John 7:37-39a, ...Rivers of Living Water, for Sunday May 28, 2023

John 7:37-39a, ...Rivers of Living Water (Version: NRSV)

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” ’ 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Alternative translation: John 7:37-39a, ...Rivers of Living Water (Version: The Gospels for Hearers)

37 On the last day - the climax of the festival -
Jesus stood up and called out,
"Whoever is thirsty, let them come to me and drink.
From the one who believes in me,
as the scripture says,
will flow rivers of living water."
39 In this he was referring to the Spirit
which those who believed in him would receive,
for the Spirit was not yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.

From “The Gospel of John”, Chapter 7, verses 37-39a, in The Gospel for Hearers
(Translated from the Koine Greek by Elizabeth B. Edwards, Formatted by the Rev William A. Johnston), 2013, Diangellia Press.

What are the serious issues raised by John 7:37-39a?
(An AI response: Note that AI here provides opinion, not fact and should not be taken as authoratative)

John 7:37-39a is a significant passage in the Bible that provides a compelling and thought-provoking message for readers. This passage has raised a number of serious issues that are relevant to faith and belief in God.

To start with, the passage begins with Jesus urging the people gathered around him to come to him and drink from the fountain of living water. The living water referred to here symbolizes the Holy Spirit, which is freely available to all those who believe in God. The passage raises the issue of faith and belief in God, and the importance of seeking the Holy Spirit in order to receive spiritual nourishment.

Another issue raised by this passage is that of spiritual renewal. The passage emphasizes the importance of spiritual renewal and refreshing, as the Holy Spirit provides a new and refreshing experience for those who receive it. This highlights the importance of seeking a personal relationship with God and the need for regular spiritual renewal in order to stay connected to God's will.

Furthermore, the passage raises the issue of obedience to God's will. Jesus clearly states that those who come to him and drink from the living water will become channels of the Holy Spirit, spreading the message of God's love and grace to others. This emphasizes the need for obedience to God's will and the importance of being a witness to Christ by living a life that is in line with God's word.

Finally, the passage raises the issue of the power of the Holy Spirit in bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that people are drawn to Jesus and are able to believe in him. This highlights the importance of relying on the Holy Spirit in our witness to others, understanding that it is only through His power that people can be convinced to turn to Christ.

In conclusion, John 7:37-39a is a powerful passage that raises serious issues related to faith and the Christian walk. It emphasizes the importance of seeking the Holy Spirit and the need for spiritual renewal, obedience to God's will, and making use of the power of the Holy Spirit in leading others to faith in Jesus Christ. As believers, we ought to strive to embody these principles in our lives so that we can be effective witnesses to Christ, fulfilling the call to make disciples of all nations.

Some questions raised by the text:

  • Who is Jesus talking to?
  • Who was the evangelist talking to?
  • We celebrate this day as Pentecost Sunday, and it is traditional to read the account of the coming of the Spirit in the Book of Acts (2:1-21). Was Jesus looking ahead to this event?
  • There is also an echo of an earlier event, when Jesus told the Samaritan woman by the well that whoever drank from him would not thirst (See John, Chapter 4).
  • Of course, John speaks poetically. He also has Jesus speaking prophetically. There is a message of hope here too,
  • How can we receive the Holy Spirit? Does he challenge us? Does he comfort us? Does he make of us something that we would not otherwise be? Is he an essential part of our faith, or is he an optional extra?
  • How can we relate to the Holy Spirit? As a task-master? As a leader? As a friend? As a divine mystery?


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