Print this Page

Thirst and Bethlehem’s baby

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.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. When they heard these words, some of the crowd said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the crowd over him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. The civil servants then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The civil servants answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” John 7: 37-52
The incident in bold above is from John’s eyewitness first century biography of Jesus. Several different individuals and groups participate. Let’s take a look.

Jesus. It’s the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. That Feast is still celebrated today. Tabernacles are small tents or huts (Hebrew “Sukkot”) reminiscent of the 40-year period back around BC 1300 when the Jews were en route from Egypt to the Promised Land. They lived in tents – and their greatest daily need in the desert was for water.


‘I think the fire that is mentioned in the Bible is a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched.’ (Billy Graham) 
At this very same Feast Jesus speaks, “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.’” 

“As the Scripture has said”? The ancient Scriptures of the Jews included this promise to them from the LORD God through Isaiah around 700 BC: “I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” Jesus’ invitation was astounding.

The crowd. These words – and the man who spoke them – must have resonated deeply within the crowd. Some then said he was the Prophet promised through Moses (1350 BC); some said he was the Messiah promised through Isaiah and others (BC 700); some said that because he wasn’t from Bethlehem he couldn’t be the Messiah; some even wanted him to be arrested – stopped. No consensus among the people.

The civil servants. These were employees of the “authorities” - of the non-military legislature and executive combined. The authorities had ordered them to arrest Jesus. Despite being contractually obliged to obey the orders of their superiors, this man’s invitation stopped them doing so. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” They failed to obey orders.

The chief priests and the Pharisees. The chief priests were the senior leaders of the “authorities”. The Pharisees were members of that religious political Party and some were also part of the “authorities”. Their civil servants had failed. Judgment must fall on them – and on the crowd. Their civil servants are "deceived" because (a) they, the “authorities”, don’t believe in this man and (b) unlike the “authorities”, “this crowd that does not know the law is accursed” – is under the wrath of God. 


‘After digging a thousand wells of my own and stumbling upon a thousand others dug by the hands of thirsty men, I have yet to realize that the only well that can satiate every thirst is the one that folk will never dig.’ (Craig Lounsbrough) 
Nicodemus. This man was a Pharisee and also one of the “authorities”. He protests at the sudden condemnation, by his colleagues, of Jesus – as shown by their opinion of others. 

This protest then brings their judgment upon him personally. They decide that he, being a Galilean like Jesus, is biased – but he’s merely asking them to judge rightly. Then they tell him that he’s ignorant because he should know that no ancient prophet ever came from Galilee. This is a lie because the prophet Jonah came from there. And Jesus was from Bethlehem, not Galilee.

Did anyone hear what Jesus said and, thirsty, go to him? “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.’” 

Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *