River of God | Day 3
Joel 2:23-28, John 9, Haggai 2:1-9, Psalm 63, Revelation 22:17
"Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39, NASB)
It’s important to consider the impact that an outpouring of the river of God can bring. Jesus came to show us what God could look like. John 1:18 says that Jesus came to “explain” God. And in this, He makes a declaration that reveals six important truths about the river.
First, He shows us the Cross, where He was later poured out and became to us the fountain of life. The second thing He revealed was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It also pointed to seasons of great spiritual harvest. Then we, the body of Christ, would become the temple of the Holy Spirit, as he flows from us like a river. And finally, He shows us our need to continually drink of Him to experience the continual flow of the river.
Consider the timing of this declaration, and its symbolism. The “great day of the feast” refers to the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Three main feasts were annual events among the Israelites: the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These feasts represented two harvest periods, and two corresponding seasons of rain. (For example, the feasts of Passover and Pentecost represented the grain harvest and the latter rains.) Both rainy seasons were essential - one for each period of harvest - if the growing seasons were to be successful.
The last of the three feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles, was associated with the wine and oil harvest, and linked to the early rains. It was also known as the Feast of Ingathering, because it represented the final great harvest of the year. For this feast, great harvest would mean great celebration.
The last day of this feast, the “great day”, involved a ritual called “the outpouring of the waters”. Water was taken from the pool of Siloam and poured on the altar while Isaiah 12:3 was quoted: “Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.” Siloam means "sent." The water from this pool came primarily from Gihon Spring, located outside the city. Gihon means “bursting forth."
Now, it's clear that Jesus picked the time for his declaration very intentionally. He’s saying, “I am Siloam, sent by the father. I will be crucified outside the city. I am the spring of salvation. From my side, blood and water will burst forth (Gihon) and be poured onto the earth. I am the Drink Offering. If any man is thirsty, let Him come to me and drink.” His announcement shows us that the spring of salvation flows from Him, the sent one, causing the great spiritual harvest pictured by the feast.
How interesting is it that this announcement is not the only thing that took place in Biblical History, during the Feast of Tabernacles? Solomon’s Temple was dedicated on the Feast of Tabernacles hundreds of years prior. Haggai also prophesied the “greater glory” on the great day. These are a picture of the same thing - the river of God’s spirit coming to take up His home in us as we drink of the fountain of life. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, filled with His glory. And the glory in us is far greater than that in the former temple.
This present renewal - and in some places, revival - is being referred to as “the river”. The Holy Spirit is showing us that the river of life is going to flow from the Church in unprecedented ways; the harvest coming is indeed a great harvest. However, we must be ready to receive such an outpouring, and prepared to steward such a harvest. Religion in its purest sense is good, but if powered only by forms and rituals, it will become anemic to its owner and disgusting to those around it.
How do we prepare for this outpouring? In order for us to have the river flowing from us, one drink from the fountain is not enough. We must drink continuously. The words “come” and “drink” in John 7:37 are written in present imperative tense. This means that the words actually imply: “Keep coming and keep drinking”. This is the same tense of the word used in Ephesians 5:18, when Paul instructs the Ephesians to “be filled with the Spirit” - he is telling them to continually be filled. We have already received the fullness of Christ, but we must stay filled with His Spirit.
This is why we must drink continually in order to stay filled with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants us full of Him, full of the river! His desire that we keep coming, keep drinking, and keep being filled. Why? So the river can keep flowing. The verb “flow” is also in the present tense. If we keep coming and keep drinking, we’ll keep being filled and the river will keep flowing. We need the continual flow.
Ask the Holy Spirit what you can do to be prepared for the season of outpouring and great harvest that is coming. Tune in to His voice and learn how to stay filled with His Spirit. We need the continual flow. Don’t let the river dry up in you - a harvest hangs in the balance.