John 7:37-44, NIV

37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and
said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and
drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him." 39 By this he
meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to
receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since
Jesus had not yet been glorified.

40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this
man is the Prophet." 41 Others said, "He is the Christ." Still
others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? 42 Does
not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family
and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" 43 Thus the
people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to
seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.


July 5, 2011
What are these streams of living water that Jesus is talking about?
Streams that are like a well of water within a person? The imagery of
water for the thirsty is not new with Jesus. The Old Testament prophet,
Isaiah, spoke of the joy of drawing "water from the wells of salvation"
and invited all who are thirsty to come, return to God and refresh their
souls through faithfulness to their Lord's covenant and commandments.

Back in 1983, I was using J.B. Phillips' paraphrase of the New Testament,
and that version uses the word "rivers" instead of streams. Was the
apostle Paul thinking about some mighty river when he exclaimed, "I can
do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Or was the Psalmist
drawing from the well when he declared that a person who delights in
pondering the words of God is like "a tree planted by the water, whose
fruit is always in season and whose leaves never wither and dry up."

Another example from the Psalms is the very familiar Good Shepherd
Psalm wherein the writer describes a person who is never lacking any
good thing--he or she enjoys green pastures, quiet tributaries, a
refreshed soul, and a life abounding in righteousness. There is no fear
nor distress even when walking through the shadows in the valley,
because the shepherd provides comfort and strength as required for
each day and always leads onward toward the ultimate destination--
living with God forever.

And so we listen again to these words of Jesus, "Come. Believe in me;
trust me (as the sheep trust their shepherd). Come to me. Drink from
these streams of living water and satisfy your thirst."


                                                                           More journal entries


July 27, 1983
"Come to me and drink."
Father, draw me to yourself, and may I come eagerly and with
            joyful anticipation.
Speak to me and may I hear and obey.
Love me and may I respond consistently with loving devotion.
Lead me through the highs and lows of my life.
Walk before me to show me the way, and may I have the will, the courage,
            the wisdom and the stamina to follow.

Give me a gracious spirit today, that will love others for Jesus' sake.
Help me to live this day aware of your constant presence--in me, beside me,
before and behind me, above and below. So blest I am. Thank you. Amen.


July 28, 1983
I'm reminded of the crowds I saw on our vacation. Particularly on Sunday
mornings, I felt sad for the masses of people who behaved as though
they weren't aware of your presence. I thought of the OldTestament
prophets and how they would have walked among the crowds shouting:
"Turn to God, repent . . . ." Jesus walked among the people, observed
them, and with his divine powers knew them through and through. Was
it compassion that made him open his mouth and offer these words of
invitation, "Come to me."? I wondered what phrases Jesus would have
used among the campers piled into the campground at Shedia and
to the tourists crowding the Bar Harbor shops.

Jesus is - Water for the thirsty,
                 Food for the hungry,
                 Comfort for the weary,
                 Peace for the distressed,
                 Salvation for everyone of us.

People do not know. How can they be told in a way that they will really
hear? It's not that people are obviously and intentionally sinful, but they
are missing out in life on what would really satisfy them. Bless those
who evangelize with faithfulness, humility, obedience and a real sense
of joyful living. Renew them so they can turn on the faucet and pour
forth God's loving invitation to "Come".


July 5, 2011
Verse 39 is an editorial comment. The Gospel writer explains what
Jesus meant when he spoke of living water. John said Jesus was
referring to the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God who dwells among us and
within us. Jesus in the present tense. Present everywhere, at all times
and in all places. Living within each person who invites the Spirit to
come in.


July 29, 1983
Today I am 41 years old.
Finished Francois Fenelon's book this morning. It's all about surrender:
            my desires to God's will
            self-love to God's love
            my desire for comfort to taking up my cross
            reason to faith
            death of self for life in God.

Fenelon wrote--
      Don't comfort yourself with thoughts that the future will be better.
      Live God's will in the present tense. It's your only treasure.
      Full surrender is full peace.

Jesus knew full surrender and full peace. But peace with God meant
being at odds with the powers of this world, with its values, system
of justice, etc.

He who believes in me, will have rivers of living water flowing from his
inmost heart. That's where we experience the living water--in our heart
and soul. Which is probably where we experience all love, both human
and divine. Living water is God's spirit interacting with the human spirit.

I don't feel much happening in my spirit this morning. No worry. Because
I don't rely on my feelings in order to believe and accept the gifts God
gives to me. It is by faith that I know these words of Jesus are true.


July 31, 1983
Father--I believe in you. Believing is my part. Providing the rivers of
living water is your part, your gift to those who believe. Help me to
concentrate on my part--believing--and let your part to you.

Rivers speak of God's great generosity. Many times my river has
overflowed with an awareness of your loving presence and participation
in my life. In the dry spells, give me the tenacity to be patient and try
to see my circumstances through my "spirit eyes" even though the
physical world doesn't substantiate my belief.

When I have no pain, no quarrels, no shortfalls and the sun shines
enough to keep me happy, that's when faith is easy. But when I have
one problem after another and the gloom never goes away, it's difficult
to believe in the living water Jesus spoke about. Maybe that's why Jesus
said (I think it was to John the Baptist when his riverbed was dry),
"Blessed are they who never lose faith in me." Lord, help me to believe
in God's well of salvation even when my riverbed is dry.


August 2, 1983
I heard Jim Singer preach at the Mt Gretna Tabernacle. He said we
should get to know God, do the love of Jesus, and marry the Holy Spirit.
When he said "marry the Spirit" he meant--have a relationship with Him.
Relate to Him as a partner in daily living. Experience Him with all the
emotions, all our moods. Love and hate him! Because when you're free
to express the negative, something beautifully positive develops. When
you allow for imperfections, love becomes perfected.


August 3, 1983
Was Jesus a prophet like Moses or Elijah? Was Jesus the Christ, the
promised Messiah? Statements and questions; false statements, valid
questions. How were they to know the truth, certainly not from listening
to each other.

Even those who knew their sacred Scriptures couldn't believe because
they misinterpreted what they read! Following the crowd leads to
confusion. Head knowledge won't cut it. Emotions err. The solution:
Come to Jesus. Believe, drink and live.


August 4, 1983
Dietrich Bonhoeffer likens faith to obedience, and obedience to faith,
According to him, those who have difficulty believing are not wholly
surrendered to God, they have not followed his command. To them 
Bonhoeffer says, act in obedience first and belief will follow. In other
words, first come to Jesus, and then you will discover the living water
within.

The people in this crowd were of two minds about Jesus. Some thought
it best to arrest Jesus but no one laid a hand on him. No unity here,
no action. Only two minds!?

The issue was that clear: believe or don't believe; arrest him or let him
be. Reason would like to add a lot more choices, but reason dilutes the
Gospel and might make the decision harder. Two minds, two choices--
belief or doubt.

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