March 29 I Friday
“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
As Christians, we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to live godly lives, and most of us find it relatively easy to embrace like-minded people united in Christ. But what about those outside of Christ? Many develop an “eat, drink and be merry’” attitude towards life and habitually indulge in carnal things of this world to find satisfaction. How are we to perceive them and how are we to love them?
This was the environment Jesus found Himself in at the Festival of Tabernacles, a thanksgiving feast on the Jewish calendar, lasting eight days. People came to Jerusalem from all over, pitching tents in the streets
and anticipating a time of joy and celebration. But it was also a celebration that set the scene for reckless and immoral behaviour.
How did Jesus perceive the people? Emotions are running high, inhibitions low, and He sees a broken people grasping at anything that will provide a measure of satisfaction. He does not view them with contempt or judgment, but with compassion and love. He knows the revelry of the celebration will soon wear off, and they will begin to see the hollowness of it all and be searching again. So on the last day of the festival, Jesus stands up and says in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”
On occasions like this, the unsatisfied thirst of the human soul will surface and drink liberally from fountains of joy, laughter and merriment. When Jesus speaks to the people, He uses the same imagery God did when He said to Jeremiah, “They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). When we turn away from God, we do not move into no man’s land. The glitter of alternative things tantalizes, and we are easily seduced into digging our own cisterns. Any cistern other than Christ Himself is broken; perhaps a small crack we hardly notice at first, but the crack gets bigger and the cistern is soon unable to hold water. We are left drained and thirsting for something else.
The only thing that fully satisfies is Jesus Christ. As Christians, we need to be able to feel compassion the way Jesus did and see the brokenness in those seeking satisfaction in alternative ways. We need to love them enough to speak of the Living Water that is Christ Himself, the only cistern that fully satisfies, never cracks, never breaks, never runs dry, and will flow out from us to the benefit of others.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for filling me with Living Water. I pray that streams of it will flow out from within me to bring others into relationship with You. Thank You, Lord.