37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
“On the seventh day, the priest would climb the altar steps and pour the water onto the altar while the crowd circled him and continued to sing. On the seventh day of the festival, this procession took place seven times. Judaism saw this water ceremony on multiple levels . . . Needed rainfall and water ceremonies lead to memories of miraculous desert water, water given from heaven, which concludes with Jesus’ offering himself as the source of the water of life.”
• Notice that the invitation is to anyone who is thirsty. In what ways does “thirst[y]” describe the heart of a person who is sincerely grappling with the human condition? What kinds of people do not “thirst”?
• Though there was lively discussion about the identity of Jesus, with some people hitting upon exactly the right answer (v. 41), what was ultimately missing in the people’s response? What does this show about the limitation of discussions?
• What is remarkable about the guards’ response, given their station in life and what they were told to do? Are there ways in which I blindly act out of my assigned role rather than think for myself, discern situations, and decide on a course of action?
• Think about the Pharisees’ reasons for rejecting Jesus. In their unreasoned prejudice, which groups or individuals do they revile? What does this show about the effects of pride? Is there some way in which my prejudice, pride or stubbornness has hardened me, causing me to revile or demonize others?
• What contradiction does Nicodemus point out? What should this have caused in the other Pharisees? Do I pause and allow myself to repent when my contradictions or pride are pointed out?