By Gerry Wakeland
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 7:37-40 NKJV
“The Church is not about you. In fact, the Church may be the only institution in the world for non-members.” -Dr. James Draper
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This is the supposition that Dr. James Draper placed before the fellowship of Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church in his message. The church is not a club you join, where you pay membership dues and anticipate benefits in return. Yet, in today’s benefit driven society, that’s what many expect.
“What’s in it for me?”, is a common question in our world today. Based on the words of Jesus found in John 7, Dr. Draper presented two answers.
Provision is offered. Jesus calls out to the thirsty and says “come.” He is offering to satisfy the needs of heart and life. There is no requirement. The offer is made to anyone, anytime and for any need.
What we must recognize is that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the need. Is your need pleasure; He can fill it. (Psalm 16:11). Do you lack wisdom? Jesus will give it. (James 1:5) If you need salvation, He’s waiting to provide it. (Romans 1:16) There is nothing you need that Jesus is not ready, willing and able to provide.
Promise is given. Jesus promises water. Not just any water, but living water. Thirst is the most driving passion in our lives and sometimes we are not even aware that we are thirsty. Dr. Draper reminds us that the water is there, right in front of us, but we must drink to be satisfied. When we drink of the water we experience the gift of salvation.
But wait, salvation is not the end, it’s the start. When we get saved it’s not about us, it’s about Him. It’s about what He has called us to do, share the living water.
If you were to go to Israel today, you would find two bodies of water. The Sea of Galilee in the north is a beautiful, flourishing body of water, fed by underground springs. It is Israel’s largest and most important source of drinking water. The Sea of Galilee receives and gives life through its water.
111 miles south lies the Dead Sea. At approximately 1292 feet below sea level the Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea because of its mineral content.
The Church is designed to be rivers of living water. As both the body of Christ and individuals, we are called to share the living water of Jesus Christ with all who thirst. We are called to be distributors, giving away what we have received.
If indeed the greatest need in our world today is water – living water, then the only question is, will you be the Sea of Galilee? Or are you the Dead Sea. Think about it.