John 7:37-39: Living Water

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." 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. (John 7:37-39, NIV)

Another basic desire besides hunger that keeps a person alive is thirst. Just as Jesus symbolically used the term, "Bread of Life," He also used the term, "Water of Life" or "Living Water" (also used in John 4:10-11). This term also means "fresh, running or flowing water" as opposed to stagnant or well water. Besides needing Jesus' atoning death on the cross ("Bread of Life") for a restored relationship with God, we need the Holy Spirit ("Living Water") living in our lives (Romans 8:9).

The feast this passage refers to is the Feast of Tabernacles. During this feast, the priest marched from the Pool of Siloam to the temple and poured water at the base of the altar. This is in reference to two Scriptures that they read during the feast:

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. (Zechariah 14:8, NIV)

The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1, NIV)

The name, "Jerusalem," means "the city of peace." In the New Testament, Paul said that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Jesus also used "breath" or "wind" to refer to the "Spirit" (John 3:5-8). In fact, the same word in the original languages of both the Old Testament and New Testament means "breath," "wind," or "spirit." Genesis 2:7 has the term, "breath of life," for when God breathed life into Adam.