Jesus had spent nearly a week in Jerusalem throughout the Feast of Tabernacles teaching the masses there, and engaging the religious leaders with the truth that He was God. The evidence of His miracles combined with the unfaltering words of His message made it clear that Jesus was the Messiah. All that was left for the crowd was to believe. Would they trust Him as the promised Savior?
To some, the call of faith seems daunting. “Trust in Jesus? But I don’t know if He truly was who He claimed to be.” This type of unbelief is not founded in a lack of facts, but in confusion and an unwillingness to be objective in the face of truth. Jesus had made it incredibly clear who He was. He had demonstrated power over nature, over food and wine, over disease, over injury, and the stack of witnesses was piling up.
When Jesus called people to come in faith to Him, He was not asking them to blindly turn to Him and hope that He might follow through on His claims. Jesus was not expecting people to turn off their minds and come in robotic foolishness to accept Him. Rather, He had taught and demonstrated clearly who He truly was, and all of the proof demonstrated that He was truly the Messiah. Now, even the crowd was beginning to affirm the completely logical conclusion that Jesus was Christ.
On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus again made a call to those around Him to put their faith in Him. Using the same analogy that He had spoken to the Samaritan woman, Jesus told the audience in Jerusalem that He was the source of living water or eternal life. Those who put their faith in Him would not only receive eternal life, but they would also become a source of living water for others.
At this point in the story, John pauses to take a theological sidestep. He made the point to us, the readers, that when we put our faith in Jesus the Holy Spirit now comes to indwell us, but those who were there with Jesus would not have that happen yet. The reason that He gave was that Jesus was there with them, so the Holy Spirit had not come yet and did not dwell inside of believers yet. But for us, the truth remains, when we put our trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes and lives inside of us. We receive eternal life, but then the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to cause us to become a river of living water to those around us.
Food For Thought: Does Jesus ask His followers to accept His claims in a blind, mindless faith? According to today’s text, what are the two results of coming in faith to Christ?