What does John 7:39 mean?
ESV: Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
NIV: By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
NASB: But this He said in reference to the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
CSB: He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
NLT: (When he said 'living water,' he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)
KJV: (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.)
Verse Commentary:
During the last and most important day of the Feast of Booths, Jesus has chosen a dramatic time to make a dramatic point. On this day, priests would carry water into the temple, remembering God's provision of water from a rock (Exodus 17:1–7). Jesus uses this moment to emphasize His claim to being the source of "living water," which is a metaphor for salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is a theme Jesus has used before in His teaching, both publicly (John 6:35), and in private (John 4:10–13). Later New Testament writers will continue to draw from this analogy when describing the salvation offered by God through Christ (Revelation 22:1–2).

At this point in time, the Holy Spirit is working only selectively in the world. Perhaps the most dramatic example of the Holy Spirit's temporary work is in the story of Samson, who was given strength when the Holy Spirit was within him (Judges 14:6). Only after Jesus' death and resurrection, followed by His ascension, will the Holy Spirit begin to indwell everyone who professes faith in Christ (Acts 2:1–4).
Verse Context:
John 7:37–52 shows how Jesus' public ministry challenges the traditional views of Judaism. This causes infighting among both the people and the Jewish leaders themselves. The people hear His words, see His miracles, and begin to wonder if Jesus really is the Promised One. Once again, the religious leaders attempt to arrest Jesus, but the officers are so impressed by His words that they leave Him alone. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee, makes a plea for due process, he is mocked and his suggestion is ignored. Moments such as this will eventually lead the Jewish leaders to extreme measures against Jesus.
Chapter Summary:
Six months after the feeding of thousands, and the public debate which followed, Jesus plans to attend the Feast of Booths (Festival of Tabernacles). Rather than going publicly, He chooses to arrive privately, and after His family. While teaching and preaching there, Jesus once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. The crowds take note of His profound words, history of miracles, and the inability of the religious leaders to silence Him. This causes the people to openly question their spiritual leaders. This embarrassment is a milestone in the effort to permanently silence Jesus.
Chapter Context:
John chapter 7 is the beginning of the end of Jesus' public ministry. The feeding of thousands in chapter 6 was the pinnacle of His earthly popularity. That enthusiasm was dampened when Jesus explained the true meaning of His ministry. Here, in chapters 7 and 8, Jesus will confront His critics at a major Jewish festival, using metaphors drawn from ritual celebrations to highlight themes from His preaching. The following chapters include additional miracles and teachings from Jesus, as His eventual crucifixion draws nearer.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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