“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (But this spoke he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”[John 7:37-39]
This took place on the last day of the feast of tabernacles, upon which day, traditionally, the Jews would stand and pour out water before the Lord. They treated it mostly as a religious ceremony, but it was intended to portray the insatiable thirst of the human heart, and the uselessness of all the water on earth to satisfy that thirst.
When a person is thirsting to death, all the silver and gold, all the fame and fortune, all property and possessions are completely worthless. You cannot drink silver, and gold will not slake your thirst. Fame and fortune will not look very promising when you are just moments away from dying of thirst. In such an instance, the only thing that would be worth anything to you would be water. In fact, when a person is dying of thirst, I dare say that even the greediest man in the world would trade anything and everything he had for just one cup of water.
Spiritually speaking, this world is a wasteland. It is dry and barren and lifeless. I know that many would look around and say that that statement is not true, but so much of the world has forsaken God in pursuit of so many other things, and when you turn your back on God’s Garden of Eden, all you are left with is the wilderness. If you forsake life, all you are left with is death. When Jesus spoke on that last day of the feast, some two-thousand years ago, as John points out, He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. He told the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water. The woman said unto him, Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then have you that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Sin is in fact madness. Solomon was fond of calling it vanity. The word vanity literally means empty nothings, and someone once dubbed it “chasing the wind”. I once gave an illustration, as I was preaching, that exemplifies sin in a most pointed way. The world is like an ocean liner that has sunk, and all the people of the world are stranded out in the vast sea, treading water, freezing to death, drowning, and along comes a rescue ship, with plenty of room in it for everyone, and the captain of that ship is God, and the ship itself is Christ. But as the Holy Spirit cries out from the bow of that ship to the inhabitants of this world, almost none will take the route of escape from the icy waters. Most anyone and everyone swims around looking for anything else they can find to hang on to and ignores the rescue ship completely. They hold on to floating wood and pieces of debris from the sunken vessel, or they try hanging on to each other, and they just end up drowning the people around them faster. Some hear the call to safety but do not trust that the rescue ship will truly save them. And, if you really want to talk about madness, many will reject the help of the rescue boat; because they are fearful of what the other people around them, who are drowning, are going to think of them. Precious few ever hear the call of the Holy Spirit and get into the ship that can save them. And this is the folly and madness of it all; people will not get into the rescue boat, because they do not want to be saved. They would rather die than admit that they need Christ.
Incidentally, ocean water cannot be drunk. It would be a cruel and frightful thing to know that you were floating around in the middle of so much water that you couldn’t possibly imagine or comprehend the volume of it, yet still dying of thirst. That is the only thing that what this world calls life can do for you. It will only see you thirst to death faster.
Men and women, for all of time, have pursued after life and happiness in every direction; believing that their life consisted in the abundance of things, I.e. silver, gold, lands, fame and fortune, relationships, etc., but in doing so, they have failed to see the one and greatest treasure that could ever have done them any good.
Everyone seems to think that they know what happiness is, and almost all put on a façade of being happy and content and fulfilled in their pursuits, but, at the end of the day, they really are not happy, and because they haven’t the one thing that could truly make them happy, and fulfilled, and free. They chase the wind for all of their lives. They hear it, they feel it, it seems to be just within their reach, but they are never able to latch ahold of it, and because no human being ever has.
Only God can catch the wind.
I want to point out, quickly, that the Holy Spirit is a person, if you could use such terminology. He is not a wind or a force or a personification, but He is in fact God. He is a distinct personality within the Trinity of God. Many factions do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but to not believe in such is to deny the word of God. When Jesus gave the only real formula for water baptism, He very pointedly said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”(Matthew 28:19) Why would Jesus say such a thing if one or two of the persons mentioned did not exist? Also, He said in another place: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you…. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”(John 14:16-17&26) Jesus clearly states that the Holy Spirit is another comforter, separate and distinct from the Father and the Son. Then, on the day when Jesus was baptized of John, as Jesus came up out of the water, “he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:”, and a voice spoke from heaven saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Mat. 3:16&17) Did the Father say that He himself was His own beloved Son? Did the Spirit of God descend upon Himself? Can it be said that the Father descended upon Jesus like a dove, when it is clearly stated that it was the Spirit of God descending? Jesus was standing on the bank of Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended, and the voice of the Father came out of Heaven? There are, once again, three distinct persons mentioned here. Notwithstanding, for anyone who denies the existence of the Holy Spirit, take heed, for Jesus also made the statement: “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost has never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:”(Mark 3:28-29)
Now, leaving off trying to prove such things as should forthrightly need no proof, let me go on to the subject at hand. In the 1st chapter of the Bible, we are introduced to the Holy Spirit, and we are told there, in essence, what He does. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”(Gen. 1:1-3) So we see here that the beginning of life and light is the moving of the Spirit of God. In fact, as we are told, without the moving of the Holy Spirit all is chaos and confusion and darkness.
We have here the trinity of God at work on the very first page of history. God the Father said let the light go forth, Jesus is the light, and God the Holy Ghost is the one who reveals the light. We see the same exact thing in the life and ministry of Christ. God the Father sends the Son into the world, the Son is the light of life, and God the Holy Ghost reveals that light to whosever is found worthy and willing to receive the light. That can be found in the gospel of John, chapter 1, which could quite literally be called the genesis chapter of the gospels.
The more I live for God, the more I come to realize just how precious my relationship with Him is, just how precious His presence in my life is, and just how so much I need Him every minute, every hour, every day. That should be the heartfelt desire of every Christian. We should come to realize that God is more important than our friends, our family, our possessions, even more important than our own lives. The Apostle Paul knew that. He said: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”(Phi. 3:8-11) In fact, I think it could be said of every major Bible character: Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Peter, John, Paul, Sarah, Hanna, Mary, Etc., that they would have traded everything they had in this world just to remain close to God.
David said: ” As the hart(deer) pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?(Psalms 42:1-2)
As water is to the flesh, and to all living things, so also is the Spirit of purity and of truth and of life. The writer of this Psalm is David, but the speaker here is Jesus. In fact, that could be said of all of the Psalms, in one way or another, that Jesus was the speaker. The Holy Spirit was the link between the Father and Son while Jesus was here on this earth. Jesus said: “the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Jesus followed the will of the Father minutely, but it was by the agency of the Holy Spirit that Jesus knew the will of the Father and had the grace to do that will. Even Jesus, had he not had the Holy Spirit, though he were the son of God, would not have been able to do the things that He did. Jesus allowed Himself to be used as the divine instrument through which the Holy Spirit could work without hindrance. This is the way that it works, and this is the way that it has always worked. When Moses stood on the bank of the Red Sea, and it parted, it was not Moses, per se, who parted it, but it was the Spirit of God that did it, but Moses was used as the vessel through which it was done. The same could be said of Joshua, David, Elijah, Peter and many others.
Many things set Jesus apart from any other human being, but one of the major things, which evades the knowledge of most of the church, was that Jesus loved and longed to be in the presence and glory of the Father constantly. That really cannot be said about any other man or woman. Although, many have come down through the ages wanting to be close to God, still for all of us the thoughts of our own life and circumstances tend to get in the way of our desire to please God, but that cannot be said of Christ. He sought the will of the Father every moment, every hour, every day of His life, and He never concerned Himself with any other thing but the will of the Father. Even when faced with the suffering and death of the Cross, He said, “not my will, Father, but thy will be done”.
The Holy Spirit is also the link between Jesus and the Christian. In fact, He links us to the Father and to Jesus. When we speak to God in prayer, Paul said, “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”(Rom. 8:26-27) So when Jesus mentions us being in Him, and He being in us, what He is saying is that He is in us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and likewise we are in Him by the Holy Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit is not just a link, and He is not just a servant to do the will of God, but He is in fact God, and He loves us. As the divine comforter, and our loving parent, He is constantly with us and constantly doing all that He can to help us run the race and fight the good fight of faith and walk according to the will of God. When you feel the presence of God moving in your heart and all around you, it is the Holy Spirit that you are feeling. Jesus made the statement, “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”(Mat. 18:3) That is probably one of the most difficult things for any of us to do, and it is a life long process for every Christian, and I speak of becoming so dependent on God that like as an infant we come to realize that we cannot do one single thing without Him. Spiritually speaking, we cannot feed ourselves we cannot dress ourselves and we cannot even walk on our own. And God the Holy Spirit is the one who feeds us with the bread of life, clothes us with the righteousness of Christ, and carries us through this life as He molds us and shapes us into the image of Christ.
Let me stop for another moment and bring to light a truth that may easily evade the understanding. God is God. There are not three different Gods, but there is only one. Often when we speak of Jesus or the Father or the Holy Spirit, we, as imperfect human beings, have the tendency to think of them as we would consider three different people. To say it another way, I am, and you are a soul, spirit and body. Or as the Bible puts it at times, heart, mind and flesh. That is what we are. We are a tri-part being, and while many deny the existence of the soul, or the spirit, to do so is to deny one’s own existence. They are fools who say that the human being is nothing more than chemical, mechanical and electrical processes. They are ignorant and unlearned who say that we are nothing more than a higher form of animal. To say that all we are is a body and their is nothing more to us is so stupid that it beggars description. But on the day that Adam was created; though his body was made of the same material as the animals, it was said that God breathed into the nostrils of Adam the breath of life, and he became a living soul. And God said let us make man in our own image after our likeness, and although we lost a great deal of what we could have been in the Garden of Eden, we still hold a modicum of the image and likeness of God. There are not three of me: body, soul and spirit, there is only one of me, but I am made up of three different parts. And God is made up of three distinct parts, but there is only one God. But God is Holy, Holy, and Holy, and that is the point to the thrice repetition, and He is perfect. While we are limited to this mortal form and therefore limited in what we can do, God is not limited and therefore He knows all and sees all and is able to be in every place and every time that He chooses to be. So while God the Father is in heaven, and God the Son was, for a time, here on earth and is ascended back into heaven, and God the Holy Spirit has been sent down from heaven as a comforter and councilor, it could be said that all three are both in heaven and here on earth at the same time.
As a man acquainted with sorrow, I understand the loneliness, the despair, the heartache that the people of this world feel, almost on a perpetual basis. Some few times, a distraction will come along; something that will bring a modicum of pleasure, joy, hope, but shortly it fades away, and the brokenness comes back even worse than it was before. This is because that the void that exists in the human heart is so big that only God can fill it up, and as men and women seek desperately in every direction for something to slake the thirst of the human heart, like the water of the ocean, all that this world has to offer only causes a greater thirst and a deeper anxiety for hope —a hope that will never be found except we look to Jesus, who is our only Hope.
I have, in my Christian life, experienced what it is to be forsaken of all friends and family; because I had yielded to the Lord while others would not. Slowly, over time, I was alienated and outcast until I found myself with no one but God as my friend and my help. And then, on top of that, I have experienced the depths of Satan trying to turn me back to the ways of the world, trying to tell me that I was never going to make it, and trying to tell me that I had done wrong by trusting God. At times, in my own life, the pain and the heartache have gotten so bad, and God bears me witness, that I had echoed the prayer of Elijah, “it is enough”, and I would pray to God to just take me out of this world; because I couldn’t take the pain anymore. Thankfully, God always knew better than I did, and His answer to that prayer was always no. Now, I have a new family and a better inheritance, and I have been blessed beyond measure; because I have counted all but loss that I may win Christ.
Please hear me and believe me Christians; whatever it is that you are going through, no matter how bad it may seem to be, the Holy Spirit is with you, and He is telling you, “I understand what you are going through. I love you. I am here. You are not alone.”
So many times in my own life, the Holy Spirit would push through the doubt and fear that was present in me, and He would make sure I felt Him holding my hand; He would make sure that I knew He was there by my side helping me through.
I don’t know where I would be without Him.
Please understand, Christians, that everything you have gone through and are going through in your life, God the Holy Ghost has already gone through it all, over and over again, with Christian after Christian, down through the ages, and He knows what you are going through, and He will never let you go through it alone. And He knows what to do for you and how to get you through it. Often times, the only reason that we find ourselves seemingly going through things alone is because we are not trusting in God’s love for us. Somehow we seem to think, “the problems that I am experiencing, God couldn’t possibly help me with; God has never dealt with problems like mine; my problems are so big that God cannot solve them.” Does that even make any sense? God can do anything! He is bigger than any problem that you could ever have or even imagine. Trust Him, and He will see you through anything.
The problem so often is that we are off on some road of life that we think is right for us, and the Holy Spirit is over on the road that is truly right, and He is ever calling to us to come over to the right way. And so we find ourselves seemingly going through the difficulties of life on our own; because we are not going the right way. But, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”(II Chr. 7:14). Listen to the Holy Spirit and go the way He says go, and you will every time find yourself at the right destination. He loves you, but He cannot help you except you cooperate with Him.
God will not help us to do our will. So much of what holds us back as Christians comes down to the pure simple error that we think we know better than God does. Often we ask God for things, and we ask God to help us with this or that, when in reality we should be asking God what He wants and what He has for us. If we stop and think about it, often we find ourselves demanding that God do what we want Him to do, and that doesn’t even make any sense. We were created by Him and for Him, and so why would we ever think that He should do what we want.
It should be the other way around.
The Holy Spirit is not in our lives to do our will. As I have said, He is God, and He is in our lives to lead us in the way of righteousness, after the similitude of Christ. And so understand that the struggle and the fight that the Holy Spirit is attempting to help us through is not that we may become stronger people. I get so tired of hearing and reading statements about how strong and independent people seem to think they are. I get so frustrated at the times I hear people talk about how much of a survivor they are or how strong willed they are, etc. We are supposed to be independent of other people, that much is true, and because other people have no power to save us, and, as I have alluded to, other people, more often than not, just serve to bring us down faster, but we are supposed to be dependent on God. If you think that you are a strong person, and therefore do not need God, or if you think you only need a little help from Him, but most things you can do on your own, then you are in effect swimming around in the icy, saltwater ocean, looking to the rescue ship from time to time, but never getting on it.
Inevitably, you are going to drown.
It cannot be otherwise.
Just as the Word of God is the bread of life, and Jesus is the Living Word, which means that Jesus Himself is the bread, so also is the Holy Spirit the water of life, which comes down out of heaven to give life to all who thirst. Ezekiel said: “And it shall come to pass, that everything that lives, which moves, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river comes.”(Eze. 47:9) While food is very much necessary for life, water is just as necessary and even more so. In fact, if all the water on earth were to somehow disappear, or were it to all become poison, very shortly there would be no life left on earth, and for the short space that life remained while we all thirsted to death, food would dissipate quickly as everything around us died. And so, as much as we need the bread of life, the bread does not really do us much good without the moving and leading and life sustaining presence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible, and therefore the author of redemption, and He is the one who we must rely on to lead us into all truth.
Jesus said, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as always in total harmony in all things, designed the plan of redemption for the human race that would see Jesus come to this earth, live the life that no other human being was able to live and die at Calvary so that whosoever will may come and be forgiven and live. God the Holy Ghost heard from heaven and led Jesus through this world: guiding Him, protecting Him, raising Him in the will of the Father, and keeping Him unspotted from the world. The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from an infant, through His childhood and into adulthood. When Jesus went down to the river Jordon to be baptized, it was the Holy Spirit who told Him to go there, and Jesus was obedient. When Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted, it was the Holy Spirit who drove Him(moved upon Him strongly to go) into the wilderness. When Satan leveled his temptations toward Christ, it was the Holy Spirit that gave Jesus the words to answer the temptations. In fact, had He not relied totally and completely upon the Holy Spirit, even as the Son of God, but still a man, He would have failed just as surely as Adam did, and the human race would have been doomed. It was the Holy Spirit who orchestrated all things that would take place in the life of Christ in order that He would find Himself at Jerusalem, condemned, that He may become the perfect, spotless sacrifice for the sin of the world. And it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus, on the third day, walked back out of that tomb, never to die again.
The Holy Spirit always lifts up Jesus as the answer, shows us Jesus as the answer, and gives us the bread of life who is Jesus; because His sacrifice and that alone paid the price for sin, thereby opening the way between us and the Father. The final destination to which the Holy Spirit is trying to lead us is close to the Father, but we get there through Jesus and His sacrifice for us, and so it is the Holy Spirit who is ever attempting to make us more like Christ, so that it may be said of us, “in you am I well pleased”.
The Holy Spirit by the lips of Jesus said: “the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”
And, if you will hear it, Jesus Himself is the treasure hid in the field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
And, if you will hear it, Jesus Himself is the pearl of great price.
The Holy Spirit is ever attempting to bring us to the mindset and heart attitude that anything and everything is worthless to us in comparison to Jesus. If I had all the money and lands and houses and cars, and fame and fortune and the praise of all men everywhere but had not God, I would count myself to have had nothing, but if I have nothing but God, then doubtless I have everything.
And if you, whoever you may be, have everything in the world and have not God, then you will one day have nothing.
Again, if you will hear it, not one single thing in this vast ocean of life could ever compare to the safety and security of the rescue ship. When you are dying of thirst, and all the life that this world has to offer is saltwater and poison and death, there is only but one Water of Life, the which if you will drink of you will never thirst again. That Water of Life is the Holy Spirit who loves us, and whose presence and operation and life giving touch was purchased for us by the shed blood of our Lord on Calvary’s cross.