Fr. Shnork Souin
John 7:37 — John 7:38
37 Now on the last great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.
Based on this proclamation,“Jesus is either a blasphemer and an enemy of God‘s people or the Messiah and the Son of God.”
If one reads and studies the Scriptures, he soon finds out that Jesus, in his dealings with the people of Israel, was either loved or hated. There was never an even ground where it came to their feelings for Jesus. Of course we know that his greatest enemies were those in charge, in other words the rulers of Israel. Their contempt for Jesus and his teachings were further compounded by his proclamation that “whoever follows him out of him will flow rivers of living water”. This implied an indwelling of God’s Spirit among the followers of Jesus.
In Jesus words they could not help but notice the implication that that spirit about which Jesus spoke was have a Denteley not a parent in their lives. The leaders of Israel thus resolved to betray him into the hands of the Romans, who at that time were firmly in control of the nation of Israel. It would be the Romans who would have the right according to law to put Jesus to death, on the grounds of insurrection, claiming to be King of Israel. This was, for the leaders of Israel, a question of blasphemy but a charge with which the Romans had no interest not wanting to get involved in religious conflicts and differences.
The passages from the Gospel of St. John chapter 7 from versus 37 to 50, depict the sermon and message that Jesus delivered on the great festival, otherwise known as The Feast of Weeks. During these days of festival, Jerusalem would’ve been packed with many pilgrims who would gather in the streets and seek to make many sacrifices at the temple as well as gather at the courtyard of the pool of Siloam where they would be ceremonially cleansed with the waters, a symbolic refreshment with God’s spirit and the atonement which comes from the offering of sacrifice and cleansing.
Before one looks at the verses one should understand that just proceeding this passage we are reminded once again that the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus knowing that his enemies were lurking among the people ready to pounce on him while teaching in the temple cries out allowed “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me (Jn. 7:28-29). Notice how Jesus acknowledges that that the Pharisees in spite of their hatred recognize who in fact Jesus is.
His statement above from versus 28 through 29 could not have been more offensive to the ears of the Pharisees. He was essentially stating that he was from God and that he bore the authority of God and with that the authority to shower the Spirit of God upon all those who calls and who love, follow and obey him. These statements considered of the greatest blasphemy were further compounded intentionally by Jesus’ Proclamation that whosoever follows him out of him shall flow rivers of living water. This is obviously a reference to the Old Testament prophecy from the book of Jeremiah which states “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn them out cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Do you reference seems to point directly at the Pharisees and scribes as those who have forsaken God in the fountain of living waters which is none other than Jesus himself the Messiah and son of God.
As children of God we have become partakers of the life which is sprung from our communion with that living water our Lord Jesus Christ. This has been affected by the Holy Spirit of God in our baptisms and continues to be refreshed on a regular and consistent basis through our communion in the Lord’s supper.
The stirring g of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings joy peace and happiness in all that we do in our service to God and to our fellow man.
This reading is appointed in our church on this date in order to coincide with the Entry into the Sunday of Great Lent after which follows a 40 day fast and the solemnity of holy week which of course is mixed with a sense of great sorrow and much greater joy as the reenactment and pledge of our salvation and with it the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit from which flow from us rivers of living water.
The outflowing of Living Waters produces patience, love, thanksgiving and mercy. In addition we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be the witnesses to the joy of eternal life received in baptism and our faith in our Lord Jesus. We are enabled to proclaim his holy Name among the nations and to exalt him in our prayers, both private and in public, calling upon the one true God, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, to whom is befitting glory dominion and honor, both now and always and unto the ages of ages, Amen.