6 June 2022

Come to me and drink

Bible study by Captain Andrew Hammond

Captain Andrew Hammond reminds us who quenches our everlasting spiritual thirst.

Key text

On Saturday 4 June, millions of people tuned in for the Platinum Party at the Palace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee. But just imagine if someone created such a disturbance at the party that they became the headline. This is what happens to Jesus in our study passage.

Put yourself in the scene. It is the Festival of Tabernacles. Everyone is celebrating in Jerusalem in recognition of God’s salvation, shelter, provision and trustworthiness. They are remembering how God met their ancestors’ needs during their 40-year journey in the wilderness. On the last and greatest day of the festival, the high priest leads a procession to the Pool of Siloam, which receives its water from the Gihon spring.

Spring water is considered ‘living water’, suitable for ritual purification because it is seen to come directly from God. A pitcher is filled with water from the pool as the crowd recites: ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3).

The procession returns to the Temple to witness the high priest pouring this living water on the altar, as an offering, prayerful appeal and reminder of God’s promise: ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people’ (Joel 2:28).

At this climactic moment, Jesus interrupts. He exclaims: ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them’ (vv37 and 38).

A river flowing over rocks

John 7:37-44

‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them’... Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no-one laid a hand on him.

Read the passage

He shocks the crowd by promising to give the Holy Spirit to all who believed. This is something that only the Messiah could do. Therefore, Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah, the fulfilment of their hopes and dreams. He is claiming to bring salvation and forgiveness to anyone who believes in him (see 1 John 1:9), life in all its fullness (see John 10:10), freedom (see John 8:36) and a future home in Heaven (see Romans 6:23).

No wonder the crowd is divided in its response.

Pause and reflect

  • To what extent do you take the time to truly explore Jesus’ claims and believe in him?

Perhaps, even though connected to The Salvation Army, we still seek fulfilment through earthly possessions, pleasures, popularity and power. To whom or to what are we perhaps looking to meet this need? Do we look to politicians, philosophies, religious rules and popular opinion or even our corps involvement?

The pursuit of such things as these and their so-called solutions will only leave you with exhaustion and spiritual thirst. The only one who can quench that thirst is Jesus. So, take time to explore Jesus’ claims. It’s time to start looking for life in all its fullness through Jesus alone.

For those who believe in Jesus, rivers of living water – the Holy Spirit – will flow from within. In The Soul-Winner, Charles Spurgeon asserts that ‘another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life’.

Pause and reflect

  • For a real change of life, where does true transformation come from?
  • What does it look like?

The Holy Spirit freely cleanses, indwells, forms, teaches and puts his nature and power in us, as we co-operate with his movements of grace. What a transformational blessing as our character begins to demonstrate the Beatitudes of Jesus, the fruit of the Spirit, Paul’s great chapter on love (see 1 Corinthians 13) and Peter’s list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (see 2 Peter 1:5–8).

However, these rivers of living water also flow out of every believer for God’s purposes. Just as Jesus’ listeners at the festival were divided by his claims, people today react in similar ways. They make superficial evaluations of Jesus because they are blind to the truth.

Whatever their opinion, everyone within our circles of influence should be talking about Jesus with us. Why? Because they should see and hear in us something different from the way they are experiencing life. They should see a reflection of Christ, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) – they should see something desirable and the source of true hope and life.

Pause and reflect

  • Who in your circle of influence is talking to you about Jesus?

Imagine what your circle of influence could be if everyone was genuinely talking about Jesus with you, and you let the Holy Spirit move through you!

Let's pray

Thank you, Jesus, for making your living water available to each one of us. May we drink fully and share it with everyone we meet so many more people will believe in you.


Written by

Andrew Hammond

Captain Andrew Hammond

Corps Officer, Falmouth Temple

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