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Born again – Part 17


Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide

What did Jesus mean by “living water?” In the Old Testament, many verses speak of thirsting after God as one thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1). God is called the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9) and the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 17:13). In saying he would bring living water that could forever quench a person’s thirst for God, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah. Only the Messiah could give this gift that satisfies the soul’s desire.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (Jn 4:14) drinks this … everlasting life. The “water” given by Jesus means spiritual life (cf. Is 12:3). To partake of this living water, one must “drink” (see 7:37). This act of drinking is not a momentary, single act, but rather a progressive or repeated drinking. Drinking the water of life requires regular communion with the source of the living water, Jesus Christ Himself. No one can continue to drink the water of life if he or she becomes severed from its source. Such people will become, as Peter describes it, “wells without water” (2 Pet 2:17).


“On the last day, that 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 in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Jn 7:37-39)

Jesus’ words, “come to Me and drink,” alluded to the theme of many Bible passages that talk about the Messiah’s life-giving blessings (Isaiah 12:2,; 44:3,4; 58:11). In promising to give the Holy Spirit to all who believed, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah, for that was something only the Messiah could do.

Jesus used the term living water in 4:10 to indicate eternal life. Here he uses the term to refer to the Holy Spirit. The two go together: wherever the Holy Spirit is accepted, he brings eternal life. Jesus teaches more about the Holy Spirit in chapters 14-16. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus’ followers at Pentecost (Acts 2) and has since been available to all who believe in Jesus as Saviour.


Rivers of living water. When the gift of the Spirit is given to believers, they will experience His overflowing life. The “living water” will “flow” out from deep within the believer to others with the healing message of Jesus Christ (10:10; 14:12; 15:5; see also Ps 1:3; 46:4; Is 32:15; 44:3; 58:11; Jer 31:12; Ezek 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech 14:8).
“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 22:17)

When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, he told her of the living water that he could supply (John 4:10-15). This image is used again as Christ invites anyone to come and drink of the water of life. The gospel is unlimited in scope—all people everywhere may come. Salvation cannot be earned, but God gives it freely. We live in a world desperately thirsty for living water, and many are dying of thirst. But it’s still not too late. Let us invite everyone to come and drink. Mobile: +234 803 344 6614; +234 808 123 7987


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