Webster’s dictionary provides two definitions for the word stagnant: 1.) not flowing; and 2.) not active, changing, or progressing. A brook is a small stream or creek. It is water that flows and breeds life. Stagnant water breeds disease and death such as malaria, dengue fever, dysentery, and more. I have pasted two images to illustrate the difference between the two types of water:
I think it goes without saying that everyone prefers the brook water in the bottom photo to the stagnant one in the top. In John’s gospel, Jesus promises to anyone who comes to him and believes that he will have “brook water” flowing within him. I know that our Lord does not use that phrase instead he uses living water; however, brook water is living water in the sense that it teems with life (John 7:38, ESV). For example, when it comes to the earth’s ecosystems, brooks usually flow into rivers or lakes. What this means is that these smaller bodies of water pump life into the larger ones. There is a constant flow of life that sustains it and develops it.
From my perspective, this is the point of Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39. The Lord is not merely the creator of life, but also the one who sustains and grows it (Job 12:10; Psalm 33:6, 104:28-29; Acts 17:24-26, ESV). This means that he is proactive with his creation; therefore, Christians reject Deism, which teaches that God stepped back from his creation after getting it started. Christians also reject Pantheism because this view fails to distinguish God from the created order by equating them as one. Lastly, Panentheism is another view that falls by the wayside as it asserts that the whole created order resides within God even though he is still greater than it. All three of these perspectives remain attractive today for a variety of reasons, but those scriptures listed earlier in this paragraph blow them up to smithereens.
Back to Jesus’ words recorded for us in John 7:37b-38: “‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ If there is anything worth taking away from this metaphor, then it is that true life comes from Jesus. This life comes into all those who believe in the Son by the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Here in this passage, the apostle John illustrates how two of the three persons within the Trinity (God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) work together in the conversion of sinners (John 7:38-39, ESV). It is both miraculous and mind-boggling. The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit has been promised to all those who come to Christ and believe (John 6:35-39, 44, ESV). This world offers stagnant water, but the creator of it holds out living water. Based on the above two photos, would you rather drink stagnant water or brook water?