This passage opens in the last day of the feast. Jesus extends an invitation to those who believe on Him and His gospel. Jesus speaks of thirst, but it is spiritual thirst. He tells them that whosoever drinks of this water will never thirst. Out of their bellies shall flow “living” water. Jesus was not speaking of natural water. They would be filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was not given yet because Jesus had not left yet. The ministry of the Holy Spirit would go into effect when Jesus returned to Heaven.
On the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, the priest at dawn and the people joined in a joyful procession with a golden pitcher to the pool of Siloam. When they arrived at the pool, they filled the pitcher with two pints of water and went back to the Temple. The crowd marched with palm and willow branches. They entered the Temple area at the Water Gate and quoted the following verse:
Isaiah 12:3 (KJV)
(3) “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
The water was poured out on the west side of the brazen altar as the Temple choir sang Psalm 113-118. The branches were waved at the end of the song. This was a reminder of God’s provision of water from the smitten rock in the wilderness, and it expressed gratitude for the rains.
On the eighth day of this feast, the people marched around the brazen altar seven times. This commemorated their victory at Jericho. At this time, the people are hot and thirsty from marching. The water is being poured out. Jesus speaks at this time.
John 7:37-38 (KJV)
(37) “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Jesus is humanity’s thirst quencher. He is the only one that can satisfy man’s thirsty soul.
Psalm 42:1 (KJV)
(1) “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.”
Jesus says “Out of his belly (the believer) shall flow rivers of living water.” [Addition mine] The belly craves and desires satisfaction, but it is never satisfied permanently. Jesus tells them to drink of Him and they would be satisfied. Water is a necessary part of our lives. Jesus says here that we must make Him a necessary part of our lives.
1. The Spring of Salvation–Salvation begins with Christ.
John 3:5 (KJV)
(5) “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
2. A Full Well–Springing up leads to fullness.
John 4:14 (KJV)
(14) “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
3. An Overflowing River–A vessel will not overflow until it’s full.
John 7:38 (KJV)
(38) “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
There are several insights about water and the Lord.
Water is for drinking. It is a picture of the Holy Spirit. As water satisfies and produces fruit, the Holy Spirit does the same for us.
Water is for washing. It is also a picture of the Word of God, which cleanses us like water. John (KJV)
(3) “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
One of the purposes of being filled with the Spirit is so you can become an overflowing river able to satisfy and bless the lives of other people.