“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:38-39)
After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples to “tarry” or wait in Jerusalem until they would be endued with power from on high.
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
Jesus knew that in order for the disciples to do the work that He had called them to do, there had to be a supernatural change take place in their lives.
Until now, they had walked in a similar anointing as did the prophets of old. The Bible teaches us that everything that happened in the Old Testament was a “type” or a “shadow” of better things to come, and that these things happened as an example for us.
The old prophets were a type of Jesus disciples. Just as the anointing of the Holy Ghost would come upon the prophets for a particular job or mission from God and then depart, Jesus had anointed His disciples at various times and sent them forth to do miraculous works.
But the Bible tells us that this occasional anointing of power only caused the prophets to yearn for something permanent and life changing.
“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:” (1Peter 1:10)
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1Peter 1:11)
In the same way, although Jesus had anointed the disciples to cast out devils and heal the sick, and they had returned rejoicing that the devils were subject to His name, there was still no power to change from within, as evidenced by their abandonment of Jesus at the time of His crucifixion.
In John 7: 38 & 39, Jesus described the Holy Spirit which the disciples would receive as rivers of living waters flowing out from them. This river of the Holy Spirit is prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
“And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles.” (Eze. 47:3)
“Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins.” (Eze. 47:4)
“Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.” (Eze. 47:5)
The prophet shows us that the further down the river we go, the deeper the water gets, until finally the river is so deep that it sweeps us away. We go the way of the river, and not the way of ourselves. Jesus revealed that the river of the prophet is the river of the Holy Spirit.
This progression into the depth of the Holy Spirit is the key to walking in the power of God.
The prophet talked of the river to the ankles. This is the initial touch of the Holy Spirit. This is where the current begins to tug at your ankles and pull you in the direction of the flow.
Jesus said that no man would come to Him unless the Father draw him. (John 6:44) Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16)
The prophet talked of the water to the knees. After Jesus rose from the grave, He appeared to the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:22) This is that born again experience that Jesus spoke of in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)
This is when Christ comes into your heart through the Holy Spirit. You are not the only one living inside of your body anymore, but now another presence has come inside of you to live also.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)
He seals you unto the day of redemption, and you now belong unto Christ. Jesus has purchased you with His blood and you are not your own anymore.
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Eph. 4:30)
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9)
You are in the water to your knees. The river has half of your legs, and you have the other half. The Holy Spirit is directing you one way, but you have the power to go the other. This is where many Christians find themselves today.
They have been born again and the Holy Spirit has come inside of them. They are like the disciples who Jesus breathed upon and said, “Receive Ye the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit is directing them to go one way but their common sense and will are directing them another, and sadly the common sense will usually win. This is why Jesus told the disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem.”
They had already received the Holy Spirit in them, now they needed to be endued with power. They needed to be filled with the Holy Ghost. They needed to come out into the river to the loins.