Rivers of Living Water
By Fr. Daniel Shaba
The picture I used for this article might be confusing to some. If any Jew during the first century looked at this picture, they would immediately know that it is the Pool of Siloam. During the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, the priests would go to the Pool of Siloam and draw water from there to take to the temple as a sacrifice. This sacrifice was to be seen as a prayer for rain so that their crops received a sufficient amount of rain in order to survive by means of both food and money.
In John 7:37-39 it says, “On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, ‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’ He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
At the end of the verse, John clarifies that the words about living water refer to the Holy Spirit. If this is the case, what is so significant about this statement from Jesus? First, I want to highlight that Jesus decided to speak of his audiences’ thirst on the last day of the feast. It is almost as if he allowed them to finish the feast until he gave a different meaning to the feast that they were participating in. Just as water is necessary for their agriculture to grow and produce fruit, we too need Christ for our growth and spiritual maturity. Jesus is making himself and the Spirit the source of fulfillment.
When we receive these “Rivers of living water” we are receiving the eschatological reality of our lives. When Christ was stabbed with a lance on the cross, blood and water flowed from his side. That water is a symbol of our baptism and our baptism is our recreation in the life of God. In the book of Genesis, we read that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. Christ is the new Adam who allows us to receive salvation from his living water that flows from his side. Brothers and Sisters, nothing in this world can satisfy us the way Christ does; nothing in this world could quench the thirst of fulfillment that we get than what Christ offers us. This price of this was, indeed, the cross. During the rest of this Lent let us orient ourselves toward Christ and show him that he truly is the source of all living water. Amen.