By Tom Edwards, Renewal Ministries’ Country Coordinator
“Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'” (Jn 7:38).
Jesus cried out the words above on the last day of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. It was an announcement of great joy on a day that commemorated the deliverance of Israel from the desert in which they had wandered for forty years. The crossing of the River Jordan into the promised land was a gift of the highest order. Now Jesus speaks of another river—an amazing internal spiritual river—a river that is given! It is quite clear who qualifies to receive this “living river,” and how. John follows with a comment that leaves no doubt exactly what this “living water” is—it is the Holy Spirit that is to be given. This “living water” will be given to anyone that thirsts for it, comes to Jesus, and drinks. It is given to “anyone who believes in Jesus!”
Jesus stresses the fact that this “water (the Spirit)” is “given” (thus it flows into the believer), but Jesus equally stresses that this “water (the Spirit)” will flow out of the one who receives. The water is given so that in turn it may flow out to others! This is the great secret to living a dynamic Spirit-filled life. This is God’s plan for reaching out to a world that is like multitudes thirsting in the desert. Sadly, it seems that many who receive the miraculous water of the Holy Spirit do not realize that they are to be a source of refreshment to others. Rather than being like the Sea of Galilee, which receives and gives off the waters of the Jordan (a sea which teems with life), they remain as the “Dead Sea,” which receives, never flows, and supports no life.
God’s ways are clear: He gives and gives to us. Our response is to give and give to others. There are innumerable ways to give. As we faithfully give, we keep open the channel to receive evermore. Some would call this way of life “walking in the anointing of the Lord.” Others are touched by the Spirit of God that flows through you. Jesus came out of the Jordan baptized and filled with the Spirit. He received power to overcome the temptations in the wilderness. He stood up and cried out:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).
That which Jesus received, He freely gave. Those who follow Him will strive to do the same.