Rivers of Living Water

John 7:38: He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

Jesus said by believing in him we would become a source of the very life of God. This was very different from how things were in the Old Testament where you needed a high priest, you needed to come to a physical temple for a religious “experience.” So to speak, the temple was to source of the life of God (in a severely limited sense). That was where spiritual activities take place, where things were happening. But Jesus Christ is saying that in him there is decentralisation of spiritual activities.

In the vision given to Ezekiel, the temple was seen as a source of living water, a life impacting water (Ezekiel 47:1-10). Wherever the water, that flowed from the threshold of the temple in increasing volumes, went, whatever was dead came alive, started to function the way God wants. It dissolved the power of death operating in that area. But what this means in Christ Jesus is that we as individual Christians are the temples (that makes several millions of temples), we are all spiritual houses of God, we individually are centres of divine activities.

You may not appreciate how radical those thoughts of Jesus are if you have received the Holy Spirit and have been a fully functional temple of God. But at that time, people relate to God through physical objects.

God was very far away, can only be “seen” through certain established set of motions. Man was meant to seek God as a matter of course without a living relationship with Him. That was why the ideas of God that Jesus introduced were radical: God as Father (He actually wants a relationship?!), expressing loving-care, so interested and informed about us that He knows the very number of the hairs on our head (Matthew 6:26, 32, 10:30). These ideas were once far-fetched and are still so for some strains of religion.

How shocking it must have been, the idea that God by the living waters would flow from inside the people? God, as far as the religious folks in Jesus’ time on earth were concerned, existed only in the history books, something to read about; someone outside you, related to only through some mediums. The more you have mastered the holy writings the closer, you are to God, they thought.

But Jesus told them that the study of the scriptures is not an end in itself but should lead them to him so that we can have a relationship with him and in the same time with God the Father (John 5:39).

Jesus attacked the empty religiosity of his time, calling the Pharisees who were the icon various unflattering names, e.g. whitewashed tombs, blind guides of the blind (Matthew 23:24-28). God wanted intimacy with his people but the leaders gave them a poor substitute in dos and don’ts.

For the new thing that Jesus was introducing to the people, nothing could be more grand than having rivers of living waters flowing out of people, out of the ordinary people. It is nothing less than God himself flowing through you. How strange that thought would have been: God in his absolute holiness flowing through sinful humanity? This new form of interaction between God and man is as revolutionary as the internet revolutionised communication among men.

John himself wrote that he only got to know the meaning of what Jesus Christ said of rivers of living waters flowing from anyone’s innermost being after the ascension of Jesus Christ. He told his readers that what Jesus meant was the Holy Spirit’s impact in and on those who believe (John 7:39). The Holy Spirit expressed through believers is the rivers of living water; the very life of God flows through them. We become the God-centres; heaven is in you flowing out by the Holy Spirit.

The flow of the Holy Spirit is the flow of the living waters. And it is not from outer space, it is from within you; heaven relocates to your belly, your heart, the core of your being. However, the question is: have you received the Holy Spirit?

The words of John are (John 7:39):

“Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Receiving in this sense is action by the receiver (I said that just to belabour the point). The concept of receiving is very much explained and supported in the New Testament: Paul asked a group of disciples if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed (Acts 19:2); Luke wrote of the Samaritan believers that though they have believed were yet to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15); one of the mandate of the Ananias sent to meet the new convert, Saul, was so that he would receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17); in the first message preached by Peter, he told his audience that if they believe they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39), without respect to age, gender, tribe or time span, lest an overzealous theologian start to assert that it was only meant for the first century Christian.

Paul rebuked the Galatians for falling away from faith asking them to think of how they received the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:2)? Peter after preaching to the house of Cornelius said they “have received the Holy Spirit as well as have (Acts 10: 47).”

Without argument, The Holy Spirit was responsible for the dynamism witnessed in the New Testament Church. This is because the rivers of living waters describe the functioning of the Holy Spirit in those who have received him. The writing of Paul to the Corinthians gave us an insight into what these rivers meant. There he talked about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, in power, knowledge and proclamation- in the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 12:1-11).

These definitely showed that the church is designed to function with a heavenly cutting edge, with the unrestrained flow of the rivers of living water, with the focal points not in an individual or organisation, but everyone. Therefore the overemphasis on being spectators is against the spirit of the word of the Jesus who said that out of our bellies, out core, will flow, rivers of living water, i.e. everyone who believes, without discrimination, segregation, sentiment or limitation.

The flow of the Holy Spirit in you is for you to be a blessing to others. Step out of your usual limits and allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you today. However have you received the Holy Spirit?

Maybe you don’t know or you don’t care or you find the whole idea unsettling, or you don’t want to be counted among the holy rollers, or you are just not ready. Whatever it is, it means your believing is not complete, if not, the living waters will be flowing out of your bellies according to the words of Jesus by now.

WordFromGod: There will be no experience of Jesus being alive if the living water is not flowing.



4 thoughts on “Rivers of Living Water

    1. I appreciate your condour, but realise that believing is more than an emotional affirmation. What you believe will be verified by works. In the case of the above discussion to say with God all things are possible does not apply in this matter. Jesus has given the word, if it is not happening as he said it in your life, it is a call to reexamine what you believe, not just be passive about it.

      Believing in the dictionary maybe a passive thing but in the word it is something active producing effects. Yes, with God all things are possible, but most times when we wait for God to do something, he is actually waiting for us to step on the waters based on the words he had released, which is what he has done.


  1. The Holy Spirit is flowing in and through and out from you, my brother in Christ. I feel the quickening as I read the words God gave you to share. Praise the Lord! My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Praising Him with you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ through all eternity! Hallelujah!


    1. Monica, who is sufficient for these things? Our sufficiency is of God, who has made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter but the Spirit; for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life (2Corinthians 2:16, 3:5-6).


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