(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)

JOHN 7:37-39 – IS IT REAL?


Christmas is widely celebrated.  But is it real to everyone?

Does everyone understand and appreciate the real meaning of Christmas?  Does everyone grasp with a believing heart that Christmas is the time that we celebrate the birth of the Son of God to earth, who not only came to teach us, model right living, and to show us God in the flesh, but also to give his life for the sins of everyone that ever lived?

Is Christmas real to everyone?  The answer of course is “no”.  

Not everyone who celebrates Christmas is a true believer in Christ. 

We are continuing our study in the Life of Christ.  The last time we studied we looked at the healing of a demon possessed epileptic.  

Jesus returned to Galilee after that, and then it was time for a visit to Jerusalem. It was now in the fall of the year and time for one of the greatest celebrations in the Jewish religion, the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.  It was not only a celebration of the harvest, but it was also the time when Israel was called upon to remember their wilderness wanderings of 40 years between Egypt and The Promised Land. 

  • This was a seven or eight day festival held in Jerusalem.
  • The place was mobbed with people.
  • And during this festival people dwelt in temporary dwelling places, or booths. So, wherever you looked you could see these temporary structures. They even appeared on roof tops and in alleys.
  • Sacrifices were offered every day in the temple.
  • People wore their best clothes.
  • Large candles were lit at night, reminding the people of the pillar of fire that had led them in the wilderness.
  • One of the great features of the feast was a daily ritual that reminded people of times when in the wilderness, God gave water out of rock.
  • Each morning multitudes would gather holding citrus fruit in their one hand. It was called an “ethrog”. This reminded them of the bounties of the land that God had blessed them with.
  • “In their right hands they would carry a lulab, which was a combination of three trees – a palm tree, a willow, and a myrtle, emblematic of the stages of their ancestors’ journey through the wilderness.” Kent Hughes, Preaching The Word, John – That You May Believe, (Wheaton, Illinois, Crossway Books, 1999), p. 212
  • The priest would lead the procession to the pool of Siloam, where he would fill a golden pitcher. The crowd would recite the words of Isaiah 12:3, Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
  • Back at the temple and before the Altar, the water was poured out as an offering to God as the “Hallel”, Psalms 113-118, was sung.
  • Not only was the past remembered, but it was also a prophetic look forward to the Millennial reign of Christ. Isaiah 35:6-7, Joel 3:18 

Just like there are many who celebrate Christmas without Spiritual reality, there were many who celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles without Spiritual reality. 

Vss. 1-5 – The Jews, the religious leaders, sought to kill Jesus and his own half-brothers did not believe on Him. They lacked the Spiritual realities of the joy of God found in the Feast of Tabernacles. 

Vss. 12-13 – There was much controversy over Jesus at the feast.  This would have also robbed people of the joy of the festival. It would not have been real. 

And think of the thousands of Jews, who outwardly showed joy but within they were clueless concerning forgiveness of sin and eternal life!  Many were counting on their righteousness and obedience to the Law in order to get into Heaven. 

It is in the last day of this great feast in which Jesus had been teaching that He made a wonderful statement. 

Remember, that one of the great issues of the feast is water!  Remember that the Jews not only suffered from physical thirst, but also from spiritual thirst.  Jesus invited his listeners to experience something that is real! He offers to us today this same reality. 


Vs. 37 – Jesus stood. Teachers usually sat.

               I believe that He wanted to be seen, so people would know who was making the offer. 

The people at this feast were thirsty for the same things that people are thirsty for in our day. 

They were thirsty for:

  • Freedom from guilt
  • Forgiveness of sin
  • Peace of mind and heart
  • True happinessA meaningful life 

Jesus said to them “Come and drink.” 

Why could Jesus say that? 

He, as God the Son, would die for their sins and be resurrected from the dead! 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21 

He, as God the Son, would provide for them a meaningful, peaceful life, represented by the “springs of living water” that would come from within.    

The invitation was to come and drink, or believe.

My friend God has always wanted people to come to Him in faith.  This invitation is valid for you today, along with other similar invitations including, Matthew 11:28-30 and Revelation 22:17 

So how does one come to Christ by faith? 

  1. RECOGNIZE your own sinfulness and guilt before a righteous God, and your own inability to please God through your own works. Romans 3:10, Romans 3:23, Ezekiel 18:4 
  1. REPENT of your sin by turning from it, and any way by which you thought you could make it to Heaven. 1 Thessalonians 1:9 
  1. RELY on Christ alone to save you! Romans 5:1 
  1. REALIZE by faith that God has changed you! Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

This is a real invitation that you need to receive by faith!   


Vs. 38 – Think of a river that flows underground, and then suddenly gushes out for all to see. And with it comes life that blesses the vegetation and people that live around that river.  

Rivers of living water do the same thing.

First they give us life from within and then they flow outward to bless others. 

Vs. 39 – The reference to living water means that God, the Holy Spirit, is at home and at work in the life of the believer.  The Holy Spirit has always been present, but now indwells true believers since Jesus has been glorified. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9 

So, how will these living waters from the Holy Spirit affect first you and then others?    


There will be immediate changes followed by more gradual changes. Galatians 5:16, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 

Unsaved people will see your ways and wonder what happened to you.  Some people will drop you like a hot potato when they see your changed life.  Others will want what you have. 


A Godly man brings forth fruit. Psalm 1:1-3

A Godly man is a person who is controlled by God’s Holy Spirit.   

His walk is distinct. 

Galatians 5:22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

The fruit of the Spirit is: 

  1. A love for God and man that is so strong that an unsaved person will not understand how you can so love.
  2. A joy that continues to abound even when circumstances are tough.
  3. A peace that passes all understanding because it is grounded in the Spirit of the God of peace.
  4. A long suffering that endures mistreatment and trying circumstances graciously.
  5. A gentleness of kindness that is remarkably considerate of others at one’s own expense.
  6. A goodness that shows itself in good behavior and good works.
  7. A faith or faithfulness that is loyal to God and man no matter what the cost.
  8. A meekness or humility that is submissive to God and man.
  9. A temperance or self-control that allows God to be in control of your attitudes, words, and habits. 

These qualities will begin inside of you and then flow to others.  Think of the wonderful benefits you show when you display love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness and self-control to others! 


When the Holy Spirit controls your words, you will practice Ephesians 4:29. 

Most importantly, you will not be ashamed to witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.    

Not only are your ways and works to flow as living waters outside of you, but so are your words of testimony. 

Acts 1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

You should feel inspired to think of all that the Holy Spirit accomplishes in a person who is a true believer.    


I see a very real and scary implication here.

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit to those who believe.

The Holy Spirit will affect our way, our walk and our witness. 

What if you examine your way of living and have to admit that the way you live is not God’s way?

What if you examine your walk for the fruit of the Spirit and find none?

What if you examine your words and find that you have no witness for Jesus Christ going on in your life? 

2 Corinthians 3:5Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves…   

The implication is this: If the Holy Spirit is not at work in at least some degree in your life the chances are that you are not saved. 

If this is true it is time to make sure that you are saved. It is time for you to truly turn from you sin and to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and change! 





My friend before it is too late, make sure that you are right with God.

There were Jews whose celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles was not real.

There are people whose celebration of Christmas is not real.

There are people who think they are Christians, but have not come to Christ. Their Christianity is not real.






(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)



We all face trials and troubles often.  It is what Cole Porter called “Stormy Weather” in a song that he wrote.  

There were a couple of times when the disciples faced storms on the Sea of Galilee.  

As we look at this story about literal storm, we also learn lessons about the figurative storms that cause trials and troubles in our lives.  Let’s see what lessons we can learn this morning about stormy weather. 


Vs. 23 – Think of the boat as our lives.

Although God is present everywhere, there is a special sense in which God is present in our lives.  When He indwells us, He has taken up special residence inside of us. John 14:16-17 

God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of the Christian.

He is there to guide us, protect us, keep us, teach us, and comfort us.

And God has promised the Christian that this presence is unending! Hebrews 13:5-6 

You have heard people say, and might have said yourself, “I wouldn’t want to face this problem without the Lord!”

How true!  If God is willing to take up residence in our lives through his Holy Spirit it would be dumb not to avail ourselves of His presence. 

When you trust Christ as your payment for sins, you are what the Bible calls, born again, by the Spirit of God.  And God the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life. Romans 8:9    

If you have truly trusted Christ as your Savior, you have God’s presence in your life no matter what the storm may be.  Make sure that you have Christ in the boat that is your life!    


Vs. 23 – The Lord Jesus entered the boat.  The disciples followed Him into the boat. It was the Lord Jesus who decided where they were going. Luke 8:22 

The disciples ended up in a storm on the Sea of Galilee because they were following Jesus in obedience.

Of course, being obedient to God as a Christian and following Jesus’ leadership in our lives is the right thing to do. Luke 9:23-24 

Following Jesus after trusting Him for forgiveness does not mean that it will be an easy life.  In fact, we will have storms. 2 Timothy 3:12, James 1:2-4 

The storms that Jesus leads through will make us strong and mature.  And I’d rather follow Jesus in the middle of a storm than to not follow Jesus.  Being in the center of the Lord’s will is always the safest place to be. 

But you’ll also face storms if you’re not obedient to God. 

Would you rather face storms being in the center of God’s will, or out of God’s will? Which makes the most sense?   


Vs. 24 – I don’t have to tell you how dangerous storms can be.  Just consider last year’s tsunami and hurricanes Ivan and Rita.

This storm was a very violent storm, and even seasoned fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James, and John were having trouble with it. 

The storms of life which we face are also dangerous.

Sometimes we will be in physical danger because of persecution, accidents or illness.

Other times we are in emotional danger with our “storms” threatening to overwhelm us with fear and/or depression.

Other times we are in Spiritual danger, with Satan’s attacks challenging us to give up or to sin. 

And this verse alludes to another danger.  We might be concerned because in the midst of the storm God appears to be asleep.  He does not seem to be responding to our problems during the storm.  He seems to be silent. 

Our Lord Jesus was able to sleep because He had a human body that got tired.  He was also able to sleep because, being sinless, He had a clean conscience.  He was also able to sleep, because He quietly allowed Himself to rest in the hands of His loving Heavenly Father.

If you are doing what is right before the Lord, confessing your sins as a Christian, and striving to live for Him, don’t panic when God appears to be asleep. He’ll show Himself to be very much alive at just the right time. 


Vs. 25 – When storms come we tend to fear. And sometimes when storms come we will go into a panic.  The situation seems to be absolutely hopeless! 

Humans tend to be fearful.  If we didn’t tend to be fearful, God would not have put so many verses in the Bible telling us not to be afraid. I’ll just give you two samples, but there are many more “do not fear” verses in the Bible. Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 41:10 

We tend to fear and worry about what might happen but hasn’t happened.

We tend to fear and worry about the future.

We tend to fear and worry about the opinions of others.

We tend to fear and worry about our children, our parents, our spouses. 

Then comes the times our problems are so real to us that they tend to overwhelm us.  We hit the panic mode. 

Yes, many fears are justified.  But there is a proper way to handle fear.

These seasoned fishermen were literally in over their heads and they knew it, coming to Jesus in panic. 


Vs. 25 – The disciples awoke the Lord Jesus.

Their anxious prayer was an indication that they had come to the end of themselves, and that they had at least a little faith that Jesus could help. 

I personally think that they waited too long to ask Jesus for help.  The moment things got a little stormy, I think they should have come to Him. 

We are like that.  If things seem to be just a little stormy or troublesome, we’ll just worry over it and try to solve it ourselves, instead of bringing it to God right away.

But when problems get full blown, we come in a panic with a little, but not much faith that God can help. Philippians 4:6, James 1:5-8 

Vs. 26 – Note that Jesus did not rebuke the disciples for waking Him up.  Like I said, I feel that He would have welcomed being woken up sooner.    

Notice our Lord’s calm rebuke in the midst of the storm.

He was not in a panic. He’s totally under control.  He can even take the time to rebuke the disciples before He did anything.  He is master of the situation. 

Let’s remember when we give our stormy problems to God He is not in a panic.  He can solve the problem leisurely if He chooses to.  There is no reason to get in a dither or bent out of shape. 


Vs. 26 – Jesus said the word and there was perfect calm. It was like there had been no storm. There was no rocking of the waves that normally follow a storm. There was perfect peace. 

When Jesus speaks the Word there is perfect peace.

Sometimes the problem totally disappears, but more often than not the place where the greatest miracle has occurred is inside of us. 

We are at peace.

God has calmed the ragging in our souls. 

Vs. 27 – The disciples were absolutely amazed!  The Lord Jesus had done what they had never seen before.  A human being told the storm to cease and it did.  The winds obeyed Him! The waves obey Him. 

They had a new appreciation for the power of Jesus!

They had a new appreciation for the glory of Jesus!

And when Jesus calms our storms, we too, should have a new appreciation for the power and glory of the Lord Jesus.

We should be amazed!

We should be filled with praise and worship.

We should be ready to trust Him when an even bigger storm comes.