“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?’ So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, ‘Why have you not brought Him?’ The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!’ Then the Pharisees answered them, ‘Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.’ Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, ‘Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’ They answered and said to him, ‘Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.’ And everyone went to his own house.”
Jesus was speaking to the Jews in this Scripture reading at the end of the Feast of the Tabernacles. Since He knew that the Jews would get hold of Him and hang Him to death on the Cross, which is why He asked, “Why do you seek to kill me?” To this they replied, “Are you crazy? You surely have a demon. Who is really seeking to kill you?” They did not know even at that point that Jesus was their Redeemer. Jesus spoke to them again. “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” But the Jews still could not understand what these words meant or who in fact this Jesus was.
“Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him would receive.”
It says here, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” what do these words mean? Have you perhaps experienced rivers of living water flowing in your hearts before? Since God’s gospel of the water and the Spirit works only in people who believe in it, it definitely does not work through fanatic atmospheres in large churches, or evangelistic outreaches, people who have denominational faith have also not been able to experience the flowing of these rivers.
In truth, those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are really few in number. But if you look closely at the Church where people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit gather, these huge currents of living water flow freely there. And the driving force of that current is true faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
If your faith has not been born out from the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it will be hard for this world to obtain salvation from sin. When I tell people about how God has helped us in the work of world mission, there will always be people who say, “Well, whatever the case, so what.” But you must stand firm by faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and preach the gospel from the beginning till the very end. You and I must follow the Lord with faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. If you do not have eyes of faith, the works of God will look merely like absurd things to you. For example, the faith we have that the whole world will be filled with the gospel of the water and the Spirit is an absurd thought to many people, those without true faith. But if they have faith, the proclamation of the gospel of the water and the Spirit will surely fill the whole world someday. On the other hand, if they do not have a believing heart, that event will be impossible even in a million years.
Rivers of Living Water Will Flow in our Hearts When We Believe in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
The question is, whether you have experienced rivers of living water flowing in your heart through your faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit or not. People who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have all experienced this. We all worship, listen to sermons, listen to the testimonies of our brothers and sisters, and sing praises, but all of us have not experienced the rivers of the Spirit. I feel the rivers of the Spirit flowing always in and out of my heart ever since I believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit when I first met the Lord. When I am at rest this river continues to flow and refreshes my heart. The spiritual river, the river of the Spirit, is flowing continuously in my heart. No matter what frustrations, or trouble, the rivers flow will always flow in my heart and be peaceful. My heart that was not good previously, becomes transformed, becomes refreshed and becomes happy. I frequently experience the flowing of the rivers of the Spirit in my heart.
You must know this, before I met the Lord through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, my heart was just like an arid desert. It was always stuffy, and that stuffiness did not disappear even during times of worship. No matter how much I thirsted after spiritual things from the Lord, it was the same. That is why I fully understand people who fanatically call out and shout in the name of the Lord whenever they try to go before God. It is because they have strong desires to obtain ‘fullness of emotions’ because the rivers of the Spirit do not flow in their hearts, and as a result they have no refreshment, and they are really stuffy people. So they loudly cry out “Lord” three times, and pray in tongues with both their hands raised. When I had previously hungered and thirsted in my heart, I also behaved just like them.
When I eventually met the Lord and received the remission of sins through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I believed that the sins in my heart had been totally eliminated. And because of that I started to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, become a sinless child of God and a righteous worker. As I lived out my faith and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit, I could feel the river of the Spirit flowing in my heart. Even when I did something else other than spiritual works, the refreshing river of the Spirit, which other people do not know of, flowed in my heart. I then thought, “Oh, so this is the phenomenon that arises in only those people who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.” After experiencing the river of the Spirit this way, my spiritual hunger and thirst had disappeared for I was now filled. The phenomena of being like dry bones due to the sin that was still in my heart and being frustrated and uncomfortable were gone.
If I compare my heart before I was truly born again with my heart now, I am able to see the big difference. Just as the Lord, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” This is speaking clearly about the condition of the hearts of people who have received the Spirit. It means that if a person believes in the Lord who came by the gospel of the water and the Spirit, he will receive the remission of sins, and the river of the Spirit will flow in his heart, because the Holy Spirit dwells there now. That is why there hearts are refreshed, and the ever-present hunger and thirst have disappeared. The phenomenon of this hunger and thirsting makes there hearts dry and frustrated in perpetuity. Even though our bodies can be stuffy some times, our souls, cannot. I am not the only one who believes in the gospel of the water and the Spirit; all those who believe like this will experience this.
I usually edit my sermons into Korean and then hand them over to my coworkers to have it translated into English. There is a lot of work I have to proofread, and even if I proofread them ten times, I do not experience weariness because the refreshing river of the Spirit is always flowing in my heart. Even if it becomes physically difficult, I must be abundantly blessed because my heart is refreshed and the Lord is leading me to devote myself to the works of God’s righteousness.
My coworkers assisting me with this literature ministry spoke out how they were exhausted from the task of proofreading. But if they realize that these works make the river of the Spirit flow in people’s hearts, they will come to the realization that physical hardships do not matter. Even if you just carefully read one of our books, you will experience the river of the Spirit flowing in your hearts, right? No matter how many times someone reads the books of the world, there will be no answer, and will certainly make there heads even more confused. But should you read only one of our books, they will become “Amen” in there hearts, will feel refreshed, and their minds that was confused will become upright. There are some brothers and sisters among our fellow workers who have no time to read these books and only do things like shining ornamental knobs, but even so, these workers are also doing amazing and blessed work.
I have to also proofread them, I read a large quantity of documents, and every time I do this my heart gets better and I experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Naturally it is physically difficult at times, but if I think I passed the limits of my strength, and therefore the Lord gives me new strength in my heart again, and helps me by having refreshing rivers flow there.
Hunger and Thirst Will Be Your Portion, If You Seek after the Desires of Your Flesh
Before the Lord died on the Cross, was resurrected, and ascended to Heaven, He spoke to us regarding this matter: “He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will Flow Rivers of living water.” This means that if a person believes in the Lord, his heart will be refreshed. It means they will never become frustrated again in spiritual hunger and thirst. Have you not also felt frustrated and uncomfortable because your heart was in hunger and thirsty state?
For example, we can classify the righteous who have received the remission of sins into two groups: One group still seeks after the flesh even though the Spirit is in their hearts, while the other group follow after the Spirit and follow Him. We should know that spiritual hunger and thirst will surely come to us should we seek after the thoughts of the flesh. On the other hand, refreshing living water will always flow in the hearts of those who seek after the Spirit.
There has not been even one time since I have met the Lord that I have been in the midst of hunger and thirst. My wife cannot eat now because she had her appendix removed, but I am not very anxious or stuffy about that. Of course, there will be times when I fall into worries of the flesh, but since the Lord who has become our Shepherd; He will give us new strength and lead us onto the right path. I have the ability now to always control myself. “Am I going in the direction of my flesh, or am I going in the direction of the Spirit?” The Lord helps me to look at myself in this way, and because of this, He helps me clearly to put things in proper order.
In today’s Scripture passage, the Lord is speaking to us about those who will receive the remission of their sins and the Spirit by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He said that if we believe in Jesus who came to this earth, received baptism from John the Baptist, was crucified on the Cross, was resurrected from the dead and through this has saved us; and if we believe in Him as our Savior like this, the Spirit will come into our hearts. If the Holy Spirit comes to our hearts, we will no longer be in a state of hunger and thirst again. That is because refreshing rivers flow there. Beautiful plants grow on that wet lush ground where living water flow. This means that; this beautiful kind of works has its origin from there. We have already been changed into that way. It is not me alone, but you also who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have become that way too.
I really give thanks to God. I was hindered and persecuted a lot after meeting the Lord, but I know this was so to make me spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Even so, I am happy that I have made many good choices whenever my mind wavered. I wavered at first, but then I followed the will of the Lord because He wanting me to work for the gospel and I have followed His guidance in obedience and because of this, I have hastened to where I am now. I have accomplished it with you. Until the end, the Lord will be in my heart through the Holy Spirit, sends water flowing into my heart, and has me do spiritual works and think spiritual thoughts. Our Lord will do the same for you too. There are times when you lean over to the desires of the flesh, but if you realize that that path is not right, believe in the righteousness of the Lord in faith, and seek after the will that pleases Him and then rivers will always flow in your hearts.
But if you advocate your own will and act like you’re Mr. big stuff when it comes to things of the flesh, dry sand instead of living water will pour forth into your heart from that time forward. You will not be able to know how to be thankful for the blessings God has given you. Even though you have received the remission of sins, you cannot but think of yourself continuously.
The Lord gave us the remission of sins and also the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a free gift. That is why the Lord is always with us and present in our hearts. If we believe in and follow the Word of God, He always does works in our hearts. He lives there. He gives wisdom, has us speak right words, has us make good plans and leads us to the right path. He gives our predecessors in faith the strength to lead the Church, and bestows on each of you the grace that enables you to take care of the works you are entrusted with.
How many people do you know who correctly know these works of the Lord and experience them? How many Christians do you think have such correct faith? Let me tell you the truth, those who believe in Jesus, not even 0.1% have knowledge of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. To be more correct, it’s not even 0.001% as I speak. Many people say they believe in Jesus and that they follow Him, but there are not many who have really met with Him. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and enjoy this blessing are still small in number. That is why I always have a grateful heart that I have come into that kind of uncommon blessing.
We fall into thoughts of the flesh many times a day, but we must ventilate our hearts that are flowing in the wrong direction every time that happens. Like stale air in a house being forced out by a fan that has been turned on, we must frequently turn on the fans of our hearts. Even if we are soaked with thoughts of the flesh, if we ventilate our hearts, receive the Word of God in order to be filled with spiritual thoughts, and yearn to serve the will of our Lord, any stale air of thoughts of the flesh will be forced outside in no time.
Of course, nothing is ever totally resolved by changing the air only once. Even though you have changed the air in the morning, thoughts of the flesh enter again in an hour and your hearts become full again. Therefore, it is important to always open the door of your hearts and constantly change the air with spiritual thoughts. If you continue doing this, the river of the Spirit will always flow in your hearts, and you will be blessed in your bodies and spirit. Then you will live blessedly before God and you will stand before the Lord when He returns.