37 - On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
38 - Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
39 - By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed him were later to receive.
The whole of John 7 is a lot to take in. But there were three verses that really spoke out to me. In verse 37-39, Jesus gives the people an invitation. ANYONE who is thirsty (a thirst for something spiritual) is invited to go to Jesus and drink.
In keeping up with our readings, we actually find a similar invitation 3 chapters ago (John 4) when Jesus invites the Samaritan woman to drink this living water if thirsty.
I think what makes this chapter interesting is that we witness the actual struggle of people who are trying to understand God and faith. How many of us, either in the past or present, struggle with believing whether God is real or not? In our own personal unique spiritual journeys, we all go through a phase where we question our faith. Is God real? Did Jesus’ death actually free us from sin? The people in this chapter are doing the same. They are questioning whether Jesus is truly the Messiah? Is he just a Prophet? Is he some quack who just happens to be persuasive?
But what’s even more interesting is how Jesus responds to this. Instead of just showing the people that Jesus is truly the Messiah (he could’ve), he keeps it ambiguous. He double-downs on his claim that He is the Messiah sent by God without showing the people a physical sign (yet) that he is.
The reason why this is so important is because this sets up our need to have faith. Jesus doesn’t force people to believe, but he wants people to have faith. That’s why he invites those who are thirsty to come (v. 37).
We are reminded today that we are people of faith. Chapter 7 affirms that it is okay if we have questions and doubts. And, if we are thirsty for something spiritual, Jesus is inviting us today to come to Him. My prayer for us is that we would have faith to believe that Jesus truly is the Messiah, who died for us so that we can have a new and beautiful life.