Rivers Of Living Water
John 7:37-39 MKJV And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (39) But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
What is the relationship between our innermost beings and God?
- The innermost being is a place of wounds and alienation and neurosis and we are to struggle to fix up our innermost being so it can be made acceptable to God.
- The innermost being is a dream world where we receive messages from God, but God does not actually dwell there, He is “somewhere outside”.
- The innermost being is the mind and if we fill it with right knowledge we can know God.
- The innermost being is our emotions and our job is to have nice peaceful emotions and the goal is to end suffering in the innermost being. The less emotions we have the better, the goal is an empty self in a state of disconnected bliss.
- The innermost being is a volcano of wild urges that must be tamed by Reason in the service of Religion.
- Our innermost being contains the whole Universe including God, but we are not aware of this yet.
- There is no innermost being; we are just a physical body.
- Innermost beings are the chief concern of neurotic middle-aged women and sensible people do not worry about them but just get on with the practical details of life.
- Good Christians do not concern themselves with subjectivity and introspection and issues of innermost being but solely focus on obedience to the Bible.
- We can reconstruct our innermost beings and achieve enlightenment through a long and arduous series of disciplined spiritual exercises that only so-called Masters really succeed in.
I have heard people espouse all of the above answers but they are ALL PROFOUNDLY WRONG.
By contrast Jesus tells us that
- a) We have an innermost being (v. 38).
- b) This is something we should develop (v. 38) and be concerned about it.
- c) The abundant inner life is composed of “spirit” - not primitive urges or the mind or the emotions. (v. 39)
- d) That this Spirit is a gift from God, as a result of historical process (Jesus being glorified) and originates in God and not in the individual. (v. 39)
- e) That arduous exercises and lengthy psychoanalysis are not required for an abundant inner life– just faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (v. 38)
- f) That it is not our own advanced human consciousness but is God’s consciousness within us. (v. 39)
- g) The innermost being can receive the Spirit that is from God (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
- h) That Christ can dwell in the innermost being. (Ephesians 3:16,17)
- i) That while God may dwell in the innermost being, the innermost being is not the same as God or the Universe. God the Holy Spirit is an objective reality who existed before human consciousness was even created. (Genesis 1:3, Psalm 8))
- j) That the Spirit can flow out of us to others and is not isolated or self-contained but is connected, abundant and communicative. (v.38,39)
- k) The flow of Spirit is not a result of knowledge or of human effort or of psychic evolution by humanity - but is a promised and prophesied result of God’s grace through faith. (v. 38, see also Galatians 3:1-5)
[Homework: See how these Scriptural statements directly contradict the first ten false statements.]
A major leap forward in who we are – our innermost being, comes when we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – and we spend our whole Christian lives living out and understanding this change. Yet some Christians, though born-again do not experience the “rivers of living water” because of reasons such as:
- a) Legalistic striving (Galatians 5:1-11)
- b) Quenching the Spirit – by forbidding prophecy and other spiritual manifestations.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19,20)
- c) Grieving the Spirit through wrong and carnal attitudes such as bitterness (Ephesians 4:30-32).
- d) Ignorance concerning the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-6)
Since the rivers of living water are promised by Jesus, as a result of faith, and are an important part of the Christian life we should seek to enter into this experience. We need to ask God to let the living waters flow – and to do our bit in removing major blockages such as hatred and unforgiveness.
May I add that the Spirit is given freely and is never earned or deserved. The Galatians tried to earn the Spirit through works of the law – and were rebuked harshly by Paul (Galatians 3:1-5, 5:1-11). The Spirit is given as a free gift Acts 2:38, 10:45 Hebrews 6:4) – and is given without measure.
John 3:34 MKJV For He whom God has sent speaks the Words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.
Thus it is not our performance that is the problem! We do not have to do more, say more or know more in order to know the living waters within us, and flowing from us. We just need to believe in Jesus and in the gift of the Spirit and deal promptly with the blockages to His operation.
Blessings in Jesus,