Video of the Divine Service here.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
On the last and great day of the feast, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me; and let the believing one come to Me and drink. Because, as the Scripture says, ‘Out of His belly rivers of living water will flow.’” Out of whose belly? Out of the believer’s? No. Because Jesus, John tells us, was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who was about to be given to the believers, but He had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. The believers are the ones who will be given the Holy Spirit. The believers are the ones who come to Jesus and drink. They are the thirsty ones, whose thirst will be satisfied.
How do I know—in spite of our English translations—that Jesus is speaking of Himself when He says that rivers of living water will flow from His belly? Because there is another great Sabbath day coming in the Gospel of John. Prior to that great, important, significant day—like this great, important, significant day of the feast—the leaders of the Jews did not want crucified men hanging on their crosses and dying. So they asked Pilate to get rid of the bodies. The soldiers, in order to hasten death, break the legs of the one and then they break the legs of the other. But when they come to Jesus, they see that He is already dead. So they don’t break His legs; as the Scriptures say, Not one of His bones will be broken. Instead, a soldier pierces His side with a spear and—John tells us—immediately, blood and water flowed forth. He says, I saw it, and I bear witness to it, so that you may believe. So that you may believe, and come to Him and drink. From His side—from His belly—flow rivers of living water.
Download or listen to The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, “Real Hope” (Romans 8:18-27)