John 7:37-39

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 14, 2010

7:37-39 Living Water

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

We are with Jesus in the seventh month of the year on the Jewish calendar, sometime around October and November.

The “seventh month” was a busy one for Israel – It started with the Feast of Trumpets, then the Day of Atonement, and in the middle of the month was a celebration that lasted a week, the Feast of Tabernacles (or, “Sukkoth”).

We saw how Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to go to Jerusalem with them and make a big splash, to get a lot of attention.

Jesus preferred to follow His brothers quietly and He didn’t raise a lot of attention for the first part of the week.
There have been a lot of questions that people had about Jesus, and He’s stirred up a little bit of controversy as people began to believe in Him as the Messiah.

We pick it up at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles.

(Jn 7:37–39 NKJV) —37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The Feast of Tabernacles was intended to celebrate a couple of things.

1.  Remember the forty years in the wilderness

It was to remind the people of how the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, living in tents (“Tabernacles” or “Sukkoth”)
To celebrate this, the people would set up booths made of branches and live outside with their families, kind of like camping out.

2. Celebrate the harvest

The farmers’ growing season was over, the crops have all been harvested and the farmers had a chance to rest.

The Feast of Tabernacles was one of the three times during the year that all the people were to come to Jerusalem to worship.

There would be a lot of people in town.

Every seven years, there was a public reading of the Law (Deut. 31:10-13) during this festival.

The requirements of the Feast in the Mosaic Law had to do with sacrifices.

On the first day of the feast,

(Nu 29:13 NKJV) You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen lambs in their first year. They shall be without blemish.
These animal sacrifices were accompanied with grain offerings and drink offerings (wine was poured out).

There would be sacrifices every day for seven days.  The only difference was that each day there would be one less bull offered as a burnt offering.

In total, there would be 70 bulls sacrificed over a period of seven days (that’s a lot of bull), and according to Jewish tradition, they saw this as a bull being sacrificed for every nation of the world. (In Gen.10, seventy families of the world, from the sons of Noah).
By the end of the celebration, 199 animals would have been sacrificed, along with lots of grain and wine.

The first seven days of the feast were to symbolize the forty years in the wilderness.

But as you know, there came a day when they actually made it into the Promised Land, and apparently that was what the eighth day represented, when they left the wilderness and entered the Land.

On the eighth day there was only one bull sacrificed, and to the Jews, this was a bull sacrificed for them, the nation of Israel.

(Nu 29:35–38 NKJV) —35 ‘On the eighth day you shall have a sacred assembly. You shall do no customary work. 36 You shall present a burnt offering, an offering made by fire as a sweet aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven lambs in their first year without blemish, 37 and their grain offering and their drink offerings for the bull, for the ram, and for the lambs, by their number, according to the ordinance; 38 also one goat as a sin offering, besides the regular burnt offering, its grain offering, and its drink offering.
The eighth day was different.  In fact the Jews considered this a separate feast.
There is a little bit of disagreement among scholars as to which day Jesus stood up during.  But it seems to me that the best understanding was that it wasn’t on this eighth day, but on the seventh day.

Through time, there became a couple more additions to Sukkoth.

On the evening of the first night, a golden candlestick was lit in the Court of the Women at the temple.  This was a picture of the pillar of fire by night that led Israel in the wilderness.

Before Jesus’ time, a ceremony was added to Sukkoth that had to do with water.

Some have suggested that the people in the city were getting a little anxious about their water supplies in the fall.  This added ceremony was seen partly as a cry to God for rain.
Some have suggested that it was because of the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were primarily city dwellers, and by the fall their cisterns were beginning to run a little low on water.  They were getting a little anxious in waiting for the winter rains.
Every day of Sukkoth, at daybreak, a priest would lead a procession of people from the Temple to the go to the pool of Siloam.  (Show map video “Temple to Siloam”)
The choir would sing a song from:
(Is 12:3 NKJV) Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.
At the pool of Siloam, the priest would fill a golden pitcher with water.  The pitcher held about 2 ½ pints of water.  He would then lead the procession back to the Temple.  When he arrived at the Temple, there would be three blasts from a shofar.  The water would be taken to the west side of the altar where it would be poured out.  This was all accompanied with songs, shouts, and trumpets.
The people would shout and sing from the Psalms like:

(Ps 118:1 NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

(Ps 118:25 NKJV) Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.

They would shake their myrtle, willow, and palm branches toward the altar as if to remind God of His promises.
On the seventh day, the priest would circle the altar seven times before pouring out the water, similar to the Israelites walking around Jericho seven times.
On the sixth time around the altar, the priest with the water was joined by a priest with the wine which was to be poured out.
After the seventh trip around the altar, the priest would hold up the water and the people would shout for him to raise it higher and higher and higher.
The people would beat their tree branches until all the leaves fell off and would go crazy with praise songs.
It was a time of great joy and celebration.  It was said that “Whoever had not witnessed it had never seen rejoicing at all” [Lightfoot].  This seventh day was known to the Jews as “the Day of the Great Hosanna”.
After the praises, there would have been a brief pause as the priests prepared to offer the sacrifices for that day.
It has been suggested that at this point, during this pause, that Jesus stands up to make His proclamation.
It is thought that the water ceremony represented three things:
1.  The water provided in the wilderness

When the people in the wilderness first ran out of water, God showed Moses a “rock” and told him to “strike it” and water would come out (Ex. 17:6)

(Ex 17:6 NKJV) Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Later, at the end of the forty years, they faced a similar situation, but this time God’s instructions to Moses changed:

(Nu 20:8 NKJV) “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water…

But Moses was upset with the people at the time.  Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses expressed his anger by once again striking the rock. (Num. 20:11)

(Nu 20:11 NKJV) —11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

After this event, God took Moses aside and told him that he had blown it and as a result, Moses was not going to go into the Promised Land.  Why was Moses punished for simply striking the Rock?

Paul tells us that

(1 Co 10:4 NKJV) …For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

God was trying to paint a picture, and Moses had ruined it.  The Rock was a picture of Christ.  Christ was struck once for our sins, just as Moses struck the rock the first time.  Now we no longer need to strike the rock to receive, we simply need to speak to it, to believe in Christ.

Pay attention to the One who speaks at this ritual.

2.  A cry for rain.

Rain in Israel comes during two seasons of the year, the former rain (Sept.-Oct.), and the latter rain (March-April).

3.  The Messiah and the Holy Spirit

(Joe 3:18 NKJV) And it will come to pass in that day That the mountains shall drip with new wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah shall be flooded with water; A fountain shall flow from the house of the Lord And water the Valley of Acacias.

(Eze 47:1 NKJV) Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar.

Even the Jews had this sense that this sense that this was bigger than just water.  They saw it connected to salvation.  They saw it connected to the Holy Spirit.

Remember the song they sang as they went to get the water?

(Is 12:3 NKJV) Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.

Listen to what one of the rabbis taught:

R. Joshua ben Levi:  “Why is its name called the place of drawing water? Because, from thence “they draw the Holy Ghost”, as it is said, “and ye shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation””

Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

It was ‘the last, the great day of the Feast,’ and Jesus was once more in the Temple. We can scarcely doubt that it was the concluding day of the Feast, and not, as most modern writers suppose, its Octave, which, in Rabbinic language, was regarded as ‘a festival by itself.’a On the Octave of the Feast probably Ps. 12. was chanted (see Sopher. 19. beg.).1 But such solemn interest attaches to the Feast, and this occurrence on its last day, that we must try to realise the scene. We have here the only Old Testament type yet unfulfilled; the only Jewish festival which has no counterpart in the cycle of the Christian year,2 just because it points forward to that great, yet unfulfilled hope of the Church: the ingathering of Earth’s nations to the Christ.

The celebration of the Feast corresponded to its great meaning. Not only did all the priestly families minister during that week, but it has been calculated that not fewer than 446 Priests, with, of course, a corresponding number of Levites, were required for its sacrificial worship. In general, the services were the same every day, except that the number of bullocks offered decreased daily from thirteen on the first, to seven on the seventh day. Only during the first two, and on the last festive day (as also on the Octave of the Feast), was strict Sabbatic rest enjoined. On the intervening half-holydays (Chol haMoed), although no new labour was to be undertaken, unless in the public service, the ordinary and necessary avocations of the home and of life were carried on, and especially all done that was required for the festive season. But ‘the last, the Great Day of the Feast,’ was marked by special observances.

Let us suppose ourselves in the number of worshippers, who on ‘the last, the Great Day of the Feast,’ are leaving their ‘booths’ at daybreak to take part in the service. The pilgrims are all in festive array. In his right hand each carries what is called the Lulabh,1 which, although properly meaning ‘a branch,’ or ‘palm-branch,’ consisted of a myrtle and willow-branch tied together with a palm-branch between them. This was supposed to be in fulfilment of the command, Lev. 23:40. ‘The fruit (A.V. ‘boughs’) of the goodly trees,’ mentioned in the same verse of Scripture, was supposed to be the Ethrog, the so-called Paradise-apple (according to Ber. R. 15, the fruit of the forbidden tree), a species of citron.a This Ethrog each worshipper carries in his left hand. It is scarcely necessary to add, that this interpretation of Lev. 23:40 was given by the Rabbis;b perhaps more interesting to know, that this was one of the points in controversy between the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Thus armed with Lulabh in their right, and Ethrog in their left hands, the festive multitude would divide into three bands. Some would remain in the Temple to attend the preparation of the Morning Sacrifice. Another band would go in procession ‘below Jerusalem’c to a place called Moza, the ‘Kolonia’ of the Jerusalem Talmud,d which some have sought to identify with the Emmaus of the Resurrection-Evening.2 At Moza they cut down willow-branches, with which, amidst the blasts of the Priests’ trumpets, they adorned the altar, forming a leafy canopy about it. Yet a third company were taking part in a still more interesting service. To the sound of music a procession started from the Temple. It followed a Priest who bore a golden pitcher, capable of holding three log.3 Onwards it passed, probably, through Ophel, which recent investigations have shown to have been covered with buildings to the very verge of Siloam, down the edge of the Tyropœon Valley, where it merges into that of the Kedron. To this day terraces mark where the gardens, watered by the living spring, extended from the King’s Gardens by the spring Rogel down to the entrance into the Tyropœon. Here was the so-called ‘Fountain-Gate,’ and still within the City-wall ‘the Pool of Siloam,’ the overflow of which fed a lower pool. As already stated, it was at the merging of the Tyropœon into the Kedron Valley, in the south-eastern angle of Jerusalem. The Pool of Siloam was fed by the living spring farther up in the narrowest part of the Kedron Valley, which presently bears the name of ‘the Virgin’s Fountain,’ but represents the ancient En-Rogel and Gihon. Indeed, the very canal which led from the one to the other, with the inscription of the workmen upon it, has lately been excavated.1 Though chiefly of historical interest, a sentence may be added. The Pool of Siloam is the same as ‘the King’s Pool’ of Neh. 2:14.a It was made by King Hezekiah, in order both to divert from a besieging army the spring of Gihon, which could not be brought within the City-wall, and yet to bring its waters within the City.b This explains the origin of the name Siloam, ‘sent’—a conduitc—or ‘Siloah,’ as Josephus calls it. Lastly, we remember that it was down in the valley at Gihon (or En-Rogel), that Solomon was proclaimed,d while the opposite faction held revel, and would have made Adonijah king, on the cliff Zoheleth (the modern Zahweileh) right over against it, not a hundred yards distant,e where they must, of course, have distinctly heard the sound of the trumpets and the shouts of the people as Solomon was proclaimed king.f

But to return. When the Temple-procession had reached the Pool of Siloam, the Priest filled his golden pitcher from its waters.2 Then they went back to the Temple, so timing it, that they should arrive just as they were laying the pieces of the sacrifice on the great Altar of Burnt-offering,g towards the close of the ordinary Morning-Sacrifice service. A threefold blast of the Priests’ trumpets welcomed the arrival of the Priest, as he entered through the ‘Water-gate,’3 which obtained its name from this ceremony, and passed straight into the Court of the Priests. Here he was joined by another Priest, who carried the wine for the drink-offering. The two Priests ascended ‘the rise’ of the altar, and turned to the left. There were two silver funnels here, with narrow openings, leading down to the base of the altar. Into that at the east, which was somewhat wider, the wine was poured, and, at the same time, the water into the western and narrower opening, the people shouting to the Priest to raise his hand, so as to make sure that he poured the water into the funnel. For, although it was held, that the water-pouring was an ordinance instituted by Moses, ‘a Halakhah of Moses from Sinai,’a this was another of the points disputed by the Sadducees.1 And, indeed, to give practical effect to their views, the High-Priest Alexander Jannæus had on one occasion poured the water on the ground, when he was nearly murdered, and in the riot, that ensued, six thousand persons were killed in the Temple.b

Immediately after ‘the pouring of water,’ the great ‘Hallel,’ consisting of Psalms 113. to 118. (inclusive), was chanted antiphonally, or rather, with responses, to the accompaniment of the flute. As the Levites intoned the first line of each Psalm, the people repeated it; while to each of the other lines they responded by Hallelu Yah (‘Praise ye the Lord’). But in Psalm 118. the people not only repeated the first line, ‘O give thanks to the Lord,’ but also these, ‘O then, work now salvation, Jehovah,’c ‘O Lord, send now prosperity;’d and again, at the close of the Psalm, ‘O give thanks to the Lord.’ As they repeated these lines, they shook towards the altar the Lulabh which they held in their hands—as if with this token of the past to express the reality and cause of their praise, and to remind God of His promises. It is this moment which should be chiefly kept in view.

The festive morning-service was followed by the offering of the special sacrifices for the day, with their drink-offerings, and by the Psalm for the day, which, on ‘the last, the Great Day of the Feast,’ was Psalm 82. from verse 5.e 2 The Psalm was, of course, chanted, as always, to instrumental accompaniment, and at the end of each of its three sections the Priests blew a threefold blast, while the people bowed down in worship. In further symbolism of this Feast, as pointing to the ingathering of the heathen nations, the public services closed with a procession round the Altar by the Priests, who chanted ‘O then, work now salvation, Jehovah! O Jehovah, send now prosperity.’f But on ‘the last, the Great Day of the Feast,’ this procession of Priests made the circuit of the altar, not only once, but seven times, as if they were again compassing, but now with prayer, the Gentile Jericho which barred their possession of the promised land. Hence the seventh or last day of the Feast was also called that of ‘the Great Hosannah.’ As the people left the Temple, they saluted the altar with words of thanks,g and on the last day of the Feast they shook off the leaves on the willow-branches round the altar, and beat their palm-branches to pieces.a On the same afternoon the ‘booths’ were dismantled, and the Feast ended.b

We can have little difficulty in determining at what part of the services of ‘the last, the Great Day of the Feast,’ Jesus stood and cried, ‘If any one thirst, let him come unto Me and drink!’ It must have been with special reference to the ceremony of the outpouring of the water, which, as we have seen, was considered the central part of the service.1 Moreover, all would understand that His words must refer to the Holy Spirit, since the rite was universally regarded as symbolical of His outpouring. The forthpouring of the water was immediately followed by the chanting of the Hallel. But after that there must have been a short pause to prepare for the festive sacrifices (the Musaph). It was then, immediately after the symbolic rite of water-pouring, immediately after the people had responded by repeating those lines from Psalm 118.—given thanks, and prayed that Jehovah would send salvation and prosperity, and had shaken their Lulabh towards the altar, thus praising ‘with heart, and mouth, and hands,’ and then silence had fallen upon them—that there rose, so loud as to be heard throughout the Temple, the Voice of Jesus. He interrupted not the services, for they had for the moment ceased: He interpreted, and He fulfilled them.

Whether we realist it in connection with the deeply-stirring rites just concluded, and the song of praise that had scarcely died out of the air; or think of it as a vast step in advance in the history of Christ’s Manifestation, the scene is equally wondrous. But yesterday they had been divided about Him, and the authorities had given directions to take Him; to-day He is not only in the Temple, but, at the close of the most solemn rites of the Feast, asserting, within the hearing of all, His claim to be regarded as the fulfilment of all, and the true Messiah! And yet there is neither harshness of command nor violence of threat in His proclamation. It is the King, meek, gentle, and loving; the Messiah, Who will not break the bruised reed, Who will not lift up His Voice in tone of anger, but speak in accents of loving, condescending compassion, Who now bids, whosoever thirsteth, come unto Him and drink. And so the words have to all time remained the call of Christ to all that thirst, whence- or what-soever their need and longing of soul may be. But, as we listen to these words as originally spoken, we feel how they mark that Christ’s hour was indeed coming: the preparation past; the manifestation in the present, unmistakable, urgent, and loving; and the final conflict at hand.

Of those who had heard Him, none but must have understood that, if the invitation were indeed real, and Christ the fulfilment of all, then the promise also had its deepest meaning, that he who believed on Him would not only receive the promised fulness of the Spirit, but give it forth to the fertilising of the barren waste around. It was, truly, the fulfilment of the Scripture-promise, not of one but of all: that in Messianic times the Nabhi, ‘prophet,’ literally the weller forth, viz., of the Divine, should not be one or another select individual, but that He would pour out on all His handmaidens and servants of His Holy Spirit, and thus the moral wilderness of this world be changed into a fruitful garden. Indeed, this is expressly stated in the Targum which thus paraphrases Is. 44:3: ‘Behold, as the waters are poured out on and ground and spread over the dry soil, so will I give the Spirit of My Holiness on thy sons, and My blessing on thy children’s children.’ What was new to them was, that all this was treasured up in the Christ, that out of His fulness men might receive, and grace for grace. And yet even this was not quite new. For, was it not the fulfilment of that old prophetic cry: ‘The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me: therefore has He Messiahed (anointed) Me to preach good tidings unto the poor’? So then, it was nothing new, only the happy fulfilment of the old, when He thus ‘spake of the Holy Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive,’ not then, but upon His Messianic exaltation.

:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

:37 cried outkrazo – speak with a loud voice

Last week we talked about Jesus speaking up in the Temple. He speaks up again.

:37 thirstsdipsao – to suffer thirst, suffer from thirst

Figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.

Present tense – Jesus is speaking to those who right now are thirsty.

Do you know what it means to be thirsty?

Play video:  Nestea Plunge

:37 let him come – present imperative – a command.  This is something that we have to do.

:37 drinkpino – to drink – present imperative – another command.  This is something that we do.

a prolonged form of πιω

This reminds me of the discussion Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at a well:

(Jn 4:13–14 NKJV) —13 Jesus answered and said to her,  “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

:38 believespisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, place confidence in

Present participle

We think that Jesus is simply describing what it means to “drink” from Him.

We “drink” from Him by “believing” in Him.

:38 heartkoilia – belly, the origin of thoughts, feelings, or choices.

:38 will flowrheo – to flow

Future tense – it’s not something that “might” happen, but it WILL happen.

:38 as the Scripture has said

I’m not sure Jesus is pointing to a specific Scripture, but instead a whole lot of Scriptures that speak of this, like…

(Is 41:17–18 NKJV) —17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water.
(Is 44:3 NKJV) For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, And floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, And My blessing on your offspring;
(Is 58:11 NKJV) The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

:38 living water – There were two types of water Jesus’ day.


There was water that was collected in underground reservoirs called cisterns.  Some parts of Israel are a desert.  The only way to survive was to build large cisterns and channel the water into them during the rare rainstorms.
In Qumran, it rains very, very rarely.  Yet a community of hundreds was able to survive because they had a system of channels and cisterns.
In Jerusalem, there is only one spring, the Gihon, which Hezekiah had channeled through solid rock to the pool of Siloam.
The rest of the water for the city came from water collected during rainstorms and stored in these large cisterns, some carved out of solid rock.

Jeremiah was imprisoned in a muddy cistern for a number of days.

There is a huge cistern in the garden just outside the ancient city walls where there’s an empty tomb.

Living Water

This is flowing water.  Clean water.  Water that bubbles up out of the ground.
There is a spring and waterfall at Ein Gedi (“spring of the young goats”), along the Dead Sea.  The kibbutz located there bottles and sells the water.
The one spring in Jerusalem flowed into the pool of Siloam, where the water came from that was being poured out on the altar during the Feast.
If I gave you two bottles of water to drink from, one with water from a muddy cistern and the other from the Gihon spring, which would you want to drink from?

:38 rivers

(Play Jordan Headwaters clip) What God wants to do is to satisfy your thirst in such a way that not only will your thirst be quenched, but there is enough to soak everyone around you.

Play “Water Balloon” video clip.

:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John gives us a little commentary on what Jesus has just said.

:39 Jesus was not yet glorified

Before the Holy Spirit would come upon the believers, Jesus would first have to pay for their sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.

Once He would ascend into heaven, proving once and for all that He had won the victory over sin, then the Holy Spirit could be given freely to all who trust in Jesus for their salvation.

Jesus said,

(Jn 16:7 NKJV) Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

After He rose from the dead, just before He ascended into heaven, He told the disciples to wait for the promised Holy Spirit.

(Ac 2:1–4 NKJV) —1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In explaining to the people what had happened, Peter preached, and said,

(Ac 2:33 NKJV) Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
It was after Jesus was glorified that the Holy Spirit came on the church.


Spirit Filled

Are you thirsty?  Are you unsatisfied with your life?
Maybe you have never opened your life to Jesus.  Maybe you realize that you need help.
Maybe you are a Christian, but you’ve been living your life in your own strength.  Four things from this passage:
1.  Thirst
You have to have a need for Him.
You have to “suffer from thirst”.
There must be a strong sense of need in our life.

We need to come to the point where we realize just how much we need God's help.

If we're complacent about it, and don't really care one way or another, then don't expect anything.

2.  Come to Jesus
John the Baptist said,

(Mt 3:11 NKJV) I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

You have to realize that to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you're going to have to come to Jesus.

Going to Mohammed won't do.  Nor Buddha.

Coming to a special pastor to pray over you is a nice sentiment, but if you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you must come to Jesus.

If you aren’t coming to Jesus to have your thirst met, it’s like (show video of Nestea gone wrong – people falling backward and hitting the dust)
Only He has paid the price for your sins, enabling you to come into a personal relationship with God.
3.  Drink
To drink a glass of water, you first have to open up your mouth.

Imagine drinking a glass of water with your mouth closed.

You would certainly have a “drinking problem”!

To receive the Holy Spirit, you have to open up your heart.
Dr. A. B. Simpson used this illustration about being filled with the Spirit:

Being filled with the fullness of God is like a bottle in the ocean. You take the cork out of the bottle and sink it in the ocean, and you have the bottle completely full of ocean. The bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle. The ocean contains the bottle, but the bottle contains only a little bit of the ocean. So it is with the Christian.”

A.W. Tozer wrote, “We are filled unto the fullness of God, but, of course, we cannot contain all of God because God contains us; but we can have all of God that we can contain. If we only knew it, we could enlarge our vessel. The vessel gets bigger as we go on with God.”

Just open up and receive!

You might feel something.

You might not.

Wait a second here, is the Holy Spirit going to make me weird?

There have been so many abuses of the Holy Spirit over the years, that it's easy for us to think that being filled with the Holy Spirit must be a weird or strange thing.

We're afraid He might make us roll around on the floor or bark like a dog.

I'm afraid that this isn't the Holy Spirit.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. (Gal.5:23)

And Paul's admonition to the Corinthians was that all things be done decently and in order.(1Cor.14:40)

Open up and receive it!
4.  Believe
Jesus didn’t say, “He who feels this tingle down his back will have rivers of living water ...”.
He said, “He who believes ...”
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is based on trust, on faith, not on feelings.