Rivers of Living Water

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“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.”   Zechariah 14:8

This is hope.  These are words of hope.  Because when this prophecy begins in chapter 14, it’s not a pretty thing.  It starts with the destruction of Jerusalem, rape of it’s women, and it’s people being carried off, with only a remnant remaining.  But David’s words in Psalm 103 ring true and prophetic in themselves, I suppose because David, imperfect as he was, was identified by You, God, as a man after Your own heart.  That means that he knew You, he got who You were.  He knew that “[t]he Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear HIm.” (Psalm 103: 8-13)

You are such a compassionate Father, that there is coming this one day, Your day, when living water shall go out from Jerusalem, to the east and to the west, and nothing and no one will be the same.  Those left, of Israel, and of the other nations shall come to worship together and keep the feast of tabernacles together.  And not just some things, but everything from the horses to every pot will be made holy unto the Lord.

I can’t say I fully understand how You bring everything in Your word and everything in history together.  But I know that there are so many significant things we overlook that You are constantly weaving together.  Sometimes it’s just in remembering or seeing how certain words connect.  Like maybe there is significance in living waters, the feast of tabernacles, Jesus, and holiness.

What was the problem here in history?  Because I need to know.  Why?  Because I could have the same problem today.  I need to know so that I can agree with You God, be forgiven, and change direction.  Here’s what You said of Your people in Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Let’s not fool ourselves.  This isn’t just a problem of the past.  It’s a problem of today for both the Jew and the Gentile.  And it’s a problem where I can say I’m loving the Lord and living for Him, and be filling myself with everything but Him.  It’s so easy to interpret You as I want You to be and not as You are.  It’s so easy to only see what I want to see in Scripture and not see the truth.  Because it’s not up to my interpretation; it’s up to Your revelation to us.  And that’s not some magical thing.  It’s supernatural but it works through the natural.  It’s holding on to the whole story and not throwing away parts.

See, many of the Jews throw away the New Covenant teachings.  And many of the Gentiles throw away the Old Covenant teachings.  But it’s funny that Jesus, You who were a Jew and the Light to the Gentiles, said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  See, this stuff is all part of the Living Water.  And we, whether Jew or Gentile, can be like the Thessalonians and not even give any of this the time of day, not pay any attention because we are content with things the way they are and we don’t want our lives changed.  Or we can be like the more noble Berean’s, who happened to be Jews also, only they chose to receive Paul’s words of Christ eagerly, and go back and examine the Scriptures (and that’s the Old Covenant teachings) to see if Paul’s teachings agreed and were true.  And do you know what they found by the revelation of God’s word?  Many of them believed, and they were actually a light to the Gentiles, because a number of Greek women and men also believed.

So what does this have to do with Jesus and the feast of tabernacles?  We’ll get there.  In John 4:10, Jesus Himself states, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me to drink,’ you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.’” Now Jesus is sitting with and sharing this with a Samaritan woman at a well.  And this woman isn’t one of good social standing, beside the fact that she was a Samaritan and that was taboo in itself.  But Jesus is about changed lives, changed back into God’s holy image like we were created to be.  So “the woman said unto him, ‘Sir you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from where then have you that living water?’” He is that Living Water that was foretold in Scripture. 

Later, Jesus reiterated this truth.  “He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)  See, “as the scripture has said.”  But what if I can’t find an exact verse in scripture that says that?  Does that make it void?  Absolutely not.  But it’s written all over and throughout scripture in the heart of the word.  We see it in a little slave girl, stolen from her homeland, working under a great man named Naaman.  He gets leprosy and she could have cursed him and watched him die.  But why doesn’t she?  Because she understands somehow that there are living waters of healing in God.  So she sends Naaman to the man of God who can share those living waters with him.  And he washes in the water, the dirty water, in faith under the Living Water.  So if you look and you want to see, it’s there.  And that’s just one example.

In Nehemiah 9 we are reminded, “You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.”  Who can bring water out of a rock and meet all the needs of a people like that?  There is no life without food and water.  And one can last longer without food than without water.  God provides the Living Water that can satisfy our eternal thirst.  That living water is the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

And what does that have to do with the feast of Tabernacles?  “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37,38)  And Paul goes on to tie that in more firmly for us and to help us understand, “And all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)  This feast is a symbolic culmination of all the festivals.  This is seven days of rejoicing in the Lord for His provision.  It’s the reaping of the harvest and the rejoicing over it.  There is a ceremony of pouring out wine.  Is that just to rejoice in the grape harvest?  Or is that deeper, like the pouring out of the blood of Christ for Your glory and our redemption?  But it also became a tradition that’ was there during Jesus’ time on earth, to put out water. 

This feast of tabernacles or Sukkoth reflects the 40 years that the Israelites lived in the wilderness in tents.  It’s all about God’s provision, about that Rock that gave them their water.  That’s why Jesus stood there, as the wine and water were being poured out and spoke so that all could know that He was the fulfillment of that picture.  And the truth is we are all strangers and sojourners in this wilderness of a life, just like they were.  But Paul tells us that we can know “that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1)  There is a seven day feast.  Seven, because it symbolizes perfection and completeness and holiness of God’s redemptive plan in the time and place He chooses.  There is a day coming, when we will be altogether joyful.  (Deuteronomy 16:15)  There’s a day when God will pull it all together in Jesus.  Let us not be of those who are destroyed because of lack of belief.  Let us be among those who see because we searched out the truth and the truth has set us free to be joyful forever in You. 

I mean, if it’s true that “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety nine just persons, which need no repentance,” (Luke 15:7) then imagine this day that so many come together before the Living Waters!  Imagine that rejoicing!  If “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents,” imagine the rejoicing in this day.  I want to be a part of that rejoicing, Lord.  But I don’t want to wait to do all my rejoicing then.  I want rivers of Your living water to flow from me, from my belly so that others will be touched by those waters.  I want to rejoice in Your living waters starting now, so that I’ll have many brothers and sisters rejoicing beyond words with me on that future day.  I want to give the angels so much reason for rejoicing that they are more than ecstatically joyful!

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