Feast of the Tabernacles

Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.”     John 7:37-38 (WEB)

It is no wonder that this book, the Bible, has been on the Best Sellers List – forever! There is always something new to learn. When you take the time to look up some Biblical history and learn some things about the feast that is mentioned here, it can make what Jesus said even more extraordinary.

The feast is the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2). The people would sleep in tents remembering their nomadic ancestors. During this feast there is the reenactment of the Moses and the rock which gave water to the Israelites. Each morning a priest would bring a golden pitcher with water from the Gihon spring and carry it to the temple. People lined the streets. With trumpets heralding the event, the priest pours the water all around the altar. He would do this every morning for seven days. On the seventh day – “the last and greatest day of the Feast” – the priest would do a Jericho march, going seven times around the altar, pouring the water. It may have been at this time that Jesus, seeing the water poured out, said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! (emphasis mine). Remember that Jesus had said,

“I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”     John 6:32-33 (NIV, my emphasis)

Jesus was trying to get them to see that what Moses started and they continued to remember was bread and water that would not satisfy them. They would always have to go back for more. Jesus had the ultimate answer. The new covenant with Him would give them eternal satisfaction.

When I am thirsty, I take a drink of water. I don’t deny myself this important ingredient that sustains my life. While I can fast from food for several days and not die, 3 days without water will bring serious medical problems as the delicate balance of electrolytes is destroyed. When I am ‘spiritually thirsty’, I do not respond so quickly and without a second thought to assuage that thirst! How foolish I am! Spiritual thirst brings about fear, worry, guilt, shame, to name a few. When I take a drink of water, I don’t have to tell it where to go and what areas are ‘dry’ in my body! I don’t have to tell the Holy Spirit where to go when my spirit is thirsty. The apostle, John, tells me in a kind of ‘parentheses’ statement what the ‘water’ Jesus shouted about was:

But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn’t yet glorified. John 7:39 (WEB)

And so when worry or anything else makes me feel ‘ill’ and pulled down, may I stop and take a drink of the Holy Spirit whether it be in prayer, a song, or just a quiet open-handed outreach that says, “Jesus, I am so thirsty! I receive what You have for me now.”

When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.      Acts 4:31 (WEB)

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