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JESUS CONTINUES TO DISCOURSE WITH THE
JEWS AT JERUSALEM.
John vii. 30–39.
30. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
31. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
32. The Pharisees heard that the people murnitured such things concerning him ; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
33. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
34. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me : and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
35. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him ? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles 21
36. What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come ?
So little were they prepared to carry their views
i Since the Jews and the inhabitants of Judea will not receive him as the Messiah, will he go among the Gentiles for followers ?
beyond the present world, or to understand, that now was “ the accepted time, now the day of salvation.” The foolish virgins, in the parable, found that they might ask too late, and therefore ask in vain, “ Lord, open unto us." Now at this present time, and here in this present world, is the offer made,—" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.” Now is the promise given, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” But now also must the offer be accepted and the promise claimed. Now we must strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many hereafter, like the Jews who are here warned, “ shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able ;” and find too late, that where Christ and his disciples are, they cannot come.
37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.2
39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive : for the Holy Ghost was not yet given :3 because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
This is one of the many occasions when the Lord took opportunity from the circumstances around him to give force and illustration to the truths
2 Not in any particular passage, but in many prophetic passages; as Prov. i. 23; Is. xliv. 3; Zech. xii. 10; Joel ii. 28. which he declared. It had become customary at the feast of tabernacles to draw water from the fountain of Siloam, and with much pomp of ceremony, and with music, and hymns of thanksgiving, to pour it upon the altar at the offering of the morning sacrifice. Our Lord witnessed these proceedings ; saw the interest which they excited, and the little effect, probably, which they produced upon the heart : and he was led to say, What is the water of Siloam ? If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters” which have real value, which are waters of life and health. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. He that believeth on me, drinketh from “ the well of salvation :” and shall himself become a fountain, from which streams of refreshing truth shall flow : shall himself diffuse that fertility around, which rivers of living water give wherever they extend. As the scripture hath said, “He shall be like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." As the scripture hath said, “I will pour out my Spirit upon him, I will make known my words unto him.”:6 “ I will pour water upon him that is thirsty : I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.”?
3 Not given to the apostles in the manner which was intended and analled the hottest path tended, and fulfilled at the day of Pentecost. Compare xiv. 26, and xvi. 7.
We are not in this case left to doubt concerning
4 The origin and purport of this custom has not been preserved ; and it had no authority from the law.
5 Is. lviii. 11. 6 Prov. i. 23. 7 Is. xliv, 3.
the interpretation. This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe in him should receive.
Such was the promise of those more abundant gifts of the Spirit, which were offered under the gospel dispensation. And if we look from the promise to its fulfilment, we shall see the justness of the comparison.
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. The apostles had been brought to feel that salutary thirst. It had led them to Christ Jesus, and retained them in his faith. They had drunk of his words ; they had received his doctrine; they were in due time filled with his Spirit: and when they went forth to obey his command and execute their commission, truths flowed from them which were as a living spring of water to mankind, as “ floods upon a dry ground.” Before his Holy Spirit was shed upon them, they were themselves as “ a dry ground where no water is :” parched and barren in their own hearts, and affording little benefit to others. But when “ they were filled with the Holy Ghost, they spake the word of God with boldness :"9 The waters of salvation flowed freely from their mouths: and “ daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”9 And those again, who had learnt from them, when they were scattered abroad, and permitted to remain no longer at Jerusalem, “ went every where preaching the word.” And that word which they preached, had the effect which water has upon the
8 Acts iv. 31; 9 Acts v. 42. 1 Acts viii. 4.
sinking frame or upon the barren ground. It comforted the drooping heart, and “ revived the spirit of the contrite ones.” It made “ the wilderness blossom as a rose,” and “ be like a watered garden.” The heathen, hitherto barren and unprofitable, became abundant in the fruits of righteousness. Instead of the works of the flesh, the fruits of the Spirit appeared : “ love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” 2
And such will always be the effect of the Spirit which they who believe in Jesus shall receive. It shall be in themselves a well of water, “springing up into everlasting life.” And it shall not be confined within themselves, but run over and communicate its blessings. As the influence of evil is unhappily diffusive, so, no less, is the influence of good : and the running stream does not more surely indicate its progress by the fertility which adorns its banks, than the zealous Christian sheds around him the effects of that Spirit by which his heart is filled, and his practice animated. He illustrates the Lord's assurance. Rivers of living water flow to others, out of the abundance of his own heart, out of the fulness which the Lord gives : and which shows, that not to the apostles only, but to the men of every age, He is a fountain of life, from which refreshment, and strength, and health, and salvation, are continually supplied to every one that believeth.
2 Gal. v. 22.