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Rivers of Living Water

“If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive)” (John 7:37-39).

Do you know what it is to be satisfied? We are conscious of almost infinite needs; we thirst and pine for happiness, for rest, for peace, for that indefinable satisfaction which seems so perfectly set forth in the sweet, deep word, “love.” We turn from side to side for an answer. For a moment we think we have found it, as we see not far away some rock-hewn cistern, and make for it, only to find that it is broken and will hold no water. Human love fails to quench our thirst, though we drink deeply and widely of its stores. But Jesus is all-sufficient.

“If any thirst.” “Any!” Those who are grimed with sin. “Any!” Those who have no claim but their exceeding need. “Any!” Those whom all the world and the Church reject. “Any!” Publicans and sinners, outcasts and dying malefactors, persecutors and procrastinators. The one and only qualification is thirst.

Coming to Him is believing on Him. It is the touch of the soul and the Savior. It is contact; clinging to Him as the drowning sailor to the outstretched hand. You do not need emotion, or effort at self-improvement, or a change in the circumstances of your outward life to come to Christ. All you need to do is feel your need of Him, lift your eyes from this page to Him, and say “O Lamb of God, I come!” He will receive all who come to Him in faith. Jesus has said, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

When weary, thirsty souls go to Jesus, He gives them instant relief. In addition to washing them clean by virtue of His shed blood, He also gives them His Spirit. The born-again believer is literally indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s influence may be stunted, dwarfed, or repressed, like streams choked with debris, but He can never again be lost. Jesus said, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16).

In that most blessed of all gifts, Jesus Himself is the supply of our spirits, through the Holy Ghost, whom He gives to be within us and with us for ever. When we are strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man, Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and we are filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-20).

Here are some practical suggestions for those who are longing for the Holy Spirit’s fullness:

Remember that, if you believe, you have received the Spirit. You could not believe on or call Jesus “Lord” but by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), and ever since you did these things He has been within you (Ephesians 1:13). Do not then ask for a new blessing, but for more enjoyment of that which you already have. Remove the silt and rubbish which have occupied His place. Put away the sins which have grieved Him (Ephesians 4:30). Deny self which has hindered His flow in your life. Keep your soul in an eager, believing attitude toward Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be able to fill you, providing for blessings which will flow out to others.

Let the Lord Jesus occupy the place where God has set Him—the throne. Do not concentrate your thoughts on the Blessed Comforter, but on the Lord Jesus, who was exalted to bestow Him. The glory of Jesus is always connected in Scripture with the reign of Jesus. All things must be put under His feet. When we glorify Jesus in our hearts and lives, setting Him on the throne, then the Spirit fills us with successive waves of power.

Do you, my reader, know anything of this? Is your life comparable to a river, much less to many rivers of holy influence? That is exactly what Christ pictured when He spoke of “rivers of living water.” It is much more than simply being satisfied, though that is included. We receive the Holy Spirit not merely for our own benefit, but also that we may minister the things of God to others, and show forth His fruit to all around.

The world would quickly cease to be a thirsty place if only each believer were to become like one of the ancient rivers of Eden, which was parted into four heads, flowing out for blessing in all directions.

—Adapted from Gospel of John by F.B. Meyer.

Jesus says, “Come to Me, and I will meet the thirst of your own soul first, and then you shall be made a channel through which the rivers of God shall roll to the thirsty and weary all around.” —W.T.P. Wolston