John 7:38

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

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.