Picture this in your head: you’re at a party, it’s rocking with good music, good drinks and dancing. At the last hour of the party, a person stands up on a chair and yells at the top of their lung, “Are you satisfied, yet? I have something better!” Think how big of a scene and the type of looks this person would get. This is basically what happens in John 7, when Jesus attends the Festival of Tabernacles.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[
Notice it says that Jesus waited till the last and greatest day of the festival. He waited till everyone was good and probably drunk on wine. The pinnacle of their pleasure was reached at this party, and Jesus stands up and basically says “How’s it working for you. Are you still thirsty for anything else?”
Why does this matter
As human beings, made in the image of God, we are all naturally hedonist, meaning that we all like to find our pleasure and identity in something. Whether it’s finding pleasure in your job, spouse, clothes, money or any other created thing, we are naturally drawn to put our utmost pleasure in something. There’s a problem with that. Due to sin entering the world, we’ve been separated from God, and those things we put all of our pleasure in will not ultimately sustain us in a broken world.
A good example of this is King Solomon. He’s considered, even today, to be the richest man to have ever lived. He asked God for wisdom and understanding and God graciously granted him with wisdom and riches. As king of Israel, he threw massive parties, had hundreds and hundreds of concubines and built the first temple. This man was basically the real life Great Gatsby, and he tells us in the scriptures that all of this abundance failed to satisfy his soul. Solomon wrote this scripture over 2,000 years ago, and it stills resonates with many people today!
10 Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! 11 The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!12 People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.(Ecclesiastes 5:10-12)
As God’s most treasured creation, made in the image of himself, we were made to put our utmost pleasure and satisfaction in him (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Created things that the world provides feel good for a brief second, but they never sustain creation that was made in the image of its creator.
This is what Jesus is doing at the Festival of Tabernacles. At this great party, Jesus basically says to all the attendees that this party is still not going to satisfy you. Yes, it may feel good for the moment, but eventually you will be searching for more. Jesus, God in the flesh, looks at his creation and says that he is the only thing that is going to fulfill them. He designed life the way how it was intended to be lived and knows what is best for mankind. That is to fully come and submit to him.
River of Living Water
The things that the world is running after is basically dry water. It lasts only for a moment, and you will eventually be searching for more to fulfill the thirst. We are all guilty of this. We want to put our identity in things that are not eternal. The only eternal thing/person is Jesus. Even at times when it seems like the scriptures are trying to rip away all of the pleasures of life, Jesus is here not to rob us of anything. He came to set us free from the worries of the world and give us a joy that is eternal (Luke 4:18). Jesus has given every believer his Spirit, and he leads us into the way life was intended to be. The Spirit gives deep down what the world is searching for. This living water that Jesus is referring to is the Holy Spirit, and he brings life to the full. He pours out love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and control (Galatians 5:22-23). You see the irony? What the world is searching for in “worldly” possessions, the Spirit has already provided and lives inside every believer in Christ. Jesus provides the living water, he quenches the thirst all of us long for!
Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
John Piper’s Sermon On Our Thirst
Below is a sermon from Pastor John Piper titled “Out Of Your Heart Will Flow Rivers Of Living Water.” I have recently added this video to this post because it ties in perfectly. If you do not want to watch the entirety of the sermon, I highly recommend skipping to 25:30 on the video where a charismatic Piper sums it all up by saying, “I’m born to drink. I want to be happy, forever! Big, deep, long, strong, unshakeable joy; that’s what I want!” Basically, Jesus says if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and thirst for him, he will offer you happiness forever. Every human desires happiness if some form or fashion, let us go to the spring!