Another symbol of the Spirit is clothing. As our clothing the Spirit not only covers us but is also a “uniform” that gives us authority. In Luke 24:49 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” In addition to receiving the Spirit of life essentially, the disciples still needed to be clothed with power from on high, that is, to be empowered by the Spirit economically. What took place in John 20:22 is a matter of life essentially, but what is described in Luke 24:49 is a matter of power for ministry economically.
In order to be clothed with power, we need to put on the Spirit as a uniform. This is typified by the mantle of Elijah (2 Kings 2:9, 13-15). For this reason, some Bible teachers have called the Spirit of power, symbolized by clothing, the “mantle Spirit,” the Spirit as an outer coat. In 2 Kings 2 Elisha was expecting to receive Elijah’s mantle. When Elisha received this mantle, it was an indication that he had received the spirit of Elijah. In Luke 24:49 the Lord Jesus has a similar thought, the thought of the mantle Spirit. Therefore, He told the disciples to wait until they were clothed with power from on high.
G. THE LIVING WATER
In John 4 and 7 the Spirit is symbolized by living water. John 4:10 and 14 speak of living water. In verse 14 the Lord Jesus says, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life.” Then in John 7:37 and 38 He cried out, saying, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” Verse 39 explains, “This He said concerning the Spirit.” In 4:14 the Lord Jesus said that whoever drinks of the water that He gives will have in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life. In chapter seven the Lord goes somewhat further, saying that anyone who drinks of Him will have the flow of the rivers of the water of life. The Lord did not speak just of one flow but of rivers. The unique river of living water is the Holy Spirit. Out of this unique river many rivers will flow out.
These rivers of living water are the many flows of the different aspects of life (cf. Rom. 15:30; 1 Thes. 1:6; 2 Thes. 2:13; Gal. 5:22-23) of the one unique river of water of life (Rev. 22:1), which is God’s Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2). One river is the river of peace, and other rivers are joy, comfort, righteousness, life, holiness, love, patience, and humility. These rivers of living water flow out from the depths of our being. This is the Spirit as living water.
The symbols of the breath, the wind, the rushing violent wind, clothing, and the living water indicate that we need the Spirit in many different ways. We need the Spirit as the breath for our spiritual living, as the wind to bring us air, as the rushing violent wind to blow upon us, especially when we are dead and dry, as our clothing to give us authority, and as the living water for us to drink.
H. THE GIFT
The Spirit is also called a gift (Acts 2:38; 10:45). God has given us a gift, and this gift is actually Himself in the form of the Spirit of reality. Hence, the Spirit of reality is a God-given gift freely given to us.
Acts 2:38 says, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, upon the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The gift of the Holy Spirit is not any gift distributed by the Spirit, as mentioned in Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:4, and 1 Peter 4:10; rather, it is the gift which is the Holy Spirit Himself, given by God to the believers in Christ as the unique gift that produces all the gifts mentioned in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and 1 Peter 4.
The Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38 is the all-inclusive Spirit of the processed Triune God in His New Testament economy, both essential for life and economical for power, given to the believers at the time of their believing in Christ (Eph. 1:13; Gal. 3:2) as the all-inclusive blessing of God’s full gospel (Gal. 3:14), so that they may enjoy all the riches of the Triune God (2 Cor. 13:14).
Acts 10:45 also speaks of the Spirit as a gift: “On the Gentiles also the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out.” As in 2:38, the gift of the Holy Spirit here refers to the Holy Spirit Himself, not something of the Holy Spirit given to the believers as a gift. This gift was poured out by God from the all-inclusive, resurrected, and ascended Christ. The pouring out of the Spirit after Christ’s ascension was the descending of the resurrected and ascended Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit to carry out His heavenly ministry on earth to build up His church (Matt. 16:18) as His Body (Eph. 1:23) for God’s New Testament economy.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)