Rivers of Living Water

“He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being (koilias) shall flow rivers of living water.’” But this [Jesus] spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive. (John 7:38-39)

Humans are like earthenware urns. The outside is dull, rough pottery with obvious imperfections—nothing special to look at. Transform it into a water-feature with a pump that circulates the water and it becomes beautiful. The water overflows the rim of the urn and streams down the sides. It gives the appearance of a smooth crystal glaze. It hides the blemishes. It reflects sunlight.

That is how our lives are transformed by the Holy Spirit. It is never about us. We are vessels for the glory of God. Vessels designed for the Holy Spirit to bubble up inside and overflow so that He becomes the One everyone sees, not blemished me.

Anatomy was a relatively simple subject in Jesus’ time. If they thought about it, people understood that the best and worst of human behavior somehow came from inside a person—from the heart, innards, or belly.1 We still speak of “gut-feelings” and the “heart” of a person, even though we now recognize the role of the brain in human behavior.

Jesus challenged the religious idea that unwashed hands defiled people; He said real evil comes from the heart. He listed evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, false witness, slander, pride and foolishness (Matt. 15:10-21; Mk. 7:14-23).

When we examine Jesus’ life we see the overflow that He talked about. Several of Jesus’ miracles happened as He was “moved with compassion”.2 The term means that His vital organs were involved. His life oozed with love, truth, and power—evidence of saturation by the Spirit of God. A danger I face is being content with feeling compassion for people but not acting on it. Jesus’ compassion overflowed to action.

When the Spirit fills us, the power of evil is cut off. Life and health flood out, as abundant as a river watering a desert. Our ordinary shell of a life shines with His glory.

  1. Kardia, splanchnismos, and koilias respectively are the Greek words used. []
  2. Splanchnizomai is the word in Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Mark 6:34; Luke 7:13. []

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.