John 7:37-52

Roy Osborne
July 2011


Sin is any practice, physical or mental, which is contrary to either the forms or the purposes of the Creation.   Why?  Because God created all things, and He is therefore the One who sets the standards for the way all things should be, and the purpose for which they were created.  He is the standard of right and wrong.  When Adam chose to follow a way other than the way of God, he had to be expelled from The Garden where God dwelt, for only that which is perfect, according to the Creator’s will, can dwell with Him.  We must keep this principle in mind as we study the words of Jesus in John’s record of the events at the Feast of Tabernacles in this passage.  God can only dwell with the perfect.

At one point during the Feast, (according to William Barclay’s account) a priest took a golden pitcher down to the pool of Siloam and filled it with water.   This was brought back to the Temple where the people recited Isaiah 12:3, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation”.  Then, as Levite singers sang Psalms, the priest poured the water on the altar as an offering to God.  The worshippers shouted and waved palm branches toward the altar.
This in thanksgiving for God pouring water from the rock in the wilderness for them.

Suddenly the scene was arrested by the voice of Jesus, who stood and cried,
“If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in me…rivers of living water shall flow from his belly”.   Then John says, “It was about the Spirit, that those who believed in Him should receive, that He said this.  For, as yet there was no Spirit because Jesus was not yet glorified”.  This wonderful statement needs careful study if we are to receive its complete and powerful impact.

That those who receive the Spirit would be a source of living water is a wonderful prospect, but what does this mean?   The reception of the Spirit came about on the day of Pentecost.  Peter said that those who dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   He also quoted the prophet Joel, where God said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”, and Peter said this is what is happening here.  So what was given to those who accepted Jesus Christ was the indwelling Spirit of God. 

In John 16, Jesus said to His disciples, “It is expedient for you that I should go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) cannot come”.  In the
passage here, John says there was no Spirit (available) because Jesus had not
been glorified.  He was glorified when He completed the work the Father sent
Him to do which culminated in His death, burial and resurrection.  As we said in the beginning of this essay, God cannot dwell with sin, and we are all sinners.  Therefore, His Holy Spirit cannot dwell in us unless our sins are forgiven, and the only way that can be is through the Cross of Jesus.

So Jesus is saying to His disciples that His going away (by the cross) was the only way they could receive the Spirit to guide them into all truth.  That is why
John said that the living water was about the Spirit, which they could not have then because Jesus had not been glorified.  The Holy Spirit they received on Pentecost and the One offered to all who accept Jesus Christ is the Spirit of God dwelling in you to overcome the devil and to allow you to be a source of living water.  Only God can overcome Satan, and only Jesus Christ can forgive your
sins and make it possible for God’s Spirit to dwell in you.

As Jesus was talking to the woman at the well in Samaria, He said, “God is
Spirit”.  He can dwell in you by His Spirit if you are made perfect by the shed
blood of Jesus Christ.  I John 1:7 says that that blood will continually cleanse
from all unrighteousness those who walk in the light with Him.  What a powerful promise Jesus made to the crowd at the Feast of Tabernacles when He promised that those who came to Him would be fountains of living water.  They would be the recipients of God’s Holy Spirit, which would enable them to be
messengers of hope for all mankind. 

As we said at the beginning, God cannot dwell with sin, and so Adam had to leave the Garden of Eden and total companionship with His Creator.  The wonderful news is that now all men can return to the Garden and have the Creator dwell with and in them by the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, if they will deny self and take up their cross and follow Him.  What a glorious promise.