In order to understand John 7:38, we need to look at the verses before and after it. In verse 37, we find that it is the last day of a feast and Jesus stood up and cried out to the people, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” At times, God brings seasons of spiritual hunger and thirst as a way to draw us closer to Him. Just as when we are physically hungry or thirsty, we seek out food and water, if we are spiritually hungry and thirsty, we should seek out Jesus. In some ways, the spiritual thirst for Christ should never really be quenched while we are living on earth. When we experience spiritual hunger and thirst, we come to Jesus with a desire to know Him more. The more we know Him, the more we understand His deep, unfailing, unending, reckless love for us – a love that cost Him His life. The more we understand His love for us, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we want to get to know Him – and the cycle continues. So if you are experiencing a spiritual thirst, come to Jesus and He will give you living water.
At times, God brings seasons of spiritual hunger and thirst as a way to draw us closer to Him. When we experience spiritual hunger and thirst, we come to Jesus with a desire to know Him more.” –click to tweet
In verse 38, Jesus continue speaking to the people and says, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” If we are to believe in Jesus as the Scripture said, there are some questions we must ask ourselves and determine how we will answer them. We will look at how the Bible answers these questions, but each one of us must determine how we will answer them.
Who is Jesus? Jesus is fully God and He was fully man. In John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” In John 8:58, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” In the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14), Moses asked God, “Who should I say sent me?” God replied, “Tell them I AM sent you.” So in John 8:58, when Jesus said, “I am” He was saying He was God. John 1:1 says, “the Word was God” and in John 1:14, it says, “the Word became flesh.” This indicates that Jesus was God…in the flesh. He came to earth as a baby, born to the virgin Mary, grew into a man and lived here on earth just as any of us do, but without any sin. He felt hunger, thirst, anger, sadness, pain, compassion. He had friends, family, and enemies. Jesus is also the Son of God. In Matthew 3:17, God, speaking out of heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Even the demons that encounter Jesus understood that Jesus was God’s son. In Mark 5:7, a demon said to Jesus: “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” In Mark 8:29, Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah. Today, Jesus is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?”
What was the need for Jesus to come to earth? From the very first sin committed by Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world and every human other than Jesus has sinned. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” While God created humans to have a relationship with Him, sin keeps us separated from a righteous, holy God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you.” Not only does sin separate us from God, but there is a penalty for sin. Romans 6:23 says that the wages we earned for our sin is death. It was because of our sin that Jesus needed to come to earth. He was sent here to pay the penalty in our place for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
How did Jesus meet this need? Hebrews 9:22 tells us that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” If the wages of sin is death, then it was Jesus’ blood shed on the cross that cleanses us from sin. 1 John 1:7 tells us that “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Because Jesus lived a sinless life, He was the only one who could provide the payment for our sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” Jesus met the sin debt of our sin by his sacrificial death on the cross and then conquered death through His resurrection.
Where is Jesus today? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then his sacrificial death would not be enough. If he was still in tomb then he would be no different than Mohammad or Buddha. Luke 24:50-51 says, “Then He led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. And while He was blessing them, He left them and was carried up into heaven. Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:12 tell us, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,”
Why did Jesus do this for me? There is only one reason that Jesus would sacrificially give His life in my place as payment for my sin – Love. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotton son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Love is the only reason that Jesus offered His life in my place to pay my sin debt. When you think about it, before God created Adam and Eve, He knew they would sin and Jesus would have to pay their debt. Before He created you or me, He knew we would sin and Jesus would have to pay our debt. But he created us anyway. Why? Because God is love. And He loves you and me.
When did I realize I am a sinner? In order to receive the living water that Jesus offered, we all must come to the realization that we are sinners, lost without Jesus, and have a need for Him to save us form our sins.
What must I do to receive living water? First we must admit that we are sinners and need a Savior. Second we must believe in our heart by faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lives a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried for three days, and then rose again. Third, we must confess our sin to God, asking Him to forgive us. Then we receive the free gift of God’s salvation by faith as we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” There is absolutely nothing you can do on your own to be saved. You can’t earn it. You can’t live “good enough.” You can’t buy you way into heaven. It is only by faith in Jesus that you receive God’s gracious and free gift of salvation.
Only as children of God are we able to receive the river of living water that flows out of the heart the Jesus mentioned in John 7:38. And in verse 39, we find that the living water Jesus was talking about is the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, teaching us, guiding us, correcting us, encouraging us, and drawing us ever closer to God as we live our lives.
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.