Day 20 (March 16), John 7:37-52
Context: On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stands up and makes a bold proclamation, ‘Believe in me and from your innermost being will flow rivers of living water!’ The audacity of His claim is magnified when we understand the context. On this final day of this populated festival there is a grandiose procession of priests from the Temple mount down to the Pool of Siloam in the southeast corner of the city. There the chief priest gathers water from the pool (see map below). The procession returns to the temple amid trumpet blasts and the priest pours the water (along with wine) out at the base of the altar. The priests and Levites lead the crowd in antiphonal recitation of the Hallel (Psalms 113-118) as the swelling and boisterous crowd waves their palm branches. Right at this moment is when Jesus stood up and declared His messianic identity and the indwelling of the Spirit in the church age soon to come. The Jewish leaders are incensed, but also rebuffed by both the officers they sent to arrest Jesus and Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin.
Observations: Why do you think Jesus waited until this moment to refer to ‘rivers of living water’ and the ‘Spirit’? Why not when he arrived mid-festival? Note the divided perspectives with respect to Jesus’ claim. Why do you think it is implausible to be neutral about Jesus? What do you think of the officers (soldiers) who wouldn’t arrest Jesus? Nicodemus was NOT from Galilee, why then would the Pharisees ask such a rhetorical question? Do you think Nicodemus (from Chapter 3) is now a believer in Christ or just closer to faith?
Application: Make a choice today to open the gates for the Spirit to flow in and through you (prayer, Scripture, obedience, setting your mind on godly things, speaking truth in love, etc.) Be aware of thoughts, attitudes, words and actions that are grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit’s work … avoid them or, if you don’t, confess and turn from them.
Prayer: Ask the Lord to see the Spirit bear greater fruit in your life! Expect him to purify your motives and intentions as you do, but still boldly request this! The same for our Evergreen body … that Jesus would get greater glory and more lives are transformed into His image.