Tony Evans - The Seal
Jesus Christ is in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles. We're told in verse 37 it was the last day of the great feast. The great Feast of Tabernacles was the feast that God instructed the Jewish people to do to remind them of their journey through the wilderness. As they were journeying through the wilderness, they were banking on God for water. He opened up the Red Sea to get them into the wilderness. He let water gush out of a rock, so they could drink in the wilderness. He turned bitter water into clean water, so that they could function in the wilderness. He became their H2O supplier as they went through the dry spell of the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.
In the Feast of the Tabernacle, they built booths, tents, if you will, a tent city for them to live in to remind them of their wilderness journey and to remind them of how God supplied them through the wilderness. And one of the greatest supplies that they needed was water to sustain them on their journey. You and I are on a journey from salvation to glory, and it gets dry. You and I are on a journey from time to eternity, and it gets crusty. You and I are on a journey from where we are to where we need to be, but sometimes it gets hot and humid, and you need to be able to get a drink of water. It is in the context of the Feast of Tabernacles, where Jesus makes this statement to take us to this next truth, symbol, and name of the Holy Spirit. He says to them in verse 37, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink". He raises the question or the need of thirst.
Jesus says, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come". He takes what they were reminded of physically, when the priest would pour water on the altar during the Feast of Tabernacles to let the folk know that the same way they got supplied refreshment in the wilderness, he has come to provide spiritually for the soul and the life of people. So, the first question is are you thirsty? Are you thirsty? Because he says, "Let him who thirsts come". Now, how do you know if your soul is thirsty? If you're living a life of discontent, it's because you have a thirsty soul. If you're living a life of confusion, it's because you have a thirsty soul. If you're living a life of frustration, not a frustrated moment, but a frustrated lifestyle, it's because you have a thirsty soul. If you're living a life of perpetual failure, it is because of a thirsty soul.
The thirst in the soul is manifested by a life of dissatisfaction, discontentment, unforgiveness, or sin domination. All of those are reflective that there is a dry spot in the soul that is begging for water. What we do is we try to fill the thirst of the soul with illegitimate water that's been tampered with. And we go to things that are not designed to quench your thirst. We wind up drinking spiritual saltwater, which only keeps you more thirsty. And so we go look at illegitimate means of people, of friends, of entertainment, anything that can give us a temporary boost to help us to forget how thirsty we really are, only to discover it didn't quench the thirst. It just distracted us from the thirstiness. He says, if anyone is thirsty, if anyone is living a life of discontent, there is something that is awry in the soul.
And if that doesn't get addressed, you will always wind up going for saccharin substitutes. You will always go looking for cheap substitutions that are not designed to be authentic thirst quenchers. And so he says, "If anyone is thirsty". You can even go and use religion as water. Because if I'm religious enough, long enough, perhaps my thirst will be quenched, only to discover that after you get your religious Coke drink, by the time it wears off, before you get home, you are thirsty again, because you've not gotten the water that Jesus is offering. So, I want to offer you, by means of our passage today, a thirst quencher. He says, "If anyone is thirsty".
Now, I like the phrase he said. "If anyone is thirsty," because that means that there's enough water for everyone who is. He says, "If anyone is thirsty". In fact, the group he is talking to is made of a people who want to kill him. In verse 32 it says, "The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, Jesus, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize him". So, they trying to get rid of Jesus, but even to his enemies he says, "If anybody is thirsty, let him come".
So, for the rest of my time this morning, it will only relate to thirsty folk. It'll only relate to folk who recognize that there is a malnutrition of fluid in their souls that needs to be refreshed to wipe away their discontentment, to wipe away their dissatisfaction, to flush away impurities that are controlling me. "If anyone is thirsty," he says, "let him come". Thirst is a conscious craving or longing of the empty soul. You are in a spiritual desert. Jesus says, "I've come to offer you something to satisfy it". So, if anyone...so no one now is excluded. No matter how bad it is, long it is, or deep it is, all you've gotta do is be thirsty. If anyone is craving in their souls, because of the discontent, the failure, the weakness, the sin, the loss, let him come. Let him come.
There is an invitation here to come to Jesus and let him take care of your spiritual thirst. Okay? He invites you to come to him. He invites you to embrace him. He invites you to partake of him. Now, I know what you're saying. "I have already come to Jesus". If you all are Christian, that means you have come to Jesus. You have accepted him as your substitute. You have believed on him for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. You have acknowledged you are a sinner, you need a Savior, and you have come to Jesus for forgiveness. You said, "I've already come". I hope you've already come; and if you haven't, I hope that before you leave here today, you will come to Jesus for salvation. But read what the whole passage says. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink".
He says, "Come to me and drink". That is you must appropriate me into the internal operation of your life. If you are on your way to heaven because you accepted Christ, that's good, but that's not sufficient for healing a thirsty soul on earth. He says, "You must come to me and appropriate me. You must, you must take of me and operate or allow me to operate in you". Because when I drink water, it's now not just something I have. It's something I am utilizing, taking advantage of and benefiting from. He does not say, "Come to information about me". God just doesn't want to be an information center for your head. He wants to be a life experience for your heart. He says, "Come to me and drink". And when he says, "When you come to me and drink," he says, "he who believes in me, that is embraces me, as it says in the Scripture, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water".
Please, notice that. From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. So here we are with the water. What God wants to do is place a pump inside the soul that will produce water that flows. It's living water, meaning running water. You are not your body. Your body is merely a mechanism to facilitate your soul. You are your soul. You're not your body. When you die, the soul leaves and goes into eternity, because you are not your soul. All your body does is give function to what the soul wants. So, what the soul wants is executed through the body. Your soul is your ID. It is your personal signature of existence identity.
You know that you are here today, because you have a soul. There is a problem, however. Everybody's soul has been scarred, everybody, from the time you were born. That's why your mama didn't have to teach you how to lie. You picked that up all by yourself 'cause that was transferred from them to you, because there is a spiritual transfer of decay that hits everybody's soul at birth. Trying to fix the body, when it's the soul that has been scarred, can only provide a temporary holdback on physical expression. It cannot resolve a damaged soul. But Jesus says, "If you come to me and drink, I will place inside of you, in your innermost being a river, a stream of water that's alive 'cause it's flowing. In other words, I'm going to send to you a flow that will bring you life. It's called living water. So, I'm going to bring life into your soul".
How does he do that? Well, he gives you a water pump. He gives every Christian a water pump to pump the living water that he says he's going to put in your innermost being. So, if you have come tood. When you accept Christ, God puts a pump inside your human spirit, and the pump, verse 39, is the Holy Spirit. He says, by this he spoke of the Spiri Christ, you have a pump inside of you that's designed to pump life, living water into your soul. So, where is this pump? Well, you have a body that addresses the physical world. You have a soul that is you, but scarred due to sin and circumstances. But you also have a spirit. While your body is designed to communicate with the physical world, and your soul allows you to communicate with yourself, your spirit was created to give you the ability to communicate with Gt.
So, the Holy Spirit invades your human spirit and gives life, spiritual life, God's life inside your human spirit. So, your body allows you to function in the physical world. Your soul allows you to function with you. Your spirit allows you to function with God. The soul is inside the body, and the spirit is inside the soul. So, when the Holy Spirit invades your human spirit, that is in your soul, it now wants to disseminate water, living water, moving water from the spirit inside the soul, bringing healing, contentment, order, strength into your soul, so your soul can begin giving new information to your body, so your body begins to do different things 'cause it's getting new data from the soul, because the soul is getting new data from the Spirit, because the Spirit has been infused with a pump called the person of the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to make the water flow into the soul; that is, unless the tap is turned off.
In all of our homes, we have plenty of water, but you can keep that water from flowing. You can stop that water from flowing. In fact, some of the things we're adding that contradicts what Christ wants to do is stopping the flow, turning off the tap, so the water can't flow, so the soul can't be healed, so the body can't function differently. But Jesus says, "If you come to me, and drink, what I will do is I will let the innermost water flow so that my life, living water, gets transferred to your soul". In John 10:10, he said, "I've come to give you life," and then he says, "I've come to give you life abundantly". That means extra life.
So now there's a question on the floor. How do you get your pump working? How do you get your pump working? How do I get this pump working now? I know I'm saved. If you're a Christian, "I know I'm saved, but my pump's off. It's broke". No, pump can't break. Jesus said in verse 39, pump is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is perfect. So, if your soul is out of order, it's not a pump problem. Here's what Jesus says in verse 39. He says, "But this he spoke of the Spirit". But when he said living water, he said, "I'm speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive. The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified". Watch this now. Jesus says, "If you're thirsty, come". He says this all through the book of John. He says it in John 6:35. He says, "If you're thirsty, come on". He says, "So if you come to me, I'm going to put it inside you".
So, you've got enough water inside of you to cover you, me, us, for the rest of your life, 'cause he says the well will never run dry. If you've got a well that deep, every Christian, so deep that it covers you for the rest of your life, if the pump is on. Jesus was in his physical body on earth. He had not yet died, not yet been buried, not yet risen, not yet ascended to heaven. He had not yet been glorified, which happened after his resurrection. But after his resurrection, he sent the Holy Spirit the day of Pentecost. When he sent the Holy Spirit, they were filled with the Spirit, and they were gushing out. The way you keep your pump on is by privately and publicly glorifying Jesus.
Okay, we've gotta work with this a little bit. The only way the pump stays on, remember, we've already seen it, that the Spirit came to glorify the Son. The Son came to glorify the Father. The Son left. He says, "I'm gonna leave you somebody who's gonna glorify me". Okay. Your belief in God won't keep the pump on. You calling God's name will not keep the pump on. God has turned everything in history over to his Son. It is only by your bringing glory to the Son that the Spirit kicks on. So, if Jesus Christ is put to the side, even though you believe in God, the pump has not been energized to work, because he works for the benefit of the Son. Therefore, Jesus Christ privately and publicly must be able to be exalted in your life. That's why Matthew 5:6 says, "Those who are thirsty after righteousness will see God". You're gonna see God, because you've been hanging out with Jesus. And when God sees you hanging out with Jesus, the Holy Spirit turns on the water pump so that life is flowing into the soul, because the Spirit comes to glorify Christ.
When Jesus is glorified, the pump comes on, and the transformation takes place, and the beautiful thing about it, I said it before, but it's all free. Revelation 21, verses 5 and 6, it says, "If you're thirsty, come to me without cost". Revelation 22, verses 16 and 17, "If you're thirsty, come to me without cost". Isn't this some good news to know, that you can get all this for free, and it's already inside you? When the river is flowing, you'll know it's flowing, because changes will be occurring in your soul. But here's another way you'll know it: because when it came to water, when Jesus had the woman at the well, he offered her to drink it. He said, "If you drink from my water, you're gonna have life". So, one of the ways you know that this water is flowing is if other folks want to take a drink out of your life. Other folk want to say, "What's happening with you"? Other folk want to say, "How can I get what you've got"?
One of the reasons people are so mean to other people is they're so messed up in their soul, they don't know how to be nice. One of the reasons so many people don't want to serve anybody else and only want to be served themselves is because they're so messed up, they don't have any water to share with anybody else. But if you get a whole river flowing in your soul, it gushes out. When I was a boy growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, the way we went swimming on Saturday is when the fire marshal came in, and he opened up the fire hydrant. We'd put on our swimming trunks. The fire marshal would come and open up the fire hydrant, and water would be gushing out.
So, when the fire marshal comes around, and he opens it up, all the pipe is doing is borrowing from the reservoir, and what you're seeing comes out is simply from something much bigger than this could ever hold on its own. What I'm trying to say is you may be small, and you may not have a lot going for you, but you're hooked up to a reservoir, and that reservoir can keep it coming, can keep it gushing, can keep it flowing. But guess what? The fire marshal would come at the end of the day, and he'd turn it off. And even though it was connected to the reservoir, it wasn't flowing any water 'cause it'd been turned off. Too many of us, as Christians, have it turned off, no glorifying of Christ, no time in his Word, no time getting close to him. We are weekly Christians, and we wonder why all this reservoir is not flowing. But become a spiritual fire marshal. Turn that baby on and let it gush out in your life, to your life, through your life, so other folk can take a drink out of your life.
Water is a key to life. When that water is flowing, it becomes alive, because it breathes life into what it touches, not only in our own human bodies, but in foliage and the beauty of nature. What do you think it's like to know that as a believer in Christ, you have a well of flowing water coming up from your spirit, flowing into your soul, and out of your body to breathe life into your humanity and to any and every thing your humanity touches? One of the great promises of Jesus is that with the Holy Spirit, he will be like a well pumping up living water in and through you. The beauty is you don't have to go find life out there 'cause you've got this well flowing from in here to bless out there. Many people are looking for something they already have, and that is a pump inside their innermost being that is producing life, if they would simply recognize it, utilize it. The Holy Spirit, present in every believer's life, is a flowing stream that will never end, and it will flow from time into eternity, breathing not only life in this life, but life also in the life to come.