“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
— John 7:38
When Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well, he talks with her about “living water” that he can give for eternal life (John 4:10-14; see Oct. 13).
In John 7, Jesus teaches again about “living water,” and this time he speaks of “rivers of living water” flowing from people who believe in him.
Some other Bible passages help us to understand more about the “living water” Jesus introduces here. This imagery draws from some Old Testament prophets and points ahead to eternal life with God in the new heaven and earth.
The prophet Isaiah, for example, talks about recognizing the Lord as your salvation and says, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:1-3). Isaiah 58:11 adds that with the Lord as your guide, you will be “like a spring whose waters never fail.” In addition, the prophet Ezekiel describes a vision of a river flowing from God’s temple in Jerusalem. The water begins as a trickle, but it grows wider and deeper as it flows. And when it reaches the Dead Sea far away, it “makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live” (Ezekiel 47:9). This vision also points to a New Testament vision of “the river of the water of life” (Revelation 22:1-2).
In John 7, Jesus is saying that his followers have the water of life in them through the gift of the Holy Spirit. And they can go out into the world—even to all its dead places—to share the gift of new life with others.
Spirit of God, lead us to bring new life into the dead and dying places of your world, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.