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Come and drink

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Come and Drink (John 7:37-39)

Christ is the Source of life, and those who come to Him become themselves sources of life to others. This is the truth Jesus taught at the great Feast of Tabernacles. That great feast remembered the exodus and celebrated God's gift of rain. On each of seven days, a mighty procession carried water to the temple altar and poured it out in an impressive ceremony. On the last day of this feast, Christ stood at the critical moment of this ceremony to cry out, "If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink" (v. 37). By doing so, Christ dramatically presents Himself as the replacement for all outward religious ceremony, the fulfillment of every promise, and the substance behind every shadow.

Only Our Recognition of Need Hears the Invitation of Christ

Understand our recognition of need: "If any man thirst" (v. 37, KJV). Jesus used the most basic, physical needs to indicate our spiritual needs. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matt. 5:6). Behind Jesus' language is the scarcity of water and the constancy of thirst in the biblical world. The water salesman was a common sight in the marketplace: "Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!" (Isa. 55:1). The only fitness Christ requires is the recognition of our need.

Hear the invitation of Christ: ". . . let him come to me and drink." Christ offers Himself. He is the slaking of every thirst. Those who drank from the ceremonial waters poured out at the feast would always thirst again. He offers Himself as the fulfillment of all ritual, everything external and formal in religion. "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst" (John 4:13). John's Gospel presents Jesus as the final fulfillment of every hope God's people have ever had; the true Lamb of God (John 1), true brazen serpent (John 2), the true birth (John 3), the true bread from heaven (John 6), the true water from the rock (John 7), the true fiery cloud (John 8), and the true Passover Iamb (John 19). Whatever your heart thirsts for, He is the fulfillment.

The Invited Christ Becomes the Resource for Life

Two profound biblical images stand behind the truth of Christ as the resources for life. One image is from the exodus, the smitten rock that gives water in wilderness. The other is the great river that flows from the temple in the age to come.

Christ provides the source of the believer's life. Christ is the smitten Rock from whom the waters flow (1 Cor. 10:4). "One of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water" (John 19:34). The water flows from the innermost being of the smitten Lord. Jesus is also the new temple from which the river of life flows. Ezekiel 47 presents a mighty river flowing from under the threshold of the temple. The further it goes, the wider it grows and the deeper it flows. It flows to the Dead Sea where it gives life. Jesus is the temple! (John 2:21). The river now flows "from the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev. 22:1).

The believer becomes a source of life to others. He who comes to the Rock becomes a rock from whom life flows. Christ is the ultimate Source, but those who drink deep of the living water become fountains themselves. This answers the prophet: "(You shall] be . . . like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa. 58:11, KJV).

Jesus spoke all of this of the Holy Spirit, given only after His glorification (death, resurrection, and ascension). This is the great paradox that death is the beginning of life. Christ dies and gives the Spirit of life. I die to self and become the source of living waters to others.

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