“He who believes in me, as Scripture says, out of his body steams of living water will flow.”
Streams of water that make things alive are to flow. Christ says: “I will prepare accordingly him who comes to me so that he shall not only be revived and refreshed so as to quench his own thirst and get rid of his thirst. I will also turn him into a strong vat made of stone, give him the Holy Spirit and gifts so that he may flow to other people, give them drink, comfort them, strengthen them, and also serve others as he has been helped by me,” as St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:4. This is how the Lord Christ wants to turn him who comes to him into a different man than the law alone might do.
Under the papacy we made saints, we created one proposition after another, and there was no end to the laws. We only frightened the consciences and made them thirsty. This of course what the law does. When the works saints teach, they create thirst and more thirst, and one law after another so that there is no end or ceasing of laws, as we did experience back then all too much. Every year, there was another great learned man, but the fools only plagued the consciences. …
But Christ does the opposite and does not stop comforting. He gives drink not only to you, but through you he also quenches the thirst of others, created by the law. And the longer the gospel is preached, the more fully the thirst is quenched, and the better the gospel tastes to those who are thirsty. Thus, those who believe in Christ and are given drink, can also give drink to others and comfort and revive them. If the whole world stood before him, he could give enough words by which they would all be comforted. This is what the Lord here means: He will give them drink, not with a spoon or a pipe and tap, but they are to have entire streams of comfort.
They are to be exceedingly full with all power and riches for all who are thirsty. This is how a good pastor can comfort all who are in sins, taking their sins away. No matter how great and many the sins may be, he blows all sin away with a single verse. And when death and war goes on, a preacher can strengthen an entire army that they cast aside and disregard death. They can flush it away and get rid of it with a single word and comforting verse. Whereby? By the water of life. Thus, he means that his preaching office is a stream of life by which one is revived. But this does not appear to be the case because the Word is simple. You may only hear, read or preach it. And I only hear the insignificant sound of a voice; I see only an insignificant letter in a book and have the thought in my heart. The very Word that is preached is to exercise such power in a hidden way that it – in the devil’s kingdom where he rules mightily – is to wash out of the hearts bunches of devils just like a big river washes away chaff.
He knows well why he calls the Word of God a stream. For it does such great and many things and streams on. St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:41, accordingly washes three thousand people out of the devil’s kingdom with a single sermon as with a river and redeemed them in a single hour. He washes them clean from death, sins, and devil. It does not look like much, but the Word does have such power. The stream revived them and brought them near. Now, those who belong to the gospel and Christ are to have the honor of being able to create such excellent benefit. Father and mother are able to comfort and teach their servants, children, and neighbors so that they do not fear or despair. They are able to help them because out of their body issues living water that revives and refreshes the dear souls in all kinds of distress and suffering.