Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:37-38
The phrase “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” that starts off today’s passage is open invitation. Jesus was telling his first century audience and us that if we are looking for something to satisfy us or looking to find something to fill the void in our lives, then we need look no further than Jesus. He then follows that phrase up with these words, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” But what is Jesus telling us in this second phrase.
We all understand what the phrase “Whoever believes in me” means. It is the final two phrases of this statement that throw us for a loop. When Jesus said “as Scripture has said” he was referring to the “Scripture” (God’s written word) because it was the very Word of his Father-the supreme authority for his life and teaching. Scripture is also the highest and final authority for Christians because God alone has the right to determine our standard of conduct. He has chosen to exercise this authority by making his truth known in Scripture. the Bible, as God’s personal revelation, carries the same authority as if God himself were speaking to us directly. Which tells us two important things about the Scriptures.
(1) The inspired (“God breathed”, Holy Spirit-directed) Scriptures are the believer’s highest authority. Church traditions, prophecies, revelations, spiritual beliefs and human ideas must be evaluated by how they compare to the commands and standards of God’s Word. These things should never be elevated to a place of equal authority with the Bible.
(2) Those who are loyal to the authority of anyone or anything above God and his Word deny true Biblical faith and reject the lordship of Christ (his leadership over their lives). To say that any person, institution, church or statement of belief has equal or higher authority than God’s inspired revelation is the same as idolatry (worshiping false gods or anything else in the place of the one true God). This means that all those who are not willing to subject their beliefs to the authority of God’s Word are rejecting God’s plan of salvation and rejecting their opportunity to have a personal relationship with God.
And with the last phrase “rivers of living water will flow from within them” Jesus is referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit that would be given to his followers after he left the earth. The Spirit guides and empowers Christ’s followers in a way that allows them to experience his overflowing life. As Christians respond to the Spirit’s direction and exercise his power, this “living water” will “flow” out to others with the spiritually healing, life-giving message of Jesus Christ.
To put this all together. Jesus is offering you an invitation to find the satisfaction that you are searching for by placing your faith and trust in him and by coming under the authority of God’s word. And by doing this you then have the opportunity to live a Spirit filled life that will bless others.