There are deceivers, and there are the deceived. I really don't want to be either of those.
I know myself well enough to recognize that I am not immune to being taken in. I want so much to believe the best about people, and part of that inclination is to believe that people are good and honest, rather than corrupt and deceitful.
As Jesus taught and established himself with the people, there were those who were cautious, checking him out, not wanting to be taken in. So Jesus constantly made affirmations of his identity, because the crowds were divided. "Is he the Messiah? Is he who he claims to be? Are the words he speaks from God, or is he a charlatan?"
People are asking those very same questions today!
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"
- John 7:37-38, NASB
Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, and on the very last day, the seventh day (some say there were eight), Jesus stood amid the crowd and shouted this "living-water" message.
Why this message? And why this day?
Context is Critical
Throughout the Feast of Tabernacles, fathers and mothers built and stayed in tabernacles (tents) constructed of palm and myrtle branches. The families slept in these palm tents, looking at the stars as they explained to their children the way God cared for the Israelites for forty years in the wilderness. The families recounted the promise of God to Abraham, that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars.
Every day, during the feast, the people came up to the temple as one of the priests journeyed down to the pool of Siloam (The Pool of the Sent One) where he drew about three pints of water into a golden pitcher. This water, drawn from Siloam was carried back to the Temple through the Water Gate. As the water approached, the remaining priests surrounded the alter with their palm and myrtle branches, as Isaiah 12:3 was read aloud: "With joy shall we draw water from the wells of salvation."
The crowd, then, joined the celebration, singing sing various Hallel psalms, thousands of voices crying out in celebration. The priests read again, from Isaiah 44:3 "For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants (Isaiah 44:3, ESV).
The priest with the water stood at the west end of the alter while another priest with wine stood at the east end of the alter. They each poured their liquid into silver funnels. The wine and water mixed and ran out onto the ground at the base of the alter, signifying God's blessing, and provision, as seen in the rock that followed the Israelites through the wilderness when they left their enslavement in Egypt.
I know that's a lot to absorb, but I believe it is important to understand what's happening in the temple, day after day, during the Feast of Tabernacles. Now we are on the last day of the feast, the "great day." This feast day was solemn and quiet, unlike the previous celebratory days.
On the last day of the feast, the priest went again to the pool of Siloam, but he returned with an empty pitcher to signify the ongoing thirst of Israel, their longing for the Messiah, the one who would come and pour out his spirit on the nation.
Toward the end of the priestly reading, the crowd heard this: "Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!" And it is that context in which Jesus made his loud cry.
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water."
- John 7:37b-38, NASB
Jesus IS the rock that followed the Israelites through the wilderness, providing them an endless stream of water. And now, any who thirst can have that endless flow of living water from their inmost being. If you thirst, come to Jesus and drink.
You know, and I know that Jesus is not talking about physical thirst, because the text tells us he was speaking of the Spirit of God. This is a spiritual craving - a vacuum of the soul. We do thirst. We crave for something to fill our emptiness.
The longing to fill this emptiness is a magnet for inadequate secular solutions - psychotherapy, the drug industry, perverse sexuality, the pursuit of power that causes men to trample one another. Make no mistake, the devil knows we thirst, and that we will bow down to multiple idols promising to fill our void.
Every solution the world offers addresses either the physical body, or the emotional. None of them addresses the spiritual, and as a result, each fails to sate the gnawing emptiness within us. The spiritual man, the spiritual woman - this is where our thirst resides. It is a thirst that can be satisfied with nothing less than the living water Jesus provides.
Neither you nor any human being on earth can offer anything - anything at all - to satisfy the craving in the human spirit. The only thing that can quench that thirst is coming to Jesus as the fountain, and partaking of the water of life.
So in stark contrast to the Dos Equis man, I do not say, "Stay thirsty my friends." No. No, I say let the one who is thirsty come. Come to the fountain and be satisfied.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Victoriously in Christ!
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