Out Of Him Shall Flow Rivers

Brian Kuehmichel
December 3, 2013

"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 believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:37-38

Where in the Old Testament is this scripture to which Jesus refers?

By taking a look at some other other translations and considering their input this passage can be sorted out quite well.

Making these adjustments the two verses put together would read:

"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and he that believeth on me, let him drink. As the scripture hath said: Out of him shall flow rivers of living water."

This makes more sense out of Jesus' message and is consistent with other passages where He invites all men to come unto Him to believe in Him and obtain eternal life through Him.

"Out of his belly" - does it refer to the believer or to the Messiah?

To whom then does "out of his belly shall flow" or the better form "out of him shall flow" refer? Should it refer to the believer or to the Messiah? Certainly the above quoted verses would explain that it comes from Jesus the Christ who gives life to every one who believes. Most commentators apply "out of him" to the believer but we should carefully note the next verse, John 7:39, which says, "(But this spake 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.)" Certainly Apostle John was guided to include this explanation because he knew of the philosophies which emphasised man's attainment that competed with the Gospel message of God's free gift of salvation to man.

Now that we know that the correct translation is "As the scripture hath said: Out of him shall flow rivers of living water" we can see that the "him" refered to is not the believer. The source of this 'water of life' must come from the giver and not proceed from the receiver. For the Messiah is now and will ever continue to be the source of all spiritual blessing "as the scripture hath said" in the Old Testament. Here are some of the many places: Isa. 32:2; 55:1, 4; 58:11; Jer 17:13; Zech. 12:10; 13:1; 14:8. Then compare the Old Testament to the verses in John 4:10-14 and Rev. 7:17; 22:1.

A graphic portrayal of the Messiah as the source of living water is given in the account in Exodus 17:1-7. This was applied to Jesus Christ for us by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Then we note that Ezekiel 47:1-12 promises a growing river proceeding from the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem "and every thing shall live whither the river cometh." When this river comes to bless all mankind the scripture in Revelation 22:1-6 will be fulfilled. This is the time when the chaste virgin church joined as a bride to Christ in heaven will issue this invitation: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Likewise the prophecy in Isaiah 55:1 will be fulfilled which says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."

Jesus promised that "whosoever drinketh 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." (John 4:14; Song of Solomon 4:12) But it is the Spirit that wells up 'in him' (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18; Eph 5:18; Col 1:9) prompting believers to be "witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Then others also believe, have a new life and do the same that even more may no longer 'thirst.' (Psalm 42:2; 63:1-2; 143:6)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.