Read John 7.37-52

                On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.'”  Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
                 When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?  Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”  So there was a division in the crowd because of him.  Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
                 Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?”  The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!”  Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you?  Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd, which does not know the law–they are accursed.”
                 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?”  They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you?  Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.”


From Rev. Dennis Sparks, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ravenswood, and Executive Director, WV Council of Churches

 Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water;
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently,
By putting your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.
Every Time I look into the holy book I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers
           than what I profess to be,
And it causes me shame to know I’m not the gal that I should be.  
                                                         (Gene Maclellan, © 1971, Emi Blackwood Music Inc.)

                Writing about this passage, the Anne Murray pop song of yesteryear dominates my thoughts. For in so many ways we all remain “the buyers and the sellers” and “the Pharisaic tellers.” They were all good and successful people protecting the core values passed down from generations before them.

                Believing in and turning to the ancient scripture, they proclaimed that no prophet had ever come or was to come from Galilee.  Only those who did not know the law supported the one who stood in the temple shouting, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water,” to be a prophet.  So many times the “good news” comes in reverse of what we perceive as truth and causes us shame.

O Lord our God, may we look into the depths of our souls
and give up those old things that keep us away
from the  gospel of living water flowing from our hearts.