John 7:37-38 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. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’
This passage, regarding the life of the Spirit flowing from within the believer, is of the utmost importance to us. It’s common to see people praying for others with one hand in the air and the other hand on the person receiving prayer. It almost seems as if they are waiting for God to touch them from above and then carry the ‘current’ of heavenly power through their bodies to ‘zap’ the person they’re praying for. The Lord surely understands humanity and our attempt to help others through prayer, but at the root of this ideal is something much bigger and it has to do with theology and practice. Because what we believe affects what we do, it’s important to have right understanding so that we can have right actions.
The extra biblical Theology behind this idea says we have to wait for God to touch us before we release His power through us into the lives of others. Though God does touch us externally with His presence and power, this isn’t His preferred way to work through His redeemed creation. He longs to be released through the life of believers because He’s already residing internally. With this theology we end up with a practice where we neglect the Holy Spirit who’s fully alive, already living within us and ready to move at the sound of our voice. The extra biblical theology says we have to wait to be touched externally and the poor practice that’s established is that we don’t build an ongoing dialog and vibrant with the Holy Spirit who lives within us. What I am getting at is the root of this passage in John 7:37.
The word heart that Jesus uses here, is actually the word for our innermost man; that place where the Holy Spirit dwells. The King James uses the word belly. The Heart and the place (innermost man) of the Holy Spirit are often used interchangeably in the Bible, specifically in the New Testament. What this means is that Jesus has taken up residence within the human frame at Salvation. Jesus is telling us that if anyone is thirsty, they can come to Him and drink, and from their relationship with Him rivers of living water will now flow from their life.
It’s not that the Holy Spirit is flowing from my heart disconnected from Jesus, but from the place where He now indwells through the Person of the Holy Spirit. The idea is that now that I have given my life to Jesus, I don’t have to wait for God to zap me from heaven so I can pray for people and release His power; I have already been given it. It’s not that I am waiting for God to come; it’s that God is waiting for me to release His power through my proclamation of faith that He is already in me and longs to show Himself through me.
Our Theology is corrected when we understand that God already lives in us. Our Christian practice changes when we start releasing Him who is in us; not waiting for an ‘abstract force’ to come into the room and endue us, so that we can pray for others. We simply must give what we have, which is God dwelling in our hearts, by faith and through the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, I thank You that You already live in me and are helping me in ways that I will never fully understand in this age. Thank You for Your reality in me right now. I make a decision to believe in faith that You are longing to be released through me, by my faith in You. Would you help me to be ready in season and out of season, to share Your life with others as I come in contact with them? I won’t wait anymore for You to come, but I will step out in faith knowing that You are already here; I will allow those rivers of living water to flow from me. Just like Peter, I will say “such as I have, I give”, in Jesus name.