No Services at
John 7: 37-39
The Christian celebration
of the coming of the Holy Spirit is known as
Pentecost, an important part of Christian
history and faith. It is the Spirit that
strengthens the community to act in love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
(Galatians 5:22–23). In John, most of the talk
of the coming of the Holy Spirit appears late in
the Gospel as part of the farewell speeches
(chapters 14–20). Jesus says he will send the
Spirit after he has gone. But today’s passage
shows Jesus making a strong declaration about
what is to come.
John’s Gospel uses many symbols (light, dark,
bread). Here, Jesus connects Spirit with water
as a symbol. We are reminded of the coming of
the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism (John 1),
turning water into wine (John 2), and the
conversation with the Samaritan woman when he
offers living water (John 4). At the end of
John, when Jesus is on the cross and his side is
pierced with a spear, water and blood flow,
confirming symbolically that the promised Spirit
will come after his death (19:34).
The reader might also remember water used
symbolically in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old
Testament). Water was often a symbol for God’s
Spirit in the prophets, in the Psalms, and in
wisdom literature (Psalm 78:15–16; Proverbs
18:4; Isaiah 43:19, 44:3, and 58:11).
The lectionary gospel passage begins with Jesus
attending the Festival of Booths at the temple
in Jerusalem. He has been under increasing
criticism from the authorities. Four times in
chapter 7 they have threatened to kill him. By
the end of chapter 8, people try to stone him.
He doesn’t back down. The Festival of Booths
commemorated dedicating the temple by Solomon
and the belief that God’s Spirit would pour out
like a river from the temple. Jesus’ bold
proclamation here suggests that he somehow
fulfills that promise.
Jesus’ declaration might also remind the reader
of Isaiah’s proclamation in the marketplace
where he invites people to come and drink freely
(Isaiah 55:2). Isaiah challenged people to
question their priorities—why do people spend
money and dedicate their labor to that which
does not satisfy? Jesus’ invitation, then,
suggests something similar. Jesus had already
compared himself to manna for the people of
Israel in the wilderness (John 6:48–51).
Standing before the crowd at the temple, he
recognizes that people are thirsty for the
Spirit and that they’ve invested in that which
does not satisfy spiritual thirst.
But Jesus isn’t just offering a cool drink of
water, or even a satisfying spirit to make
people feel better. Jesus says believers who
come to him for this water will become channels
for sharing that spiritual water with others.
“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers
of living water” (John 7:38b). The Holy Spirit
isn’t a personal gift to have and to warm the
believer’s heart. Instead, it is to be shared
Jesus’ promise is that his disciples will follow
him in mission, that believers will be filled
with Jesus’ Spirit so they can live as he has
lived, in mission, in the world, sharing Spirit
with all those whom they serve in mission.
1. God recognizes that people are spiritually
thirsty, looking for something deeper or more
2. God wants to pour out
God’s Spirit on all people, to give people
purpose and meaning.
Tragically, people are engaged in pursuits that
are not spiritually fulfilling.
3. God’s Spirit is not
just a personal gift to be kept. Instead the
Spirit is to flow through disciples to the whole
4. Mission happens when
disciples allow the Holy Spirit to flow through
them. Disciples become like Jesus when His
Spirit flows through them.
Friday evening (21 May), the First Presidency
updated their communication regarding worship and
gathering recommending that our restraint from
in-person worship continue. World church
representatives will share information with Mission
Center Leaders regarding the return to worship in
the coming week. Mission Center leaders will
then share with local pastors.
Reunions and large activities are now cancelled
The Webb Road Pastorate continues to acknowledge the wisdom
of this guidance, and Webb Road Services and
Activities will therefore continue to be suspended,
in accordance with this current, and on-going global
event as it is affecting all of us.
Gatherings (Including Olathe and Bethel in MMC)