37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39 Emphasis mine).
There are four conditions in the above passage to drinking deeply of the Spirit of God. Before we dive into the requirements, it will help if we described the scene where Jesus said the above words. Christ said these things at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), the third major feast of the year, which falls between September and October in our calendar. The eighth day of the feast was the most noteworthy (John 7:37). On that day with thousands of people looking on, the High Priest went down to the Pool of Siloam and filled up a two-pint golden pitcher and carried it back into the center of the crowd before the Altar of God. A prophecy of Ezekiel tells of a time when out from under the threshold of the temple, a river of life would flow toward the east that would start ankle-deep, become knee-deep, and would eventually become so deep it would lift people off their feet and carry them along in its path. Wherever this river will flow, it will bring life, fruit, and healing (Ezekiel 47:1-5).
For the High Priest and the thousands gathered together singing hymns to God, the most solemn moment was when the High Priest poured out the pitcher of water before the temple. The pouring of water spoke of their expectation that perhaps in their day, the river of life would begin to flow as the pitcher was poured out. To the Jewish people, the center of the world was Israel, the center of Israel was Jerusalem, and the center of Jerusalem was the Temple. It seems that at the very moment of the pitcher of water being poured out, Jesus made himself higher than everyone else, probably by standing on something, and He shouted for all to hear the words we just read at the top of the page. What He was saying was that out of the temple of His life would flow the refreshing, life-giving, healing power of the Spirit. Out of the center of our lives too will flow the Spirit's ministry, out of our innermost being. When Christ is enthroned on the throne room of our hearts, His Spirit will flow out to others around us.
At the time Jesus spoke these words, the Holy Spirit was not yet seated on the throne room of people's lives; He had only come upon certain individuals for specific purposes. What God promised was that He would send the Holy Spirit to come into the lives of all who will respond to the call to come to Christ.
What are the Conditions?
1. “If anyone is thirsty...” You have to have a thirst for more of God. Are you satisfied with life as it is? Our Lord loves to be pursued by hungry and thirsty people. Do not let Him go until your thirst is quenched. Do whatever you have to do, but do not let anything put you off from receiving all that God has for you.
2. You have to come to the person of Christ. Jesus said, “let him come to me” (v.37). This coming to Christ is not about church or devotion to religious acts; this is about Christ Himself. Do you have a love for the person of Christ? When Jesus restored Peter after saying three times that he didn't know Him, the Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him (John 21:15-17), a question that each of us should answer. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you again all that Christ has done for you so that you may fall head over heels in love with Christ Himself.
3. “...and drink.” You will need to drink. This act of drinking speaks of receiving the Spirit with an open, transparent heart. Vulnerability and honesty are one of the hallmarks of a heart that is ready to be filled with the Spirit. There is a conscious decision to go God’s way instead of our own.
4. “Whoever believes in me...” Whoever believes in Christ (v. 38) will receive. This act of receiving is not an intellectual acknowledgment of the facts of the gospel. It is a deep inner trusting belief that allows a different set of moral values to affect one's character.
This list by Jesus was by no means comprehensive, but these four are the most critical conditions to living out a life of faith, being guided and empowered by the Spirit. To be filled with God's Spirit, we have to enthrone Christ at the core of our being and displace ourselves from the seat of authority in our lives. May this thirst come to you! Keith Thomas
This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study, Revival Comes to the Thirsty