God’s River of Living Waters
A devotional by Karen Marstaller
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” –John 7:37-38 (ESV)
Water. We can’t survive without it. At this time of year, we start seeing more glasses, bottles, and cases of water in the hands of our fellow citizens. We’ve been out running, hiking, riding, or swimming, and our bodies crave a fresh sip of water. Even if all we’re doing is spring cleaning, nothing refreshes like a cool drink after taking down dusty drapes and rehanging freshly washed ones.
My childhood days living in the desert taught me that water is a rare and wonderful thing. I have always been drawn to it, always been amazed at its life-giving importance.
Water is what Jesus Christ gives, too. In John 7, the Feast of Tabernacles was coming to its week-long conclusion with one last day of celebration. The city was astir, and many people witnessed Jesus inviting them to come to Him for every spiritual need. All of us have the same need. We thirst for Living Water that comes only from God Himself. And Jesus continues to invite us to drink from this endless source of life-giving water from His Heart to ours.
In the next verse (John 7:39), John goes on to explain that the water Jesus gives is the gift of the Holy Spirit who had not yet been given to Christ’s followers. The work of the Holy Spirit is to reach down into the driest parts of us, to bring healing, to nurture us, to equip us for life, and to encourage us to always remain close to the Lord Jesus, following Him no matter what.
Whenever we are dejected or lonely, we look to the Lord for help. He hears every prayer. Whether it’s a fleeting discouragement or a total disaster in our life, the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to our weary souls, stands beside us all the way. We are never alone.
Water always seeks its own level, and this lesson became very real to me last week. I made some red gelatin, and everything was going just fine until I tried to pour it into another container. Down it slopped, onto the counter, and down the cabinet, where it pooled in a sticky mess beneath my feet. But it’s a beautiful example of the Holy Spirit’s work. He goes deep into our pain. He spreads into every crevice to encompass all the hurt and the heartaches. He surrounds us with His love and comfort, and then He strengthens us to continue what the Lord has given us to do.
And in this Easter holiday season when we think about The Cross, we remember that Jesus said, “I thirst” right before He died. (John 19:28 ESV)
The Bible teaches that Jesus suffered everything we suffer during His time on earth, and on the day of His crucifixion, as the sins of the whole world were heaped on His sinless frame, Jesus suffered the agony of physical thirst, along with the loneliness of spiritual thirst, as well. The Holy God, for a short span of time, had to turn away from His Son who had become our sin. And Jesus remained hanging there on that cross, atoning for the sins of the whole world. The Lamb of God, bearing our sins, died outside the gates of His holy city, Jerusalem.
We’re the ones who deserve that hideous death. We’re the sinful ones. But because of King Jesus, we are invited to drink from the water of life when we trust in Him as our Savior. We can run eagerly to Him and look to Him for every need.
Three days after Jesus’s death and burial, as He promised, Jesus rose again. The grave had no power over Him, He rose to take on His rightful throne in Heaven, and He gave us His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to be with us forever.
The resurrected Lord is truly Immanuel, which means, “God with us”.
In the very last chapter of the Bible, the Apostle John gives us a glimpse of Heaven’s beauty. He describes “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1 ESV)
The Living Water that Jesus Christ promises is waiting for us when we reach our eternal home (Heaven). Yet He lavishly provides the Holy Spirit’s refreshing presence to guide us here on earth, too. Living Water is our gift from God. It wells up inside us every moment that we look to Jesus. It is our eternal gift, for now and forever.
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth, we praise You for the perfect gift of eternal Living Water, and we ask that You remind us to run to You all throughout the day. We thirst, Lord. Please fill us with Your life-giving Spirit and help us to follow You all the days of our lives. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Note from Alexis: Karen’s devotional message reminds me of the song, “You’ll Never Thirst” by Anointed. Listen to it here.
Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers.
She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.
Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.
Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.
You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address: email@example.com