Scripture: John 7:37-52
Key verses: (37-44) 37On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
40When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” 41Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? 42Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” 43So there was a division in the crowd because of him.
Reflection: Jesus has always been at the center of controversies and trouble. From the time of his birth, people have been arguing about who he really is, and what his life signifies. King Herod sent his advisors searching through prophecies, and his soldiers on a deadly hunt because of baby Jesus. Pharisees and scribes had a fit while Jesus was teaching and healing in Galilee. His disciples and early followers argued from the earliest days after his resurrection about where and how to share the gospel message with others. Churches have split and wars have been fought over what to believe and how to worship him.
It’s almost as if we’d rather argue about him than listen to him.
In this chapter of John’s gospel, everyone is complaining about him. His disciples pressure him to go to Jerusalem for the Festival of Booths and get his message out publicly. Jesus says his time has not yet come, and doesn’t go, then later attends secretly. The Jews there complain that he is not in attendance. Then Jesus stands up and speaks a word, and instead of listening to him, everyone argues over where he learned to speak so well, and who gave him the authority. He is the calm at the center of a swirl, and his words are a few verses in the middle of a long narrative about what everyone else is saying and doing.
Today, pause from whatever is swirling around you, and meditate on these words of Jesus: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Just those words. Not who might believe them and who might not. Not who you wish believed them more like you. Not everything else you have to do that is more pressing than living water. Just what Jesus is saying to you.
Prayer: Lord, I am thirsty. I need your living water. Thank you. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].