37 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. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
C. S. Lewis famously noted that Jesus’s claims either need to be rejected or accepted. There is no middle ground with Him. He either is what he claims to be, the Son of God, or we have to think him a madman or worse. This reading is one of those times. John tells us that this is the last day of the feast of Booths (Jn. 7:2). This was the festival in the Jewish calendar which remembered the exodus under Moses. A significant part of the festival in Jerusalem was a ritual which remembered the water from the rock (Ex 17 and Num. 20.) Apparently, water was ceremonially poured out of a pitcher on this last great day of the feast.
You can imagine that this would have made quite a stir when this Galilean preacher stood up and claimed that the festival was truly about “me.” For Jesus is saying that he is the living water. He is the one who gave the water long ago and the one who gives this living water which perpetually quenches thirst. After he said this, John tells us that some thought he might be the Messiah, but others wanted to arrest Jesus. Did they think him mad? Did they think him blasphemous?
John leads us right to the startling claim of Jesus for our lives. Jesus pours out the very Spirit of God on us. John tells us that when Jesus said this, it had not yet happened. But by the time he wrote and by the time you read his words, Jesus has done it. If you do not think Jesus a madman or a liar, which I assume you do not, Jesus is telling us that he gives us the Holy Spirit and out of our hearts, for the good of this world, flows an eternal spring of living water. In this time with all the challenges and blessings it holds for you, pray that God opens your heart to be that spring of living water flowing into the world.