The feast of tabernacles was about to take place in Jerusalem, it was a 7 day type of harvest festival. Jesus made His way there secretly to avoid the attention of the authorities who were already very hostile to Him (v7). The crowds who thought He was a good man were unwilling to say so openly for fear of the Jews (v13).
How much is our silence about Christ motivated by fear of man?
The people engaged with Jesus in discussions about His identity, origins and destiny (v25-36). The Pharisees hardened their hearts, but many of the people believed.
On the last day of the feast, the water ceremony (for late autumn rain), that had taken place every day, was repeated 7 times. Water was poured over the altar as Levites sangIsaiah 12:3. Against this backdrop Jesus declares (v37-39) ‘If any man is thirsty let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’ The writer goes on to say: ‘this he spoke of the Spirit whom those who believed in him were to receive.’
There is an interesting parallel here with Chapter 4 where Jesus, who is with the woman at the well, says ‘whoever drinks the water that I give him shall never thirst, but the water I give shall become in him a spring of water welling to eternal life.’ (v14). This is similar to the rivers of living water which will flow out from our innermost being (7:38). When we drink of this water (the Spirit), it becomes dynamic, bubbling up inside us and overflowing.
These water analogies remind me of the change in dynamic that takes place when we are baptised in the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit which we received at new birth takes on a whole new dynamic. Power is released, joy is released and spiritual gifts start to manifest!
Jesus said ‘If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink.’ Could it be that our experience of the Holy Spirit is directly proportional to how thirsty we are?
What are your experiences of being filled with the Holy Spirit?