God’s purpose for Living Water is that it must flow. When we believe what Scripture says about Christ, His resurrection life will fill us and flow out.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
There is something about running water that immediately appeals to the human spirit. It speaks of peace and tranquillity, and of the promise of life. Where there is pure, running water, there is always life. Nothing in this world can survive without water, and the same is true in the spiritual realm. We need the only pure water of life, and our source, the Bible tells us, is Jesus. But today’s verse spoke to me about something we often miss when reading this wonderful passage of Scripture. It’s the issue of what and how we believe. I realised that we seldom consider this wonderful promise in it’s true context – that of right faith.
Believe in the Living Water.
This is something that’s relatively easy. We like the idea, therefore have little trouble accepting and appropriating it. Of course, it’s far more than simply a wonderful metaphor. Living Water carries some powerful truths. The first is that Living Water is just that – living. It isn’t only the source of life – as we interpret it to be based on our natural understanding. Living water is life. It is a powerful, active, living thing. This is because it is Christ Himself, manifested through the Holy Spirit. Verse 37 confirms this. 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. When we believe in the living water, we are believing in Christ.
It’s important that we grab hold of this, because it beautifully describes the outworking of Christ in us. We are frail and finite vessels which can only hold a limited supply of Living Water. What we hold is sufficient for our needs and no more. When Christ is in us, however, the supply is not finite. Not only does it keep filling up when we use it up, it flows in much faster than we can use it. The reason for this is that it’s meant to fill up and flow out. When we believe in the Living Water, we must also believe that it is infinite and beyond our human limitations. Just as streams of water will attract life and cause life to take root around it, so Living Water will bring life to so much more than the limited ‘pool’ we are.
Our hearts manifest what we believe.
This is another spiritual truth that has profound relevance to today’s verse. Proverbs 4:23 tells us: Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. It’s no surprise that Jesus makes it very clear that Living Water flows out of our hearts. This is the ‘heart’ of our spiritual life. What we believe in our heart is what comes out, and it’s also what defines what we are. We become whatever is in our heart, which adds a powerful new dimension. Remember, if Jesus – the Living Water – is in our hearts, what flows out is also Jesus. It’s not something we do or say, but the manifest resurrection life of Christ. It’s an awesome thought, particularly when we remember how weak and frail and sinful we really are.
The other little truth tucked in here lies in the word ‘will.’ Will means will. It’s absolute and not negotiable. It simply must happen. We have no say it, nor do we have any control over it. The flow of Living Water simply cannot be affected in any way by us, our desires, or our choices. One thing I have learned is that water will flow. It finds the ‘space’ and starts moving. Of course, we can control natural water with pipes, taps, valves, and dams, but ultimately, control is limited. We only have to look at a flooding river or high tide to realise we cannot really control water at all. Living water will flow because that’s its purpose and its nature. It is life, and life must flow and bring life. If it’s in our heart it will flow out, and we can do nothing to change that.
How we must believe.
This is message the Spirit laid on my heart this morning. For the Living Water to fill our hearts and flow, we must believe in Jesus. More than that, though, we must believe ‘as the Scripture has said.’ Wow. This kind of flings it wide open, doesn’t it? What it means is that we must believe every single thing the Scripture has said about Christ. Suddenly, we’re challenged in every area of our faith. It is, I believe, the reason why Living Water doesn’t flow as freely as it should. It can only flow out in direct proportion to How we believe in Jesus.
What this implies is knowledge of Christ and what Scripture has said about Him. Remember, Jesus is the Living Water. It is His very character and nature and life, and it’s infinite and limitless. But what flows out of our heart will only be what is in our heart. What we know of Christ determines what we believe. What we know of Him is determined by what we know of Scripture. The full, unlimited Living Water is available to us, but we must drink. We drink by reading the Bible and coming to know Christ through the Word, but also by spending time with Him through the work of the Spirit. The more we know Him, the more Living Water will flow in, and the more will flow out. The flow can only be hindered by ignorance because we can only believe what we know.
To believe requires surrender.
There are no half-measures when it comes to the resurrection life of Christ contained in Living Water. When we believe in Jesus as the Scripture has said, we must also believe that His will is absolute. If He has decreed that Living Water will flow, we must yield ourselves as willing vessels. Taking in only what we need isn’t an option. It defies the purposes of God, which are to bring spiritual life and regeneration beyond simply ourselves. He has ordained that His people would overflow with Him so the lives of those around us can be touched and changed. We cannot desire the Living Water only for ourselves. What doesn’t flow becomes stagnant and brings death and decay. Unless we believe to the point of surrender, we cannot fully partake of the Living Water.
To believe in Jesus includes believing that we live sacrificial lives as He did. He lived to give life, and so must we. It means, of course, the death of self, but the life we receive in return is infinite and unlimited, the life of Christ Himself that flows though us to all men.
Precious Lord Jesus, we stand amazed before Your grace. Forgive us if we have missed the real truth of Your Living Water. Help us to understand and to come in surrender. Reveal Yourself to us and teach us through Your Word so that we can believe as we should and yield ourselves as vessels for Your resurrection life. Let it be, Lord Jesus, as You have willed.