"In that 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, This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:37-39.
This book has been dedicated to the believers in hope that it shall prove helpful. It may carry in it a tone of finality, but it is far from being the last word on the subject. The writer has been motivated by a sincere desire to explore the Word of God; and to disclose the truth found therein. To discuss each fact fully is not possible in this small book. But to touch the truth revealed one may draw virtue from it like the helpless woman that touched the hem of His garment.
What fault appears in this work, charge to the account of the author; but give the Saviour the credit for all the fact.
The reader will find that the pattern followed in this work is that truth is a trinity. This is the pattern of the Word of God. If this pattern is followed in reading it will make the subject appear in a clearer light. This is a labor of love given to provoke serious consideration of the Living Water, which is the Spirit.
The Promise Revealed
"In that 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. This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:37-39.
The Scripture before us is in two sections; in the first, Jesus gives an invitation; and in the second, John gives the interpretation. In symbolic words Jesus speaks of "Living water;" and John said, "This spake He of the Spirit." It is quite evident that all spoken by the Saviour in this great invitation, relates to the glorious benefits and works of the Holy Ghost; and must be considered as an important part of the whole plan of redemption; because both the "Drink" and the "Rivers" are measured parts of the whole measure of "Living water."
This symbolism of the Saviour is an analogy drawn from the pouring out of the water before the altar; which was done on that last day, that great day of the feast. This water pointed to the Spirit given by the Saviour, Who is both the Source and Supply of the "Living water." To this abundant supply the thirsty souls are invited to come and partake. This is the Fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness. Jesus displaces ritualism with reality; He meets the longing with the liberality.
Careful consideration must be given to the two witnesses that speak: The Saviour and the Scripture unite in witnessing the truth announced. Jesus announces the figure; and John affirms the fact. In the mouth of these two witnesses shall every word be established. Since we are to hear the witnesses, let us fix in our minds that there are two or more witnesses that always enter into the case to affirm the truth. Jesus said,. "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." Mat. 18:20. Since this is always the pattern followed by the Word of God; allow me to urge the necessity of keeping this order in mind always. This is the key to unlock all truth. Let it be further noted that there is always an unseen witness; yet He is always there. "There am I in the MIDST of them." Returning to the truth of the "Living water" this order is clearly seen in the pattern of two witnesses seen, and the other unseen, Jesus yet there. Here it is in pattern: and The Spirit. John Or look at it this way; the Son, the Scripture, and the Spirit. Or see this way; the Provision in the Son; the Proof in Scripture; and the Promise of the Spirit. Here it is once more in this order! He was born, He bled, and He bestowed the Spirit.
Proceeding with this unity of the witness, which is a three in one, we shall consider the PROMISE REVEALED.
Before our minds lies a river; we behold it in figure spoken by the Saviour; and we see it affirmed in fact by John, who is the word of Scripture. But the unseen is the formula of the water in the RIVER.
After all, the figure, fact, and the formula are a three in one witness, forming the stream. But we do not yet see the formula, yet it is there; and the river cannot exist without it; but rather does exist because of it. Perhaps it is well to clarify this statement. Suppose we look at the first man that ever saw the Ohio river. It is the first river he ever saw. There lies the river in limpid loveliness. Its figure and fact are clearly seen; but not the formula; yet the formula is there; and has been from the beginning of the stream. A savage can see the shapely bends; he can see the moving current; he can see the moods and movements Of the stream; he can take a measure of its water, and finds it a means of life to himself and family. Yet the savage has never dreamed that there is hydrogen and oxygen in the formula that composes the water he so much needs. Perhaps the reader. will ask, What has this to do with the truth before us? It has every thing to do with this truth; and with any truth of Redemption. In fact nothing exists without a formula. The Eternal God has given us the formula of Salvation in the Promise of the Spirit. The Spirit is the "Living water;" He came from the Source in the Saviour. The Spirit is given in a "Drink" -- the first taste of the water of life from the Son. The Spirit is the Rivers promised in pouring plenitude. Yet the whole is a united three in one figure, fact and formula. Neither can exist without the other. A man as ignorant as a savage can behold its beauty; and partake of its blessing without ever knowing any thing about its basic elements. To this truth we have now arrived; namely, there is a Divine Formula by which He works. This shall now be the whole plan followed in this message of the Streams of the Spirit.
As we look at the River Revealed, we at once behold a three in one fact: The Measure, the movement, and the means, This is precisely the order the Saviour gave. The whole picture discloses this. Look at the ritual being performed by the priest on the last day, that great day of the feast. A measure of water is brought from the pool; there was movement in the act of bringing, and in the water they had in the container used to bring it; there was movement in the pouring, as the measure was emptied. The water was a means. It had meaning in its symbol; it was a means of life. Thus we see the measure, the movement, and the means.
Come now to the spiritual fact of the meaning of the "Living water." Jesus offers the measure in the drink and in the rivers. There was a movement necessary to get each measure from the Saviour; and then the water given is the means to meet the necessity. Let us now see the "One in the Midst" of the three witnesses. The ONE is the MERIT, the SON. He is the pool from whence the measured, moving, means was taken.
The whole benefit and blessing of the means, came from the Merits of the Saviour. This is what the Scripture said. "This Jesus hath God raised up whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having obtained of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." Acts 2:32-33. John witnesses to the truth, saying that the "Holy Ghost was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." This reveals the promise in the Merits of the Atonement. Jesus later stated that, "It is expedient" that, "I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him." John 16:7. Here Jesus places the Promise in His Provision. The Merit procured the means. In this fact the Merits are transferred to the means; the Spirit is to minister the Merits of the Cross in the ministry of the Comforter. Furthermore, there are two revealed witnesses that unite to produce the Merits: His Birth, and His blood. His cradle and His cross. Each has a distinctive fact in both time and place. He was cradled in a manger, but He was crucified on a mountain. No one can possibly get these two things mixed into one and the same thing. Yet both the birth and the blood unite in one to provide the Baptism of the Spirit. Since it is seen that there were birth pains at the manger; and blood pains on the mountain; then both are witnesses to the merits and means of the Promise revealed.
This leaves the formula clearly before us to apply. The measure and the movement unite to furnish the means, which contains the merits of the Saviour. Great is the mystery of God; yet here He stands revealed in the formula of a river. A measure, a movement, and a means.
The Measure revealed. The Saviour shows that there are two distinctive measures of the "Living water" bestowed; a drink, and the rivers. Likewise He shows that there are two periods of time; one is the present, and the other is in prospect. Also He shows that the present drink was bestowed in the Birth time of the Saviour; but the other was after He shed His blood on the cross. Hence redemption is not complete until both the birth of the Spirit and Baptism of the Spirit are accomplished facts. Since there were two parts of the work of the Saviour, His cradle, and His cross; so also are there are two parts and periods of the work of salvation; our spiritual birth; and the Spirit's Baptism. In the first we are children; in the second we are completed. In one we enter; in the other we are endowed. In the birth we are of the family; in the baptism we are filled. This is the measure received in the drink, and the rivers.
But what say the Scriptures about the drink being a present fact in realizing the measure of spiritual birth? We are shown that during the days of the Saviour on earth some persons were regenerated. They were born of God; and received pardon for their sins through Christ. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13. The word of prophecy concerning John Baptist witnessed to this, saying; "To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercies of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Lk. 1:77-78.
It is obvious that the drink offered by the Saviour to "any man" that thirsts, was offered in the present. To receive the drink of living water would make one a partaker of the life which was in the Son, from Whom this measure was received. It would be that well of water springing up unto everlasting life. But the promised rivers would be a measure of the same living water, derived from the same Source, yet given in degree far greater than a drink.
There is the measure of time that each has been received. Now time is both, in measure and movement, joined to arrive at the means. There was a time element of measure and movement to give the means in the drink. It required the time to move to the Saviour in obedience to His offer, "If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink." Unless the man moved to the point, the Source, he could not obtain the measured means. There is the time element in the Promise revealed about the rivers. This Promise must await the death of the Son. It was not yet possible because Jesus was not yet glorified. There could be no mistake about this time element being important. The movement of the Saviour from the day He was born on earth was toward the Cross. As he drew nearer the hour He felt it, and announced it to His followers. They had no clear conception of the great meaning of it; but they felt its mood in the movement of the Saviour. There must come from Him another cry; it was a cry that reached to the end of all time. "It is finished" was heard in the last breath of the bleeding Lamb. This was not the low crying of a babe in a manger; this was the "Loud voice" of the bleeding Lord. Even the voice had a measure and movement as the means were provided, whereby we are saved. The supreme measure had come to the supreme moment, both united to give mankind the saving merit, ministered by means of the Spirit.
Men have said much about following the Lord; and much needs to be said; and much needs to be done about it that has not been done. There has been too much following that is "afar off." How careful have some been to insist on the ordinances; yet many have never gotten out of the figure into the fact. Jesus was BORN; so must we be born of the Spirit. All the symbols on earth will never suffice for this fact. Jesus went to His cross to provide the Baptism of the Holy Ghost for the sons of God. All the figures of water baptism one may have will never suffice for the fact of the real Baptism of the Saviour. To fail to make the distinction in these two facts is t6 betray woeful ignorance of truth. The birth of Christ, and His blood on the Cross are two distinctive facts, taking place at two different periods of time. And both are united in one great Completed measure of Redemption The Perfect Saviour gave us the perfect Salvation, which salvation requires two measures of the Spirit to complete it in heart experience. The whole pattern of revealed Redemption is in the formula of measure, movement, to a means. God has declared this fact in all nature which is a revelation of the Creator. The Sun has its measure, and movement, united to bless us with the means of light and heat. No day would be complete without its morning, its noon, and its necessity. Jesus is the Day-star; the Day-sun, and the Day Supreme. Measure, movement, and means pile upon us in every blessing of nature.
Humanity comes within this cycle. What man would be a man if he were always a baby? Yet he must be born before he can become a man. There is measure in childhood; and there is movement toward manhood. But the measure of his usefulness is in his manhood; the place where childhood ends, and stature is completed. Children are not capable of production. Yet fruitfulness is the purpose of redemption. God has designed that we come to full age. This is the place of prime ability. Maturity begins at that point in spiritual stature. Here is where we reach the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph. 4:13. Jesus increased in wisdom and stature before his baptism. This ritual was a sign that He was ready to start His task. Little is known of the childhood of Jesus but much is known of His full stature. He did not take the cross when a lad. No other child of God takes the cross when a child. The cross belongs to men, not babies. Pentecost was the baptism on the cross level. Take your cross, and go up the hill and die, that you may enter redemption in the risen life. That is not in any sense a growth. One does not grow to the cross; one goes to it. The Gift of the Spirit is provided there where Jesus was glorified. No one grows into a baptism. This is where the purging of self takes place, so that more fruit can be produced.
The measure of the promise received is conditional. That condition is the faith of those who have the right to the gifts of the Spirit. We have seen the first gift in the measure of the drink. This is birth. The rivers are the promised baptism, given to them that believe on Him. Faith is the measure, and moving means to procure the blessing. "According to faith" is the measure the Lord offers. A little faith receives only a little. A "so great" faith receives great things. One who has no faith cannot enter into His rest.
Faith in its measure, and movement, and means is a unit. "We all come in the unity of the faith" if we ever secure anything from God. Let us look now at the measure, moving, means of faith in the proffered drink of the "Living water." Since both measure and movement cannot be separated we must watch both operate to secure the means. "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." Here is a desire, and a disclosure, and the drink. "Let him come unto me." Here is a movement toward the Saviour Who offers the drink.
Now the disclosure is the revelation of the "Living water" proffered. No one can, or will come to Jesus, until He is revealed. How would a thirsty soul ever know where the water of life was unless it was revealed in the Saviour? Thus faith must have a measure of revelation. Next there must be a measure of desire: a thirst must be the measure of our faith that moves. We do move according to the measure of desire. It was the measure of desire that drove the prodigal home. It was the measure of desire that sent the company to the upper room. It was the measure of desire that made the son ask bread. It is the urge of necessity; the cry of life. "I perish, while there is plenty in the Father's house;" "I will arise and go." If you carried this into the measure of Redemption; you will find that it was God's desire that moved Him to provide salvation. He so loved the world that He gave us the Only Begotten Son. This measure, and moving de sire is eternal and earthly. The thirsty man is moved to the Saviour disclosed in the mood of giving the living water.
The distance is covered, and the drink is given. How does one drink? It cannot be defined, but it can be done. To drink one does not need much effort, only yield to the water; yet there is effort, but not great effort. There is a point where we come in faith that all effort is only gentle yielding to the God that gives. Some how the heart answers and the means is awarded as perfectly as taking a drink.
This faith works in this order to receive the promised rivers. There is a thirst for a full measure of the Spirit. To this desire the Saviour makes a disclosure in the promise that "He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." From where one is when the promise is revealed in measure, there must be a movement to it. The means will not be given so long as there is no movement to the measure. Admiration is not enough, there must be advancement; and advancement must end in an achievement of satisfaction in the fullness of rivers. The company of believers were in the appointed place to receive the promised Spirit. If they had not gone up, the gift would not have come down. God came to the under room and was born; but He only comes to the upper room in baptism. You are a sinner on the earth level; but you are a son on the eligible level to receive the baptism of the Spirit. In your birth you came to the cradle level; but in your baptism, you come to the cross level. There were many more believers in Christ than the number in the upper room; but not one was filled; only those in the upper room. If the others were ever filled it was not at the time of Pentecost when the Spirit was out-poured.
They missed the blessing by not being there. The whole city might have been full of believers at the ground level; but only those at the Gift level of faith received the fullness of the Spirit. If we should ask the ground level group if they had received the Holy Ghost when they first believed; not one would say he did. Yet all had a right to the promise; but were not in the measure and moving of faith to have it fulfilled. This distinction was not dispensational. That is, the group in the upper room were not in one dispensation, while the others were in another. It is often said by some who deny this second work of grace that before Pentecost there was a distinction made between birth and baptism of the Spirit; but that after the Spirit came at the Day of Pentecost, then all persons are born and baptized at the same time. This is so obviously an error that it only betrays the confusion of mind the person in error has. Never can any one reason that a birth and a baptism are one and the same thing. Never can one reason logically and Scripturally that any one in that Company at Pentecost was born and baptized at the same spiritual operation. What took place in that glorious Visitation and Victory of the Abiding Comforter, will be discussed in a following chapter; it is far more than a birth.
There is that normal desire of the child of God for the fullness of the Father's gift. This is what Jesus disclosed when He spoke of the son that asks for bread. The son was a living member of the Father's family; and the rights of his sonship were being exercised in the asking for bread. The Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to a hungry son. The measure and moving hunger of a child of the Heavenly Father will be met by the satisfying Gift of God.
The thirst for the Streams will move us to the place where they will meet the thirsty heart. A drink is not enough; we want a river; yea we want rivers. The measure of our faith is met by the measure of the fullness. They heard the sound of His coming like the sound of a rushing mighty wind; the sound filled all the house; but the Spirit filled all the hearts. This was more than a drink; it approached a deluge in its proportions. God emptied Himself upon them in Streams of the Spirit. The heart became the habitation of God through the Spirit; their earthen vessels were filled with the measure of eternal vastness.
For this there is no substitute; without Him there is no satisfaction. The world must perish in its sin, while the church is impotent to help. Unless the revealed promise becomes a realized possession; unless the measure and movement of our faith secures for us the means, we shall perish on the dry plains of a dead earth. It is the fullness or failure; either a Divine Indwelling; or a disastrous defeat. We see how the Lord lifted up the promise in His preaching. It was the subject of His parting words before the Ascension. The promise persuades us with its prospects; it attracts us with its abundance. It is compelling, and convincing in its import. Its glories greet the gaze like the heights above the horizon. The Spirit is the Enabling Comforter from the Eternal Christ. He is the authorized Revelator of the abundant resources. He is the appointed Messenger of the Atoning Merits; and the abiding gift of the Almighty God. In the Holy Ghost we find the two immutable things which confirm our eternal hope. In Him we have the measure and moving, means of the Eternal Redemption. Through the human channel the Spirit shall enforce the convicting reproof of the World. He shall enlighten the minds of the children of God in the revealed Word. He shall guide us, and through us glorify the Christ.