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  ‘Still Waters’ John 7:28-44: “Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!” (v37)

We move on now from green pastures of good foliage in our last sermon to consider the next phrase that occurs in ‘David’s hymn of praise to divine diligence’ – ‘He leads me beside still waters’. One cannot help but notice how the varied needs of the sheep and the many-sided care of the shepherd are pictured with consummate skill in the short sentences of this Psalm. That is why whenever you read God’s Word either in the Scripture or the Gospel; try to have a deep insight as to the import of what is being talked about concerning life and living life! When I was searching this theme, I came across a small booklet which was sent to me by a friend several years ago, entitled The Song of the Syrian Guest. It is a brief analysis of Psalm 23 from the viewpoint of a Syrian shepherd, and in it he makes this illuminating comment: ‘So many things familiar to us are strange to you who come from the West. This is exactly the problem with us over here because we are not familiar with many of the scene and even the settings that are found in the Scripture and in the Gospel. When you read the words, “He leads me beside still waters”, you begin to think of quietly flowing streams, but streams are few and far between in the Middle East and the shepherds do not rely upon them. Also sheep are often afraid of fast-running water: they will drink only from a quiet pool. The “still waters” are the wells and cisterns, and the shepherd leads his sheep to these still waters so that he may draw water and quench their thirst. Did you hear that, when this Psalm talked of still waters people’s minds often go to running streams which is far from the idea because in the areas in focus, streams are rear to come by so what the Psalmist had in mind is the man-made water wells and cisterns, the type that father Abraham dug in those days and the most interesting thing here to capture is the dutifulness of the shepherd to busy himself drawing water into troughs for his sheep to drink. If you are not a dedicated caring person, you cannot do this on a daily basis! So to be a good shepherd or servant requires many good traits and attributes as a blessing and gift of God right from your mother’s womb. The lacks of these in people found in God’s vine yards today is the reason why you see acclaimed shepherds and servants today everywhere yet the sheep of God are in abject lack and are not cared for neither are they in good condition of health and the Scripture added that they are wallowing in the dark whereas the God of light is their heavenly Father! What a condition that is too regrettable and unfortunate to have. God help us. What a deeply impressive and suggestive illustration this is of the way in which the divine Shepherd leads us day by day to the quiet waters of spiritual refreshment. Before you begin this day, pause for a moment, close your eyes if possible and consider again the passage you have just read. Allow the Good Shepherd to prepare you for the day that lies ahead, to satisfy your spiritual thirst, and refresh, and refresh your soul with His eternal Word because it is only in Him now that we trust because virtually all our earthly shepherds have failed or abandon or mislead us.

  Streams of Living Water, John 7:28-44:

Now let us read John 7:28-44; 28 Whereupon Jesus called out as He taught in the temple [[c]porches], Do you know Me, and do you know where I am from? I have not come on My own authority and of My own accord and as self-appointed, but the One Who sent Me is true (real, genuine, steadfast); and Him you do not know! 29 I know Him [Myself] because I come from His [very] presence, and it was He [personally] Who sent Me. 30 Therefore they were eager to arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, for His hour (time) had not yet come. 31 And besides, many of the multitude believed in Him [adhered to Him, trusted in Him, relied on Him]. And they kept saying, When the Christ comes, will He do [can He be expected to do] more miracles and produce more proofs and signs than what this Man has done? 32 The Pharisees learned how the people were saying these things about Him under their breath; and the chief priests and Pharisees sent attendants (guards) to arrest Him. 33 Therefore Jesus said, For a little while I am [still] with you, and then I go back to Him Who sent Me. 34 You will look for Me, but you will not [be able to] find Me; where I am, you cannot come. 35 Then the Jews said among themselves, Where does this Man intend to go that we shall not find Him? Will He go to the Jews who are scattered in the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What does this statement of His mean, You will look for Me and not be able to find Me, and, Where I am, you cannot come? 37 Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 38 He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water. 39 But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed (trusted, had faith) in Him were afterward to receive. For the [Holy] Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (raised to honor). 40 Listening to those words, some of the multitude said, This is certainly and beyond doubt the Prophet! 41 Others said, This is the Christ (the Messiah, Anointed One)! But some said, What? Does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Does not the Scripture tell us that the Christ will come from the offspring of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? 43 So there arose a division and dissension among the people concerning Him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one [ventured and] laid hands on Him.

  Introduction:

This becomes a big lesson for all of us in this generation of the second coming. From this short passage of John, we now know that notwithstanding the confusion of the people in recognizing Him in the first advent, there were enough pointer for them to have recognized Him but today in this era of the second coming what are our pointers as guide to recognize the Lord of the second advent? Let’s open our Bibles to John 7. As we come back to the seventh chapter, it is autumn. The harvest is past. The leaves around the trees of Jerusalem are golden and the entire Jewish population is travelling to Jerusalem to celebrate one of their festivals – The Feast of Tabernacles. In this feast, they remembered their wilderness wandering and staying in tents for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. The city of Jerusalem was teaming with tens of thousands of Jews from near and the rest of the world who came for the feast. All of them were pretty much gathered in the Herodian temple. Know that the Herodian Temple was the centre of Israelite life. The focus of religious ritual and repository of the Holy Scriptures and other national literature and the meeting place of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of Jewish law during the Roman period. The temple yard is massively packed, people pushing together, as all the activities of that celebratory event were going on. In the mid of that week, Lord Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, waiting until then because He wanted to delay His coming to avoid the intention of the leaders who sought to kill Him. And upon arrival there, He went immediately to the temple and began teaching. There is a general trend of rejection to Lord Jesus which is escalating now. That was the trend right from His birth. That’s the story of Lord Jesus. He came. He was rejected. He was crucified. We’re seeing the progression of that rejection in the Bible and even today in the world. What’s fascinating about Lord Jesus declaration in 7:37 is that the water streams up from within. His promised solution to thirst is not a ready supply outside of the person, but rather a spring that wells up from within the person; and the question is how does one live his or her life in other to qualify for this spring of waters to spring up from within you? This is similar to what He promised the woman at the well in 4:14, that “the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” God the Holy Spirit is never far from us. When we pray for His strength, filling and guidance, we are not trying to conjure the presence and power of a far-off, outside force. The Holy Spirit has been given us, and dwells within us. As Paul says, we are temples of the Holy Spirit. His strength, guidance, and love accompany us at all times. All that is required is for us to meet with the conditions for the Holy Spirit indwelling us: believe, live right, develop a good character and attitude with a right behavioral pattern and good life style! I find this very comforting and assuring. What a testament of the love our God has for us! What blessing we have with us and available to us in all circumstances! So my prayer today is one of thanks to the Holy Spirit for His presence, guidance and strength, along with a prayer that today I would be led by the Spirit in all things. What is the Word leading you to pray about today?

  1. REJECTION OF LORD JESUS:

1. Rejected by the world; John 1:10-11; “10 He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him]. 11 He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own—His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.” 2. Rejected by the disciples; John 6:66; “66After this, many of His disciples drew back (returned to their old associations) and no longer accompanied Him.” 3. Rejected by His family; John 7:5, “For [even] His brothers did not believe in or adhere to or trust in or rely on Him either.” 4. Rejected by the leaders of Israel; John 7:1, “After this, Jesus went from place to place in Galilee, for He would not travel in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.” 5. Rejected by the people; John 7:20, “20The crowd answered Him, You are possessed by a demon! [You are raving!] Who seeks to kill You?” Everyone rejected Him. Lord Jesus had and has only a small number of followers. Only a small group of people walk through the narrow gate. But those who receive Him, He gives life, abundant life and eternal life. In fact, when it was all over with, there were only 120 on the day of Pentecost, so it’s a story of progressive rejection of the most wonderful person that ever walked this earth. My question is has the number increased since till today? From here on, He spends the last six months of His ministry walking in the shadow of the cross. All of them will converge at the end and cry for His blood and His execution by crucifixion. Now, look at John 7:25-34; “25 Then some of the Jerusalem people said, Is not this the Man they seek to kill? 26 And here He is speaking openly, and they say nothing to Him! Can it be possible that the rulers have discovered and know that this is truly the Christ? 27 No, we know where this Man comes from; when the Christ arrives, no one is to know from what place He comes. 28 Whereupon Jesus called out as He taught in the temple [[c]porches], Do you know Me, and do you know where I am from? I have not come on My own authority and of My own accord and as self-appointed, but the One Who sent Me is true (real, genuine, steadfast); and Him you do not know! 29 I know Him [Myself] because I come from His [very] presence, and it was He [personally] Who sent Me. 30 Therefore they were eager to arrest Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, for His hour (time) had not yet come. 31 And besides, many of the multitude believed in Him [adhered to Him, trusted in Him, relied on Him]. And they kept saying, When the Christ comes, will He do [can He be expected to do] more miracles and produce more proofs and signs than what this Man has done? 32 The Pharisees learned how the people were saying these things about Him under their breath; and the chief priests and Pharisees sent attendants (guards) to arrest Him. 33 Therefore Jesus said, For a little while I am [still] with you, and then I go back to Him Who sent Me. 34 You will look for Me, but you will not [be able to] find Me; where I am, you cannot come. You will look for Me, but you will not find Me and where I am, you cannot come. What does this statement mean? That means that there will come a time in some people’s life where how much ever they will seek God they will not find God. There are repeated warnings all through the Old Testament and the New about waiting too long and you discover that it is too late. Love of virtually everything in the world is too dangerous because that is part of what will make one not to be able to know where the Lord God is. Let us be very careful how we live life amid worldly attractions and excitements! Are you so interested in the things of the world, do you feel that you don’t belong when you are not doing things the worldly way? Just know that worldliness might mislead and ruin you! So seek the Lord God Almighty, His Word will lead and guide you! Genesis 6:3; “3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit will not contend with humans forever.” God will give chance to man but it is possible for many to delay and seek too late, to seek at a time when the Lord will not hear.” Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:6; “6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near.” It can happen by the way of death. Always remember and know that without Lord Jesus anyone who dies goes directly to hell. Hell is the eternal suffering place for sin; a place of resentment, bitterness, eternal regret without remedy, and remorse without hope. There is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in the tormenting darkness of hell. You will seek Me. What a horrible reality. But you will not find Me. Hell is not where Christ is forgotten. It is where He is unavailable. He is only available in Paradise; the place of promise just like the Promised Land. Another time where you will not find Lord Jesus is on the coming of the Lord assuming you failed to meet the condition of seeking Him now. When Lord Jesus comes to take His elect and if we are not true believers then there is no point of seeking Lord Jesus because by that time it might be late. Yes, you can be saved then but you will have to undergo tribulation because you sought Lord Jesus late in life. Do you see the many possibilities if we fail to seek Lord Jesus now! Common conception of God is basically good, and everybody who is good is going to go to heaven. That’s how people think. But Lord Jesus says, “You will seek Me and you will not find Me, and where I am, you cannot come.” Heaven is not for everybody! Goodness and righteousness is not even the major yardstick rather Seeking Lord Jesus is the Major Yardstick! So this is a warning passage, and I want you to just mark it in your mind that the statement is made to two groups of people. One is made to the people in general and one is made to the Jewish leaders. You may come to Church, you may be a minister of God or you may be just in the crowd but the only quality to go to heaven is for the ones who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and continue to be a disciple of Lord Jesus Christ, and have a relationship with Lord Jesus Christ. All others are given the same sentence, hell. We are going to look into this passage and see the people, Jewish leaders, and Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that as you read the line above, what came to mind in this time of the Lord of the second advent is: the people, our leaders and politicians and each and every one of our relationship with the Lord of the second coming. 2. THE CONFUSED CROWD: The people here in the first advent are confused. John 7:25, “25 Then some of the Jerusalem people said, Is not this the Man they seek to kill?” now hearing this, who knows what we are going to do to the Lord of the second coming; the Lord Himself have doubted if He can find faith when He comes! Now listen to: John 7:19-20; “19 Did not Moses give you the Law? And yet not one of you keeps the Law. [If that is the truth] why do you seek to kill Me [for not keeping it]? 20 The crowd answered Him, You are possessed by a demon! [You are raving!] Who seeks to kill You? When you compare these verses the people are really confused. Why? Because He’s in the temple now. The people know that the leaders want Him dead and here He is yet they cannot hold nor arrest Him. John 7:1, “After this, Jesus went from place to place in Galilee, for He would not travel in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.” The leaders were seeking to kill Him. And they’re letting Him teach, and nobody is stopping Him. They know how the rulers feel, and they’re confused as to why they don’t stop His teaching, why they don’t seize Him and execute Him if that’s what they want. It’s their space. It’s their temple. It’s their territory. They’re in charge.” Now the rulers don’t say anything, but they know this is the man they’re seeking to kill. Look at John 7:26, “Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. They’re not stopping Him. They’re just letting Him go on about the claims that he is the Messiah. They are confused John 7:26b Have the authorities really concluded that He is the Messiah? Oh! Maybe the rulers have realized and concluded that Lord Jesus is the Messiah. John 7:31, “31 And besides, many of the multitude believed in Him [adhered to Him, trusted in Him, relied on Him]. And they kept saying, When the Christ comes, will He do [can He be expected to do] more miracles and produce more proofs and signs than what this Man has done?” See the confusion of the crowd – Sometimes they believe He is the Messiah, sometimes they say He is demon possessed. Sometimes they sing the tune of the leaders. If they want Him dead, why aren’t they stopping Him? Have they really concluded Lord Jesus is the Messiah? Now looking at the signs, we think He is the Messiah? But again they are confused. In Luke 7:26-27 we know that it is said John the Baptist will come first and we are told this is He Jesus of whom John prepares a way for, yet we have not seen John and here He comes! But again we know where this man is from; and we are told when the Messiah comes, no one will know where He is from. However, on the other hand, we know where this man Lord Jesus is from. We know the story of Joseph and Mary. He is the carpenter’s son. He cannot be the Messiah. John 6:42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” They were really confused: John 7:40-43, “40 Listening to those words, some of the multitude said, This is certainly and beyond doubt the Prophet! 41 Others said, This is the Christ (the Messiah, Anointed One)! But some said, What? Does the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Does not the Scripture tell us that the Christ will come from the offspring of David and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? 43 So there arose a division and dissension among the people concerning Him.” Let us pray that we are not again faced with this same confusion in recognizing the Lord of the Second Advent since the Lord Himself has asked if He will find faith on earth when He comes? Let us not make the same mistake the people of old made which led to His being killed, let us not kill Him again! Let us seek to know Him Lord Jesus so that God’s aim for creating the heavens and the earth will be realized through the restoration work of God that is ongoing. Knowing and recognizing who He is, is very important! John 7:28-29, “28 Whereupon Jesus called out as He taught in the temple [[c]porches], Do you know Me, and do you know where I am from? I have not come on My own authority and of My own accord and as self-appointed, but the One Who sent Me is true (real, genuine, steadfast); and Him you do not know! 29 I know Him [Myself] because I come from His [very] presence, and it was He [personally] Who sent Me.” Lord Jesus cried out in the temple. Four times in the New Testament, it says that Lord Jesus cried. Here it is with pain yelling at the top of His voice. So Lord Jesus yells so everyone can hear, at top of His voice, teaching and saying, “Oh, yes, you know the family in Nazareth, the town of Nazareth, but you don’t know Me. You know nothing. I have not come of myself. I’m not the product of the family or the town of Nazareth. You may know that I’m from Galilee. You may know that I lived in the town of Nazareth. You may have heard my words, but you have no idea who I am. You have no idea where I came from and who sent me.” You do not know Me or My Father. Then they said to Him, Where is this Father of yours? Lord Jesus answered, You know My Father as little as you know Me. If you knew Me, you would know My Father also. John 8:19. Lord Jesus is talking to the people in the temple who have come to celebrate the festival that they claim to know God but they really do not know God. The real problem is given in John 8:43-44, 43 Why do you misunderstand what I say? It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. [You cannot bear to listen to My message; your ears are shut to My teaching.] 44 You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false. Let me tell you, knowing a few details about Lord Jesus, external things about Lord Jesus is to know nothing about Him. To know a little bit about His history, to know some Bible stories that you may have heard is to know nothing about Him. Such people who say who knows Lord Jesus and has no relationship with Him is a horrible position to be in because there will come a time when you’ll seek to know Him, and He will not be available. There will come a time when He will be shutting you out of heaven forever. Confusion is not the place to be. Learn about Lord Jesus from the Word of God. Read His word. Trust Him, believe Him, rely on Him, have a personal relationship with Him, let Him live in you!

  3. THE HYPOCRITICAL RULERS:

Now the people are confused and the rulers now know the people are expecting them to act, go arrest and kill Lord Jesus. The rulers are trying to do that in John 5:18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill Him. They wanted to kill Lord Jesus in John 7:1 The Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill Him. The leaders wanted to kill Lord Jesus and finally they finally step into the scene. They want to seize Him but no man lays hands on Him. Nobody touches Him. Why? John 7:30 At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. The reason no man laid hands on Him to arrest Him was because His hour hadn’t come. Lord Jesus was in control even over His enemies. They couldn’t act because they were under divine control. The invisible hand of God controls everything that happens in the universe. Everything happens according to His purpose and plan and timing. Not a hair of His head could be touched without divine permission because God is in control of absolutely everything. We who are God’s children, even our times are in His hands. No one can touch us. We have divine protection. Do not worry no enemy is going to touch you. God is in control over you. Isaiah 54:17 No weapon forged against you will prevail. Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us? Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Now the leaders they are really concerned now because the crowd is starting to buy into the fact that He might actually be the Messiah. John 7:26 Have the authorities really concluded that He is the Christ? John 7:31 Still, many in the crowd put their faith in Him. John 7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about Him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest Him. Even they could not arrest Jesus. They went back empty-handed. John 7:45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring Him in?” John 7:46-47 46“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. 47“You mean He has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. What did Lord Jesus speak that the guards got scared? John 7:33-34 33Jesus said, “I am with you only for a short time, and then I go back to the one who sent me, 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” Lord Jesus speaks to everyone here. He speaks to the officers who came to arrest Him, to the leaders, and just generally to the people. John 7:33-34 33 Therefore Jesus said, For a little while I am [still] with you, and then I go back to Him Who sent Me. 34 You will look for Me, but you will not [be able to] find Me; where I am, you cannot come.” This is sad. Lord Jesus said, “It’s going to be over. I’m going to be out of your life. In a short time you’re not going to have to deal with me at all.” Now the question to an open minded person is, if we are not going to have to deal with the Lord at all, then who will we be dealing with? Let us always try not to lose the chance and opportunity to keep dealing with our Lord Jesus like the hypocrites because dealing with Him, there lie our peace. 4. THE SAVIOR’S EXCLUSION: Lord Jesus said, “You have not received me, I am going to go. I’m going back to the one who sent me. You don’t have to deal with me much longer. But the exact said thing is: John 7:34 “34 You will look for Me, but you will not [be able to] find Me; where I am, you cannot come.” Lord Jesus died and after three days, rose again and went to God the Father. Forty years later, Romans came and attacked the city. Thousands of Jews were massacred. I wonder if the ones who were still alive then remembered that He said that, that day, and added that they will seek Him and couldn’t find Him. This passage is true for everyone who rejects Lord Jesus: The crowd who is confused about the one true God. The believers who know Him but reject Lord Jesus in their behavior and lifestyle; do you know that this group of people is more in number. And every force mocking Christianity and attacking believers and Churches. Where is that place these people will go where they will look for Lord Jesus and not find Him? It is hell. John 7:34 34 You will look for Me, but you will not [be able to] find Me; where I am, you cannot come.” Lord Jesus said, “I’m going to my Father. I am going to heaven. You will never go to heaven.” Heaven is not for everybody. Heaven is for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and no one else.” These words are not to make you fear but to make you be realistic in life and know the wrong and the right base on God’s Word. John 7:37-38 37 Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 38 He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.” Look at John 8:21 Once more Lord Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” You die in your sins; you go to hell, shut out of heaven forever because you do not believe in Me. This is illustrated in Matthew 25 in the parable of the virgins. Remember that? All depicted as religious people, there for the great event of the coming of the bridegroom and the great wedding. There were some of the virgins who didn’t have the oil. They had all the religious accoutrements (the equipment needed for a particular activity or way of life). They had all the moral values. But they didn’t have life from God. And when the bridegroom came, the door was shut, and they were shut out forever. So the warning of our Lord here is a clear warning. Everyone is going to come to a point in your life when you’re going to seek Me, and you’re never going to find Me. Isaiah 55:6 “6 Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near.” Is the biggest advice to all people! But worldliness is always there to confuse and distract us from facing reality. God help us!
My Lord and My Divine Shepherd, help me to drink this moment from the clean and clear springs of Your eternal Word so that the world will be astonished at my peace and calm. In Your name Lord Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!