“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:38,39
This is the last day of the feast, “the great day” as Scripture puts it. So does it matter what feast? Yes, it really does matter what feast. Because Your words here Jesus resound with significance and power when we know exactly what was going on here. Well, they resound with just as much power even if we don’t know what’s going on, we just won’t be influenced as much by the power if we don’t know. Like the Pharisees and authorities who spoke of searching the Scriptures and stated that “No prophet arises from Galilee.” Really?! Well, no, but Micah 5:2 tells us “but you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” So here they were, not really seeking the truth, because if they were, they would have asked, “Were You born in Bethlehem?” And if they had searched into it, searched for the truth, they would have found it and found You at the same time.
So here it is, the last day of the feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. And it’s all about redemption. And here’s the significance of the last day and the significance of Your chosen words at this moment. Because just imagine that these words were spoken at this particular moment when this particular symbolic action was taking place. But I digress. Let me explain.
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays explains the rituals of the Feast of Tabernacles. “Before the festival, the Rabbis taught on every passage in Scripture dealing with water. In Old Testament Biblical times, gold pitchers of water were brought from the pool of Siloam to the temple. [Just an outside note here, Jesus was living in “Old Testament” times still…] The Priest would pour out the water over the altar to signify Israel’s gratitude for the rain that had produced the harvest, and would pray for rain in the next year. The priest would recite Isaiah 12:1-3. ‘And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” So here was this prayer for rain but also a reminder of the “coming Messiah who had promised to pur out His Holy Spirit on the people.”
This is the day that You chose to stand up and cry out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Outer ritual was not enough. Outer ritual was empty. Here You stood, the fulfilment of the symbol of the ritual. And the Jews knew You were saying that. It caused division. The officers who were supposed to arrest You said, “No one ever spoke like this man!” What’s that mean? No one ever said they were God before and spoke with such authority. You came to give life and give it abundantly. You came to fill people with Your rivers of living water. But it brought division. And it’s still bringing division today.
But, Lord, You weren’t surprised by the division. And I shouldn’t be either. You said, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53) And it all depends on one simple thing, how thirsty we are.
“If anyone is thirsty, come, drink.” Sometimes we are not thirsty, or at least not thirsty for what we ought to drink. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines thirst as “One of the most powerful natural appetities, the craving for water or other drink. Besides its natural significance, thirst is figuratively used of strong spiritual desire.” “Do you strongly desire Me, do you crave Me? Come to Me. Drink of Me. Imbibe Me. Believe in Me. Let me into You and get into Me. Because once You let Me inside, I’ll start overflowing out of You with true Life.”
1 Corinthians 4:11 tells us “To this present hour we are hungry and thirsty , poorly clothed, knocked about, and homeless.” That’s because the craving, the desire doesn’t stop. I must crave more of You because to see and taste that the Lord is good leads to a greater desire for more of You. Because here I live in this world that isn’t like You. But I want it to be like You. I want everything to taste like You. And this is so important that You tell us there will come a day. There will be a day when “No longer will they go hungry, neither will they thirst again; the sun will not beat down upon them, nor any scorching heat.” (Revelation 7:16) And again in Revelation 21:6 You say, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who thirsts I will give permission to drink free of charge from the spring of the water of life.” And in Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come forward; and whoever so desires, let him receive the water of life free of charge.”
Lord, I’m so thirsty for You it hurts. And it seems the thirstier I get for You, the more division breaks out in my life, well, at least around me. And it cuts to the core and argues with what I believe. I don’t know. Maybe we find what we’re really looking for. If I’m looking for a God who directs my individual steps, I find a God who directs my individual steps. If I’m only looking for a God who keeps me in the general way, that’s all the God I’ll find. But I wonder if I’m looking for God or god? I mean, if You fill me with rivers of living water, with Your Holy Spirit, then how can You not guide my every step? I mean, there You are, right with me, every step of the way. Lord, I just want to come to You. I have. And I want to continually come to You, even in the midst of being in You. I want to line myself up with You. What a farce to think You should ever line any part of You up with my thinking! Let me throw out my thinking and take on Yours. I’m forever thirsty, Lord, and I’m thirsty for You. Be my satisfaction and fill me with Your living waters. I believe. I’m diving in to Your living waters.