On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" (John 7:37-38)
It's Christmas Day!! Such a wonderful time of the year to spend with friends and family, to share in gift-giving and remember the birth of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of Scripture passages that are used extensively during this time of year, but this morning I didn't land on any of those traditional passages. I opened my Bible up to the gospel of John, chapter 7, and here's why.
First, a little bit of context. In John 7, Jesus is attending the annual Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. This is a feast celebration that the Lord had enacted in Leviticus, and reiterated in Deuteronomy 16. It was meant as a celebration of the harvest, and the Israelites were to give sacrifices of their produce in thanks to God for the year's harvest. This was a week-long celebration, and it all culminated in the final day, the largest part of the celebration. It's on the last day that I want to pick up in the story, where Jesus stands up and makes a bold declaration:
This causes even more of a commotion during the feast. Jesus had already been making a lot of noise around the feast, and the Pharisees wanted Him thrown in prison as a result. They had even sent officers to seize Him when He made this statement. It is a very tense moment, and Jesus breaks the tension wide open by saying He is the source of this living water welling up to eternal life. Immediately, the people begin to argue about what He has said. Some seem to believe Him, calling Him the Christ. Some won't go that far, but call Him the Prophet. Still others remain skeptical that a Galilean would make such a claim as this. This causes the officers to go back to the Pharisees empty-handed, saying, "No one ever spoke like this man!"
This is the person whose birth we celebrate on this day. And no matter who you are, you have an opinion about who He says He is. Some people immediately disregard what He says for a plethora of different reasons. Some people will bring themselves to admit that He was a good teacher, maybe even a prophet, but they still won't cling to Him as a Savior. Then there are those who do believe what He says, and have found refuge in the grace that He gives. Which are you today?
Reader, this is the most important question you could ask yourself today. Put the presents and the tree and the snow out of you mind for a moment, and really ponder this question. Do you believe that Jesus offers eternal life? This is the reason that He came to earth in the first place. He has existed from before the dawn of time in the form of God, yet laid aside that form to put on human flesh, humbling Himself by coming to this earth in the form of a child. And then He would humble Himself even lower by allowing Himself to be put to death in a way that was reserved for traitors. He took on Himself the death that we deserved.
Your answer to this question is more important than you may realize. Maybe this Christmas season you've found yourself thirsty for something more than what this world offers this time of year. The water of this world satisfies for a moment, but it will come up lacking in the end. You'll always find yourself thirsty once more. But those who draw living water from the well that is Jesus Christ, they will be satisfied for eternity with life in Christ because of the salvation found only in His name.
All of creation is fallen. You can see evidence of this anywhere and everywhere you go. This world is in need of a Savior. And salvation is found in no one else but Christ. Only He has paid the penalty that our sins deserve. If you turn to Him today, confess your sinfulness and your inability to save yourself, and put your trust in Him for your salvation, you will never be in need again. Come and drink of the Living Water this Christmas. Celebrate the birth of Christ as you yourself are brought into eternal life.
A simple servant of the Master.