All around me I see people gearing up for Christmas. The parking lots at the malls are starting to fill up as shoppers begin buying presents. We all like to receive gifts. But I think that the greatest gifts are not from a store. They’re things that affect us for eternity.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
I want to take a few posts to talk about the gift of God to us. Jesus describes it as streams of living water bubbling up on the inside of us. Yet, even though it flows through you, you’re not the source. The Lord is talking about an unending stream.
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit living in God’s people. It was a new thing that God was going to do. It had never been seen before.
Of course, there were many Old Testament saints who were used mightily by the Holy Spirit. But until this time, no one had ever experienced the Spirit of the Lord actually taking up residence in their lives.
Look at what happened after Jesus was glorified.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
It’s clear from the words of Christ that the gift of God is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. God wanted them to have this gift. It was something that they needed to wait for before they did anything else.
They had already been given the “Great Commission” to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone. But now Jesus is telling them to wait. Don’t go, don’t preach, don’t do anything for me until you receive this gift. That tells me that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is necessary to proclaim the Good News.
We need to understand how the Spirit operates in us. In some ways the Holy Spirit is like water. He can be compared to a stream, a river, a pool or an ocean. He can be in you and you can be in Him.
But this was not the first invitation Jesus gave to receive His gift. At one point in His traveling, the Lord met with a woman by a well. In discussing about water…
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Jesus used a very interesting phrase to describe this. He called it living water – water that is alive. That’s because this water is a person – the Holy Spirit. We need to learn how to relate to Him. That’s how His life can become our life.
Question: How has the life of the Holy Spirit changed you?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016