Jesus was not timid about explaining that HE alone was the source of the quality of life that can satisfy the human soul.
In the verses above Jesus uses greatly EXPERIENTIAL language: thirsty, drink, rivers, overflow, within, receive, etc.
You and I are wired for pleasure, for passion, for spiritual “drinking”.
And it is just here that we find a HUGE DIFFERENCE between the gospel of Jesus and the various religious traditions we find around us.
Religion tries to fix you by eliminating bad things from your life. If you get rid of enough of the bad, then you’ll be happy.
But remember: nature abhors a vacuum.
While there is no doubt that a lot of the stuff that we do and that we allow to fill our lives is NOT healthy or holy. Trying to fix ourselves by an ethic of avoidance never seems to last long. Have you learned this about yourself?
But take note of what Jesus did NOT say above. He didn’t say, “If anyone is thirsty” (i.e. realizing your need of something you haven’t yet found), “then stop drinking all the bad stuff you’re drinking.”
Again, stopping the bad is important. It’s just not ultimate.
No, Jesus says, “Come to Me…and DRINK…and out of your heart will flow rivers of living water!”
Come to Me and drink. Come and be filled. Then with a new passion, a new Master of your heart, you will have power to supplant (not just suppress!) the parasitic usurpers that formerly filled your heart!
The way to rid your heart of a passion that currently rules it is to set before your mind and desires an Object with greater power to bless and satisfy you.
This is exactly what Jesus is promising us.
“I can fill you so full that you will overflow with My fullness. And nothing else will be able to possess you. You will have an overflow abundance of my grace, peace, and joy to share with everyone and everything around you.”
Jesus’ words to the woman at the well echo this reality:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
Can you see what Jesus is saying? When we try to fill our hearts with anything less than the presence and life of Jesus Himself, we will thirst again. It’s like running on fossil fuels. There’s ultimately not enough to sustain you forever. You must switch to a superior energy source!
Pause for a moment and think of the audacity of what Jesus says next: “whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
This has to be one of the most incredible promises God has made to man! He has both the desire and the ability to not only deeply satisfy you (both now and eternally), but to give you an overflow to share with people around you! This is the amazing grace of God. This is a passion that can supplant every idol, every sin, every addiction, all confusion, and every hurt in our hearts.
And the invitation to come to Him and drink is still open to anyone who will acknowledge their thirst and receive.