25th Anniversary of Living Water

 Sermon Text: John 7:25-39

 Other Readings: Deuteronomy 7:6-9 and Ephesians 4:4-13


To learn more about the Feast of Tabernacles which was the festival mentioned in our text, you can read Leviticus 23:33-44 and Deuteronomy 16:13-17.

  1. Verse 39 explains that “up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Of the options below, what is the best way to understand that?
    1. The Holy Spirit did not exist yet but came into existence after Jesus’ resurrection.
    2. The Holy Spirit existed, but he didn’t do anything until after Jesus’ resurrection.
    3. Only after Jesus’ resurrection did it become the Spirit’s specific work to glorify Jesus as the Son of God, to open the hearts of believers, and to build the Christian Church.
  2. Imagine that someone asked you, “What does Jesus mean by ‘living water’?” In two sentences or less, how would you explain it?
  3. Which Old Testament passage(s) might Jesus have had in mind when he said, “As Scripture said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (v. 38)?
  4. When Martin Luther commented on these verses he wrote, “You hear it called a quickening stream. The oral Word is a living Word. I know it well; for I have experienced it in trials and afflictions. I can feel that life is given to me by means of the Word.” When have you in your life felt the active and life-giving qualities of God’s living water within you?
  5. Below is a picture of our chancel. In the chancel, the pulpit, the altar, and the baptismal font all have a prominent place because they play a role in which God’s living water flows to us. Explain the role the pulpit, the altar, and the font each have in the way that God’s living water flows to us.

  1. Option “c” is the best way to understand it. The Holy Spirit is eternal, just as is the Father and the Son (confer Genesis chapter 1). The Holy Spirit clearly was at work at various times in the Old Testament. But the Spirit’s predominant work now–pointing people to Jesus as the Christ–could not begin until Jesus had been glorified at his resurrection.
  2. Wording may vary, but important elements to include would be the forgiveness of sins which quenches our worn-out souls, and which ultimately wells up to eternal life (John 4:14).
  3. We are hard-pressed to find Old Testament verses that are direct parallels to Jesus’ words. Instead, it seems like Jesus is just referring to general themes the Old Testament had regarding the Messiah and his work.
  4. Answers will vary. While we Lutherans are careful not to put trust in what we feel going on inside us, we should not pretend that the living water of God’s Word has no effect on what we feel on the inside.
  5. The pulpit proclaims the message of the cross that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the source of our forgiveness, and that forgiveness freely flows from Christ’s cross. At the font, God attaches his living and enduring word to the waters of baptism and uses that word to bring us into his family of believers through faith and the forgiveness of sins offered in baptism. From the altar is given Holy Communion, in which we receive Christ's true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.