John 7:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 7:38, NIV: "Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'"

John 7:38, ESV: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”"

John 7:38, KJV: "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

John 7:38, NASB: "'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.''"

John 7:38, NLT: "Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.''"

John 7:38, CSB: "The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.""

What does John 7:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

During the Feast of Booths, Israel remembered God's miraculous intervention during their time in the wilderness. As part of the celebration, priests would carry water to the altar in the temple, recalling God's provision of water from the rock (Exodus 17:1–7). On the last, most important day of the festival, priests would circle the altar seven times with a container of water. This is the moment Jesus makes this claim, which began in verse 37. These words continue a theme Jesus has used before, including with the Samaritan woman in Sychar (John 4:10–13), and the people near the shores of Galilee (John 6:35).

Jesus' reference to the Scriptures here probably includes more than one single verse or passage. Proverbs 18:4 and Zechariah 14:8 involve similar themes. Given the priestly ritual's connection to the story of water from the rock, Jesus might have had Psalm 78:12–16 in mind. Likewise, the idea of life, or God's truth, being a stream or spring is common in the Bible. The imagery implies something living, pure, and life-giving (Revelation 22:1–2).

As used by Jesus, this internal spring, or stream, is indicative of the Holy Spirit, which comes to live inside all who come to faith in Christ. This indwelling, however, will not begin until after Jesus' ascension (Acts 2:1–4), a point made in the next verse.