“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. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 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” (John 7:37-39).
I recall a zealous, new believer asking me about this passage years ago. He said, “I read my Bible regularly, pray as I jog each day, worship on Sundays–what am I missing? Jesus promised ‘rivers of living water’ but I seem to only have a trickle.” I don’t recall giving him a profound answer, but I was impressed that he was thirsting for the fullness of God’s Spirit in his life. Do you and I yearn for this “fountain of living water” as well?
To appreciate this “fountain,” we need to see how our initial salvation parallels the principles for abundant living in Christ. As Colossians 2:6,7 puts it,
“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
Consider the role of the Holy Spirit in saving us and equipping us for supernatural living in Christ. We cannot overestimate the vital ministry of God’s Spirit in bringing us to saving faith in Christ.
- The Scripture says, “… no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:3). He opens our eyes to recognize Christ’s true identity and His claim on our lives.
- “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:12,13). When we repent and receive Christ as Lord and Savior, the Spirit places us into the Body of Christ; we become spiritually united with Christ and fellow brothers and sisters in Him.
- At conversion, believers are sealed with the Spirit (Eph 1:13), indwelt by the Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and regenerated by the Spirit (Titus 3:5). We could only become part of the “Bride of Christ” (Eph 5:32) through the blessed work of the “Heavenly Matchmaker”!
As we received Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, so we need to live the Christian life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. How easy it is to drift away from this truth. Remember Paul’s rebuke to the Galatian church when it became compromised with legalism?
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:1-3).
Our humanistic culture influences us toward independence from God. We mistakenly think that we need the Spirit of God for salvation, but then we can manage on our own.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had Jesus here with us on earth, to help us deal with life’s demands? But wait–Jesus IS with us in the person of the Holy Spirit! We don’t need to hop on a plane to Israel to enjoy His presence. He is with every believer simultaneously! As Christ promised the disciples,
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16,17).
V. Raymond Edman expounded on this text.
“All that the Lord Jesus was to His disciples in their day, the Holy Spirit can be to us today … The Holy Spirit is another comforter–that is, Someone just like the Lord Jesus. It is He who brings divine consolation through the Scriptures to our troubled hearts. He is our Counselor, to whom we can go for guidance. He is the Spirit of truth and of wisdom. He is our unfailing Helper, the One who is always alongside to grant strength and grace. He is our intercessor who teaches us to pray according to the will of God. He is our advocate, the One who pleads our cause, just as the risen Savior now at the right hand of God is our Advocate in heaven. The Paraclete strengthens and establishes our hearts in the faith, and as Stand-by He never leaves nor forsakes us.” 
So, how can the “trickle” of the Spirit’s ministry in our lives increase as a fountain of living water? We must be controlled and empowered by Him: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). We must also depend upon Him to reveal the fullness of life in Christ to us. As Jesus promised, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14).
As we abide in Christ, His Spirit will produce through us the fruit of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22,23). And Paul also affirmed, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
As you received Christ through the Holy Spirit, so daily depend upon Him for your spiritual needs. Celebrate God’s grace that provided that spiritual fountain of living water in your new heart!
We yield to the loving control and gracious empowerment of Your Holy Spirit, O God. Illumine us to grasp more of the spiritual riches which You have bestowed upon us in Christ. In Your name, amen.
 But God, p. 87. “paraklete” is the transliteration of the word in the Greek New Testament for “comforter” in John 14:26.
2nd edition. Copyright by John Woodward, 1999, 2015. Permission is granted to reprint if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook.com. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, NKJV.