“Water Fountain Here”

37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice,  “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7)

This scene takes place in Judea during a great Jewish festival called “The Feast of the Tabernacles.”  As with many of their religious ceremonies, this festival was a time to celebrate the goodness of God and force them to remember what God had done for them in the past.  (With the theme being “Water” and “Light”)

For it was a number of years ago that Israel was wondering through the desert after being freed from Egypt.  And as the desert life began to wear on them, they became disoriented & thirsty.

And so The Bible tells us what God did for his people through Moses . . .

8  “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”
9 So Moses took the staff from the LORD’s presence, just as he commanded him.  10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them,  “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”  11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.  (Numbers 20)

And so now many years later they are still celebrating this yearly memorial of God’s goodness to them in providing water (past).  It was the water that gave them life and further strength and how he continued to give it to them through rain in nourishing their crops (present).

But they also knew there was something very future to this act of providing water.  That on a spiritual side God would provide a great pouring out of God’s love and salvation through the Savior.  Recalling the prophets words…

1  “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. (Zech 13)

So while Jesus was hanging out and teaching during this 7-day ceremony, it finally came down to the last day. I believe, as do many commentators, that since “one the last day” was mentioned, that the final ritual was taking place.

It would be early in the morning with a huge processional led by the High Priest holding a container of water through the streets of Judea.  There would be three blasts from a trumpet.  After reciting a number Psalms, they would all shouted, “Give thanks to the Lord!” 3 times.

Then as a symbol of God providing water through the rock and through rainfall, but also a symbol of God’s future outpouring of his salvation, they poured the water into a bowl.

Many scholars believe it is at this point, during this sacred time, Jesus stands and shouts . . .

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”

And so what Jesus is saying here is, “What you are symbolizing here…I am it! Your anticipation of God one day pouring out his love and presence to the whole world is here, and it is through me that you receive it!”

In the midst of a world where many are still seeking the future, blessing and dieing of spiritual thirst, who will now stand up and point them to the thirst-quenching power of Christ?

Christ is no longer physically here, standing up, and drawing people to himself.  We are the ones commissioned to now stand up and shout with our words and acts of love, “Anyone who is thirsty, let him come to Christ and drink!


~ by Dave Smith on June 29, 2008.

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