Today’s Scripture Focus: John 7:37-39
“Whoever is praying for rain—please stop!” We are going through a time in our area where it seems it will never stop raining. This, of course, is following a period of great drought in North Texas, when it seemed the rains would never start. One thing about this part of the country—whatever weather we get, we get several years’ worth at once. In some parts of the world, “rain” is an actual season of the year. This is true in Israel, when the rains come in the spring and in the fall. If the rains don’t come in their due season, it can have severe consequences. Feast of Tabernacles was held each year before the fall rains. It was a time to pray for water.
Remember that John is the “feast” Gospel. In John 7, we find Jesus in Jerusalem for Feast of Tabernacles. This marked the new year, and it celebrated the olive harvest. Water played a big part in the ceremonies, as it was poured out in front of the people. Jesus made another appearance at the Temple half way through the festival. The Temple area had so far been a place of controversy for Jesus. It was here he had driven the sellers out of the courts (John 2), and had healed a man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5). The crowds had been debating about Him before He arrived, and as He began to teach, the tension increased.
What the people couldn’t understand was how a Galilean peasant could have such learning and do such wonders. Could He be the messiah? Or was He possessed by demons? Those were the only two explanations as to how someone like Jesus could say the things He said and do the things He did. Meeting every challenge the crowd threw at Him, Jesus spoke to their need. They came to the festival to pray for rain, but if they really needed water, they should come to Jesus and drink, then living water would flow from their hearts. Knowing they could not trip Jesus up, they attempted to arrest Him, but they couldn’t touch Him…yet.
On Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the fulfillment of Jesus’ John 7 sermon. One or two years later at another Jewish feast—Pentecost—Jews from all over the known world were gathering back at the Temple when God’s Spirit filled Jesus’ followers. The living water Jesus had promised was the Holy Spirit. The disciples that day were able to witness to the new birth, and revival broke out as 3,000 came to faith in Jesus in one day. That same Spirit is available to us today. Does your spiritual thirst need quenching today? If you ask in faith, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit’s “living water”, and leave quenched, refreshed, and revived.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Have someone read John 7: 1-13. Why do you think Jesus told his brothers He wasn’t going to the festival, then went in secret?
We often hear the Holy Spirit compared to fire and wind, but here Jesus speaks of the Spirit as water. How is the Holy Spirt like fire? Wind? Water?
When you pray this week, ask God to send refreshing, reviving quenching Living Water to your heart, to our church, and to our community. Yes—pray for spiritual rain!