesus Christ is the only one who can give us the spiritual, living water. He is the only one who can quench our thirsty souls forever. Then we consciously and deliberately open our hearts, our lives, and our souls to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. In that moment, Jesus comes into our lives by His Holy Spirit.


*We have to place our faith in Jesus Christ, put our trust in Him. This means we have confidence in who Jesus is, what Jesus says, and what Jesus can do.

*We certainly can have this confidence in the Lord, because of what Jesus has already done! Jesus Christ already died on the cross for our sins. And He already rose again from the dead!

*No one else can do what Jesus can do for you! He is worthy of our trust! But we have to trust in Him. That's our obligation for receiving the living water of God's Holy Spirit. And God wants us to have this living water.


*Again in vs. 37-39:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

*At this point there are some crucial things we need to know about God's Holy Spirit. Some people might ask, "What is the Holy Spirit?" But a better question is: "WHO is the Holy Spirit?" And the answer is "God." The Holy Spirit along with God the Father and God the Son is the ever-existing, everlasting God.

*The Holy Spirit is God. That's why He is called "The Spirit of God" 26 times in the Bible. He is also called "The Spirit of the Lord" 28 times, and "The Spirit of Christ" twice.

*The Holy Spirit is and always has been God, one with the Father and the Son. This is also why when Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit in John 14:23, the Lord said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

*God the Father and His Son our Savior Jesus Christ are both up in Heaven right now. But when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, they literally and spiritually come into us. How? By the Holy Spirit of God!

*The Holy Spirit is God, and He has always been at work. But ever since the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, God's Spirit has been at work in new and marvelous ways. It was a gigantic shift in the way God worked in the world. And John was speaking about this shift here in vs. 39.

*God wants us to understand that His Holy Spirit works today in ways He did not work before Jesus died on the cross, rose again from the dead, ascended back into Heaven, and was glorified for His triumph over sin and death.

*This present reality can be hard for us to appreciate, because we have always been surrounded by God's Spirit working this new way. But John talked about it here about 6 months before it happened. And one of the ways the Holy Spirit works today is like living water.

*God wants to give His living water to people, but it never could have happened until God the Father gave His only begotten Son to come into the world. And it never could have happened until Jesus gave His life on the cross for our sins.

*Now, by His Holy Spirit, God also gives Himself to everyone who will believe in Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in vs. 38, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''


*Jesus doesn't just give us a few drops of living water, or a little trickle of living water, or even a river of living water. Jesus wants to give RIVERS of living water in our souls!

*Way back in 1976, Mary and I got to drive all the way from Florida to Canada. And without a doubt, one of the most awesome things we saw was Niagara Falls. What an amazing sight!

*After seeing the falls from the top, we went down and took a ride on one of the "Maid of the Mist" boats. They travel just as close as they safely can to the churning water at the foot of the falls. It's breath-taking to see so much beauty and power flowing all around you. And Niagara Falls is a picture of what Jesus talked about here.

*But the Lord was talking about something infinitely bigger than Niagara Falls! He was talking about living rivers of spiritual water flowing in and through everyone who trusts in Christ. God truly wants to give us something on the inside that is much bigger than we are! And when it comes to the rivers of God's living water, we will always find more than enough to satisfy!


*Again in vs. 38, Jesus said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will FLOW rivers of living water.'' God doesn't want us to keep His rivers bottled up inside. He wants us to let the waters flow to everyone around us!

*I want more of that living water flowing though me. And Christians, I'm sure that you do too. Dwight Moody helps us know what to do.

*One time, Mr. Moody was preaching when he raised an empty glass in front of the people and said, "Tell me, -- How can I get the air out of the glass I have in my hand?" One man said, "Suck it out with a pump." But the preacher replied, "That would create a vacuum and shatter it."

*Finally, after many suggestions, Moody picked up a pitcher and quietly filled the glass with water. "There," he said, "all the air is now removed."

*Then that wonderful preacher explained that victory for the child of God does not come by working hard to eliminate sinful habits. But rather by allowing the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ to take full possession of our lives. (3)


*God wants to quench the thirst in our souls! So, come to Jesus! Receive rivers of living water by receiving the risen Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Then thank God for His rivers of living water! And let the water start to flow through you.

(1) Sources:

-Marine Survives 36 Hours At Sea - Inflates Uniform Into Life Preserver After Falling Overboard - November 30, 1995 By Knight-Ridder/Tribune


-SermonCentral sermon "A Drink for a Dehydrated Soul" by Ryan Johnson - John 4:4-14, John 7:37 - 03062002

-SermonCentral sermon "Stay Thirsty My Friends" by Jeffrey Smead - John 4:5-15, John 7:37, Psalms 42:1, Psalms 63:1, Matthew 5:6 - 03212014

(2) Sources:

-WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas (A. T.) Robertson - Published in 1930-1933 - John 7:37

-"Feast of the Tabernacles" -

-Adapted from "Barclay's Daily Bible Study Series - NT" by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew - Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "The Fountain of Living Water" - John 7:37-44



-JOHN GILL'S EXPOSITION OF THE BIBLE by Dr. John Gill, D.D. - 1697-1771 - Published in 1746-1766, 1816 - John 7:37

(3) SermonCentral illustration contributed by Ritch Grimes

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