April 16th - Rivers
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39 (NKJV)
I grew up in the Upper Valley of the Snake River. The Snake River cut through the heart of my home town of Idaho Falls, separating the east from the west. My childhood friend, Paul Umphenour, who was a few years older than me, used to take me fishing downtown in the middle of the city. While the water quality of the Snake River downtown wasn't as pristine as the streams feeding it from the mountains, we consistently caught some sizable and tasty Rainbow Trout. The water from the Snake River was life-giving to the whole valley. There was a canal system that ran throughout the city and extended into the surrounding farm lands where the availability of water led to consistent harvests of "Famous Idaho Potatoes" as well as other crops.
Now where Jesus grew up and lived, the biggest river in the region was the Jordan River. While the Jordan River had seasons of flooding, for the most part it was a small, muddy river. None the less, it was of great significance and life-giving to the entire region. Without the Jordan River the lands of Israel would have been a dusty, lifeless plain. The point is this: "Rivers are the source of life-giving water."
Jesus stated that our spiritual source of life-giving water would be the Holy Spirit. That He would come to "live with us and in us!" Furthermore, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be like "rivers of living water!" (Rivers--as in plural) I'm just speculating, but it's possible that Jesus did not feel as if one river, particularly a river like the Jordan, did justice in describing the life-giving force of the Holy Spirit, so He compared the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to multiple rivers! When you realize that the same Spirit that created the universe is living inside of you, the power of many rivers makes perfect sense. The Holy Spirit is an unending, forceful, life-giving, cleansing presence in the life of the Believer!
Author's Note: Have you ever been thirsty? Really thirsty? After football practice--back in the day when they didn't let you drink water during the practice--I would drink so much water that I left no room for food. Water is amazing--when you are really thirsty. The same is true when it comes to spiritual thirst--nothing satisfies our spiritual longing more than our connection with the Holy Spirit. RJD