John 7:38
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
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(38) There can be little doubt that our English version rightly gives the meaning of the original here; though representatives of both the earliest and the latest schools of interpretation have tried so to read the verse as to avoid its difficulties. Some would attach the first clause to the preceding verse, reading, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me; and let him that believeth on Me drink.” Others would have us think that the words, “as the Scripture hath said,” belong to the clause before them, and not to that which follows, making the sense, “He that believeth on Me according to the Scriptures, out of his belly (I say) shall flow rivers of living water.” The reader of the English will, it is believed, feel, and the reader of the Greek will feel still more strongly, that these are attempts to avoid what it is hard to explain, and that while they miss the difficulty they also miss the meaning.

He that believeth on me . . .—We have here an advance on the thought, “If any man thirst let him come unto Me and drink.” That represented the satisfaction of the individual mind. This teaches the fuller truth that every one in living communion with Christ becomes himself the centre of spiritual influence. There is in him a power of life which, when quickened by faith, flows forth as a river, carrying life and refreshment to others. No spirit grasps a great truth which satisfies its own yearnings as the waters of the fountain slake physical thirst, without longing to send it forth to others who are seeking what he himself had sought. There is in him a river whose waters no barrier can confine. This is the spirit of the prophet and the evangelist, of the martyr and the missionary. It is the spirit of every great teacher. It is the link which binds men together and makes the life of every Christian approach the life of Christ, for he lives not for himself but for the world.

The exact words “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” are not found in any part of the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, and yet Christ Himself utters them with the formula of quotation. This will be a difficulty only to those who value letter and syllable above spirit and substance. It may be that the words which our Lord actually uttered in the current language of Jerusalem were nearer to the very words of some passage in the Old Testament than they seem to be in the Greek form in which St. John has preserved them to us. But it is instructive that the thought is that which our Lord Himself, or St. John as representing Him, considers as the essence of the quotation. The thought meets us again and again in the Old Testament. See the following passages: Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11; Psalm 114:8; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11; Joel 2:23; Joel 3:18; Ezekiel 47:1; Ezekiel 47:12; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8.

This frequent reference to the refreshment and life-giving power of water is the more natural in the East, where drought is a fearful evil ever to be guarded against, and a well of water a blessing always sought for as the first necessity of life.

The abundance is suggested by the contrast between the small quantity poured out in the Temple and the streams which flowed from the rock struck in the wilderness. The vessel they carried contained but three logs, or about a quart, of water, brought from the tank of Siloam. This was poured through a perforated silver bowl. In the spiritual interpretation the water shall not be carried to the Temple, for every believer shall be a temple of the Holy Ghost and a source of life; it shall not be a limited quantity in vessels of gold and silver, but shall be as rivers bursting forth in their strength and fulness.

John 7:38-39. He that believeth on me — With a living faith, and with his heart unto righteousness; as the Scripture hath said — As God in the Scriptures hath promised and attested in many places; out of his belly — From within him, from his mind and heart; shall flow rivers of living water — He shall receive spiritual blessings, or communications of divine grace, in so great an abundance, that he shall not only be refreshed and comforted himself, but shall be instrumental in refreshing and comforting others. The expression, Out of his belly shall flow rivers, is used with allusion to receptacles round springs, out of which great quantities of water flow by pipes: and the figure therefore signifies the plenitude of spiritual gifts and graces to be possessed by believers, and the happy effects which they should produce in the world. Thus the apostles and first messengers of Christ were both watered themselves and enabled to water others, Gentiles as well as Jews, not with small streams, but with large rivers of divine knowledge and grace, so that the countries, which till then had been barren, became exceeding fruitful in holiness and righteousness. Accordingly the evangelist adds, by way of explication, this spake he of the Spirit — Of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and graces; which they who believed on him should receive Εμελλον λαμβανειν, were about to receive, namely, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, according to his promise, John 14:16; and John 16:7. The extraordinary gifts of the Spirit had, in a great measure, ceased since the death of Zechariah and Malachi. They had been faintly manifested in the approach of the Messiah, as to Zechariah and Elizabeth, to Simeon and Anna, and especially to John the Baptist, who is said to have been filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb; but the full effusion of these gifts, foretold by Isaiah and Joel, took not place till after the ascension of Christ, and was yet to come. On the day of pentecost, and not before, these extraordinary gifts were communicated to the apostles, evangelists, and many other believers, to fit them for converting the world. The universality, however, of the invitation and promise here given, makes it evident that, on this occasion, our Lord had the ordinary influences of the Spirit in his eye, which the evangelist’s remark, that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, will not exclude; because, even these might at that time be said not to have been given, as they had been given but sparingly, in comparison of the plentiful distribution which was to be made of them to all believers after Christ’s ascension. Accordingly, the ordinary influences of the Spirit are often in Scripture represented as the consequences and reward of faith, Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 1:12-14.

7:37-39 On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the Jews drew water and poured it out before the Lord. It is supposed that Christ alluded to this. If any man desires to be truly and for ever happy, let him apply to Christ, and be ruled by him. This thirst means strong desires after spiritual blessings, which nothing else can satisfy; so the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit, were intended by the waters which Jesus called on them to come to Him and drink. The comfort flows plentifully and constantly as a river; strong as a stream to bear down the opposition of doubts and fears. There is a fulness in Christ, of grace for grace. The Spirit dwelling and working in believers, is as a fountain of living, running water, out of which plentiful streams flow, cooling and cleansing as water. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit we do not expect, but for his more common and more valuable influences we may apply. These streams have flowed from our glorified Redeemer, down to this age, and to the remote corners of the earth. May we be anxious to make them known to others.He that believeth on me - He that acknowledges me as the Messiah, and trusts in me for salvation.

As the scripture hath said - This is a difficult expression, from the fact that no such expression as follows is to be found literally in the Old Testament. Some have proposed to connect it with what precedes - "He that believeth on me, as the Old Testament has commanded or required" - but to this there are many objections. The natural and obvious meaning here is, doubtless, the true one; and Jesus probably intended to say, not that there was any particular place in the Old Testament that affirmed this in so many words, but that this was the substance of what the Scriptures taught, or this was the spirit of their declarations. Hence, the Syriac translates it in the plural - the Scriptures. Probably there is a reference more particularly to Isaiah 58:11, than to any other single passage: "Thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not." See also Isaiah 44:3-4; Joel 3:18.

Out of his belly - Out of his midst, or out of his heart. The word "belly" is often put for the midst of a thing, the center, and the heart, Matthew 12:40. It means here that from the man shall flow; that is, his piety shall be of such a nature that it will extend its blessings to others. It shall be like a running fountain - perhaps in allusion to statues or ornamented reservoirs in gardens. in which pipes were placed from which water was continually flowing. The Jews used the same figure: "His two reins are like fountains of water, from which the law flows." And again: "When a man turns himself to the Lord, he shall be as a fountain filled with living water, and his streams shall flow to all the nations and tribes of men" (Kuinoel).

Rivers - This word is used to express abundance, or a full supply. It means here that those who are Christians shall diffuse large, and liberal, and constant blessings on their fellow-men; or, as Jesus immediately explains it, that they shall be the instruments by which the Holy Spirit shall be poured down on the world.

Living water - Fountains, ever-flowing streams. That is, the gospel shall be constant and life-giving in its blessings. We learn here:

1. that it is the nature of Christian piety to be diffusive.

2. that no man can believe on Jesus who does not desire that others should also, and who will not seek it.

3. that the desire is large and liberal - that the Christian desires the salvation of all the world.

4. that the faith of the believer is to be connected with the influence of the Holy Spirit, and in that way Christians are to be like rivers of living water.

38. as the scripture hath said—These words belong to what follows, "Out of his belly, as the scripture hath said, shall flow," &c. referring not to any particular passage, but to such as Isa 58:11; Joe 3:18; Zec 14:8; Eze 47:1-12; in most of which the idea is that of waters issuing from beneath the temple, to which our Lord compares Himself and those who believe in Him.

out of his belly—that is, his inner man, his soul, as in Pr 20:27.

rivers of living water—(See on [1801]Joh 4:13). It refers primarily to the copiousness, but indirectly also to the diffusiveness, of this living water to the good of others.

We have had frequent occasion to open the term of believing on Christ. It may be doubted, whether those words,

as the Scripture hath said, be to be referred to the first or latter part of the text. If to the former, they are words expressive of that faith to which the following promise is made, which is not any assent, or slighty credit given to the word; but such a faith as the Scripture hath spoken of, as that faith which is justifying and saving.

Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; the general sense of the promises, that his soul shall abound with all saving and comfortable influences of saving grace.

The belly signifieth the heart, that part of man which is called the heart being in the belly. So Job 15:35 Psalm 40:8.

The flowing of rivers of water, signifieth the plenty of spiritual influences with which believers shall be supplied; whether joy, knowledge, spiritual gifts, or graces. If any ask, where the Scripture speaketh this? I answer, in all those promises we meet with in the Old Testament, about pouring out the Spirit.

He that believeth on me,.... Which explains what is meant by coming to Christ, and drinking; for these acts are no other than for a man to go out of himself to Christ, and live by faith on him, and his grace. To which what follows is a great encouragement;

as the Scripture hath said: some refer these words to the preceding clause concerning believing in Christ, which the writings of the Old Testament speak of, as in Deuteronomy 18:15, and the sense is, that he that believes on Christ, the object of faith the Scripture points at, and in him, as that directs and requires; that believes in him as the mighty God, and as the prophet, priest, and King, and as the only foundation of the church, and lives by faith upon him, as just men do, then

out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, though rather they belong to what follows; and do not design any particular place of Scripture; for no such one is to be found, where the following passage is expressed in so many words; but all those Scriptures which speak of grace, under the metaphors of water, and abundance of water, as rivers and floods of water, and of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, under such figurative expressions, such as Isaiah 41:17. Hence the Syriac version reads in the plural number, "as the Scriptures hath said"; referring to more than one: "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"; the grace of the Spirit of God is signified by water, because it is of a cleansing and purifying nature, as faith and hope are, having to do with the blood of Christ, which cleanses from all sin; and because it fructifies and causes the saints, as trees of righteousness, to grow, and bring forth fruit; and especially because it is cooling to those who are scorched with the heat of a fiery law, and very refreshing to thirsty souls: and it is called "living" water, because by it dead sinners are quickened, drooping saints are revived, and comforted; spiritual life in them is maintained and supported, and it springs up to, and issues in eternal life: and it is expressed by "rivers" of living water, because of the abundance of it in regeneration, justification, and pardon; it is grace for grace, abundance of grace believers receive from Christ; and from him, in whom those large measures of grace are, they "flow out" again, even "out of his belly": from within him, out of his heart, the seat of it, by his lips, both in prayer to God, and in conversation with the saints, to whom he communicates his rich experiences of grace, to their comfort, and the glory of God: for grace is of a diffusive and communicative nature; out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh: and also it flows out by his life and conversation, which is sober, righteous, and godly; and this the grace of God teaches and influences: and this grace, as it is permanent and lasting itself, even perpetual, and always abiding; so it continues to flow, and to show itself in its acts and effects, in one way or another. The Jews ought not to find fault with Christ's using such expressions, mystically understood, since they, comparing Moses and the Messiah together, say,

"as the first Redeemer caused a well to spring up, so the last Redeemer shall cause waters to spring up, according to Joel 3:18 (e).''

(e) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 63. 2.

He that believeth on me, as the {k} scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

(k) The scripture being referred to is not found anywhere word for word, but rather Christ seems to be referring to many different places where mention is made of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; see Joe 2:28-29; Isa 44:3 and especially Isa 55:1-13.

John 7:38. The πίνειν is brought about by faith; hence the statement progresses: ὁ πιστεύων, κ.τ.λ.

καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γρ.] is simply the formula of quotation, and cannot belong to ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ, as if it denoted a faith which is conformable to Scripture (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Calovius, and most); ὁ πιστ., on the contrary, is the nominative absolute (see on John 6:39), and καθὼς εἶπεν, κ.τ.λ., belongs to the following ποταμοὶ, etc., the words which are described as a declaration of Scripture. There is no exactly corresponding passage, indeed, in Scripture; it is simply a free quotation harmonizing in thought with parts of various passages, especially Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11 (comp. also Ezekiel 47:1; Ezekiel 47:12; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8; Joel 3:1; Joel 3:20; but not Song of Solomon 4:12; Song of Solomon 4:15). Godet refers to the account of the rock in the wilderness, Exodus 17:6, Numbers 20:11; but this answers neither to the thing itself (for the subject is the person drinking) nor to the words. To think in particular of those passages in which mention is made of a stream flowing from the temple mount, the believer being represented as a living temple (Olshausen), is a gloss unwarranted by the context, and presents an inappropriate comparison (κοιλίας). This last is also in answer to Gieseler (in the Stud. u. Krit. 1829, p. 138 f.), whom Lange, L. J. II. p. 945, follows. To imagine some apocryphal or lost canonical saying (Whiston, Semler, Paulus; comp. also Weizsäcker, p. 518; Bleek, p. 234, and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1853, p. 331), or, as Ewald does, a fragment of Proverbs no longer extant, or of some such similar book, is too bold and unnecessary, considering the freedom with whieh passages of Scripture are quoted and combined, and the absence of any other certain trace in the discourses of Jesus of extra-canonical quotations, or of canonical quotations not now to be found in the O. T.; although, indeed, the characteristic ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ itself occurs in none of the above-named places, which is certainly surprising, and not to be explained by an inappropriate reference to Song of Solomon 7:3 (Hengstenberg). But this expression, “out of his body” considering the connection of the metaphor, is very natural; the water which he drinks becomes in his body a spring from which streams of living water flow, i.e. the divine grace and truth which the believer has received out of Christ’s fulness into his inner life, does not remain shut up within, but will communicate itself in abundant measure as a life-giving stream to others, and thus the new divine life overflows from one individual on to others. As represented in the metaphor, these ποταμοί take their rise from the water which has been drunk and is in the κοιλία, and flow forth therefrom in an oral effusion;[270] for the effect referred to takes plaee in an outward direction by an inspired oral communication of one’s own experience of God’s grace and truth (πιστεύομεν, διὸ καὶ λαλοῦμεν, 2 Corinthians 4:13). The mutual and inspired intercourse of Christians from Pentecost downwards, the speaking in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, the mutual edification in Christian assemblies by means of the charismata even to the speaking with tongues, the entire work of the apostles, of a Stephen and so on, furnish an abundant historical commentary upon this text. It is clear, accordingly, that ΚΟΙΛΊΑ does not, as is usually supposed, denote the inner man, man’s heart (Proverbs 20:27; Sir 19:12; Sir 51:21; LXX. Psalm 40:9, following A.; comp. the Latin viscera), but must be left in its literal meaning “belly” in conformity with the metaphor which determines the expression.[271] The flowing forth of the water, moreover, is not to be understood as something operating upon the subject himself only (B. Crusius: “his whole soul, from its very depth, shall have a continual quickening and satisfaction,” comp. Maier), but as describing an efficacy in an outward direction, as ἐκ τ. κοιλ. shows, and therefore is not the same as the similar passage, chap. John 4:14. If we join ὁ πιστ. εἰς ἐμέ with inverts, πινέτω, αὐτοῦ must refer to Christ; and this is the meaning that we get: “He that thirsteth, let him come to me; and he that believeth in me, let him drink of me: for to me refers what the Scripture hath said concerning a river which shall flow forth from Jehovah in the time of the Messiah.” So Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 229 f., and Gess, Pers. Chr. p. 166. But against this it is decisive, first, that he who believes on Jesus has already drunk of Him (John 6:35), and the call to come and drink must apply not to the believer, but to the thirsty; and secondly, that the expression ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ would be unnecessary and unmeaning, if it referred to Jesus, and not to him who has performed the ΠΙΝΈΤΩ (Nonnus, ΔΙᾺ ΓΑΣΤΡῸς ἘΚΕΊΝΟΥ).

ὝΔΩΡ ΖῶΝ, as in John 4:10; ΖῶΝΤΟς ΔῈ, ἬΓΟΥΝ ἈΕῚ ἘΝΕΡΓΟῦΝΤΟς, ἈΕΙΚΙΝΉΤΟΥ, Euthymius Zigabenus.

Observe further the ΠΟΤΑΜΟΊ emphatically taking the lead and standing apart; “not in spoonfuls, nor with a pipe and tap, but in full streams,” Luther.

[270] Comp. ἐρεύξομαι, Matthew 13:35.

[271] Already Chrysostom and his followers took κοιλίας as equivalent to καρδίας; a confounding of the metaphor with its import. Hofmann’s objection (Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 13), “that the water here meant does not go into the belly at all,” rests solely upon the same confusion of the figure with its meaning. According to the figure, it conies into the κοιλία because it is drunk, and this drinking is in like manner figurative. When Hofmann finds indicated in the word even a springing place of the Holy Spirit within the body, he cannot get rid of the idea of something withia the body as being implied in κοιλία, because the text itself presents this figure as being in harmony with that of the drinking; unless, indeed, the concrete expression is to give way to an exegetical prudery foreign to the text itself, and is to be blotted out at pleasure. κοιλία in no passage of the N. T. means anything else than body, belly.—Strangely out of keeping with the unity of the figure, Lange, following Bengel (comp. also Weizsäcker), now finds in κοιλία an allusion to the belly of the golden pitcher (see on ver. 37), and Godet to the inner hollow of the rock whence the water flowed, so that ἐκ τ. κοιλ. αὐτοῦ corresponds with מִמֶּנּוּ, Exodus 17:6. So inventive is the longing after types!

John 7:38. ὁ πιστεύωνζῶντος. [The nominative absolute is common.] No Scripture gives the words verbatim. Isaiah 58:11 has: “The Lord shall satisfy thy soul in drought: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters fail not”. Cf. John 4:14. The words seem to intimate that the believer shall not only have his own thirst quenched, but shall be a source of new streams for the good of others (O. Holtzmann). A remarkably analogous saying is quoted by Schoettgen from the Talmud: “Quando homo se convertit ad Dominum suum, tanquam fons aquis vivis impletur, et fluenta ejus egrediuntur ad omnis generis homines et ad omnes tribus”. At the same time it is not easy to see the relevancy of the saying if this meaning be attached to it, and the saying of John 4:14 is so similar that it seems preferable to understand it in the same sense, of the inseparableness and inwardness of the living water. Those who advocate the other meaning can certainly find confirmation for their view in the explanation added by John.

38. as the scripture hath said] This phrase undoubtedly refers to the words that follow: but inasmuch as no such text is found in Scripture, some have tried to force the phrase into connexion with what precedes, as if the meaning were ‘He that believeth on me in the way that Scripture prescribes.’ Although the exact words are not found in Scripture there are various texts of similar import: Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 58:11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8, &c. But none of them contain the very remarkable expression ‘out of his belly.’

rivers of living water] In the Greek ‘rivers’ stands first with strong emphasis; rivers out of his belly shall flow, (rivers) of living water, in marked contrast to the ewer of water poured each day during the Feast. ‘He that believeth on me’ is of course a stage far in advance of ‘if any one thirst.’ A man may thirst for spiritual satisfaction, and yet not end in believing on Christ. But the believer cannot end in satisfying his own thirst; he at once becomes a fount whence others may derive refreshment. Whether he wills to be a teacher or no, the true Christian cannot fail to impart the spirit of Christianity to others.

John 7:38. Ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ, He that believeth on Me) To believe is not parallel to the verb, to thirst, but to the verb, to come; ch. John 6:35. To this refer the they that believe of the following verse.—καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή, as the Scripture hath said) Scripture hath many things as to the promise of the Holy Spirit, under the figure of water: Isaiah 12:3, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation;” Isaiah 55:13, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters—Incline your ear and come unto Me; hear, and your soul shall live;” Ezekiel 47:1, etc., “Behold waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward;” John 7:9, “Every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live;” Joel 2:23, “Rejoice in the Lord your God; for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain;” which Jesus in this passage expresses in words adapted to the present occasion. But most especially pertinent to this passage is that one of Zechariah 14:8, ἐξελεύσεται ὕδωρ ζῶν ἐξ Ἱερουσαλήμ, κ.τ.λ., “Living waters shall go out from Jerusalem:” for that very chapter of Zechariah had been read in public, as the Haphtara [portion selected for the Lesson], on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which Jesus, when He had come in the middle of the time of the feast, on the last day of it repeats at Jerusalem. He had not been present at the reading on the first day: He had not been taught letters, John 7:15, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” therefore His quotation of the Lesson read ought to have had the more effect on His hearers.—κοιλίας, belly) בטן, the inmost recess, most capacious and most fruitful. The allusion is to the large jars in which, on the last day of that feast, water used to be borne from the fountain Siloah through the city to the sanctuary; for they had a large belly-like interior.—αὐτοῦ, His) Messiah’s. This is the fountain out of whose abundant flow believers receive, John 7:39.—ὕδατος ζῶντος) ὕδωρ ζῶν, Zech. as quoted above.

Verse 38. - He that believeth on me. The ὁ πιστεύων in the nominative absolute, followed by another construction, gives great force to the mighty words. This is not the first time that Christ has represented believing under the form of both "coming" and "drinking." The one term seems to cover that part of faith in Christ which unites the soul to him, which sides with him, which utterly abandons self to take his word as true and his power as sufficient; the other term, when applied to participation in his blood, implies receiving into the soul the full solace of his imparted life. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall rush torrents of living water. From his newly given, divinely imparted life shall proceed, as from the innermost depths of his consciousness, illimitable supplies of refreshment and fertility for others as well. Each soul will be a rock smitten in the thirsty land, from which crystal rivers of life-giving grace shall flow. Godet urges, against Meyer, the great sufficiency of this particular illustration of the rock in the wilderness as justifying the reference to the phrase, "as the Scripture hath said," and points especially to Exodus 17:6, "Behold, I will stand before thee there... in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and out of it (מִמֶּנּוּ) water shall come, that the people may drink" (cf. Numbers 20:11; Deuteronomy 8:15; Psalm 114:8; passages read during the feast). He thinks the κοιλίας αὐτοὺ corresponds with "from out of it" of Exodus. Hengstenberg laid long and fantastic emphasis on the Canticles,where the κοιλία of the bride of Jehovah is described. It is certain that the numerous passages in the Old Testament, in which the gift of refreshing water is made the symbol of national mercies and spiritual blessings, do, for the most part, fall short of this remarkable expression. Still, Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8, all more or less approach the thought; but Ezekiel 47:1-12, where from the altar the living, health giving, mighty river flows for the healing of the nations, is so akin to the saying of the Lord, as soon as we recognize the fact that he is greater than the temple, and that his Church is God's temple, and each body of man a temple of the Holy Ghost, that all real difficulty vanishes. The whole history of the Church is one continuous comment and illustration of the exhaustless fulness of his Word. Just as a soul of man comes and drinks of the water of life, he becomes himself a perennial source of life to others. He supplies not cisterns of stagnant water, but rivers of living water (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16). Chrysostom adds, "One may perceive what is meant, if he will consider the wisdom of Stephen, the tongue of Peter, the vehemence of Paul; how nothing withstood them - not the anger of multitudes, nor the uprising of tyrants, nor plots of devils, nor daily deaths - but, as rivers borne along with loud rushing sound, they went on their way." John 7:38The scripture hath said

There is no exactly corresponding passage, but the quotation harmonizes with the general tenor of several passages, as Isaiah 55:1; Isaiah 58:11; Zechariah 13:1; Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:1; Joel 3:18.

Belly (κοιλίας)

The word is often used in the Old Testament for the innermost part of a man, the soul or heart. See Job 15:35; Job 32:19; Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 20:27, Proverbs 20:30. The rite of drawing and pouring out the water pointed back to the smitten rock in the desert. In Exodus 17:6, "there shall come water out of it," is literally, "there shall come water from within him." The word belly here means the inmost heart of the believer, which pours forth spiritual refreshment. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:4; John 4:14.

Shall flow (ῥεύσουσιν)

The word occurs only here in the New Testament.


A type of abundance. Compare Numbers 20:11.

Living water

Compare John 4:10.

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