Putting God's Word into Practice…

John 7 – Thirst Quenching Truth

on May 23, 2012

Strap on your reading glasses and prepare to be amazed by the perfect timing and planning of our great God!

Jesus was under constant opposition:

  1. In Judea people were seeking to kill Him (1).
  2. His brothers wanted Him to put on a “magic show” (3-4).
  3. His brothers did not believe in Him (5).
  4. The world hated Him because He testified to the evil in it (7).
  5. Jews at the Feast were muttering about Him (12,32).
  6. Jesus’–the creator of the mind, wisdom and all things–authority and knowledge is questioned by man (15).
  7. The crowd accuses Him of being demon-possessed (20).
  8. Many were seeking to arrest Him (30,44).

Yet Jesus fearlessly and boldly spoke the truth.  That’s grace!  He could have said, “I’m done with you people!” and walked away.  But He continued on, according to the Father’s will, for those who would believe that He came to save them.  We see, too, in verse 18 the difference between speaking on one’s own authority for one’s own glory and the One who spoke by the authority of God for God’s glory.  The first can be characterized by lying, exaggerating, selfish motives and a prideful heart.  But the second comes with powerful truth and is usually accompanied with persecution and rejection.

This whole chapter took place during the Feast of Booths–Sukkot.  In the book God’s Appointed Times: A Practical Guide for Understanding and Celebrating the Biblical Holidays by Barney Kasdan, we get a detailed history of those holy days and the significance to Jesus’ message in this chapter of John.  According to Leviticus 23:33-34 Sukkot had three main parts: the Jews rejoiced before the Lord for seven days; they were to offer daily burnt offerings, grain offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings; and they built temporary booths to stay in commemorating the years in the wilderness when God dwelt among them and faithfully protected and provided for them after their exodus from slavery in Egypt.

One of the traditional practices of Sukkot is to wrap “The Four Species” together and wave them.  Here is a list of the species and their spiritual significance:

  1. Citron-a fruit that tastes and smells sweet (people with knowledge and good deeds)
  2. Date palm branches-tastes sweet, but has not fragrance (have knowledge without good deeds)
  3. Myrtle-No taste, but smells fragrant (those with no knowledge, but are morally “good”)
  4. Willow-no taste and no fragrance (one who lacks knowledge and deeds)

This sounds like a mix of the people in John 7 and a mix of the people in our own present day churches.

But here’s my favorite Sukkot tradition!

A priest would take a water pitcher down to the Pool of Siloam, dip it in the water and carry it back to the Temple. Crowds of people would form a  huge processional behind the priest,dancing, singing, and chanting the Hallel Psalms (113-118) as they entered the Temple mount.  For each of the first six days of Sukkot, the processional would circle the Temple altar one time, and on the seventh day (Hoshana Rabbah) there would be seven processionals to magnify the joy.

The highlight of the ceremony came when the priest dramatically poured the water at the altar of the Temple.  The response of the multitudes was so immense that the Talmud says whoever has not been in Jerusalem for this ceremony has not even experienced real joy!  Hence, it became known as Simbcha Bet Ha-sho-evah (the Rejoicing of the House of Drawing Water).


Why all the rejoicing at this water pouring ceremony?  (It) speaks of deeper truths from Isaiah 12:3 in regard to the ceremony:  With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Salvation in Hebrew is yeshua, the name of the Messiah).

John 7:37-39 says, 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 this heart will flow rivers of living water’.”  Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Jesus is the Savior–the Messiah!  He came to bring salvation!  He came to dwell with His people!  Then He returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell IN His people!  God’s Spirit dwells in me!  God’s Spirit dwells in ALL who believe in Jesus!  And the Holy Spirit doesn’t just dwell–He fills and overflows us with living water!  That is good news to a barren and dry heart!

Lord, forgive me for behaving like a willow!  Make me like a citron by the power of your Holy Spirit who teaches knowledge, refreshes my heart and produces fragrant fruit in my life.  Fill me with Your living water so that I can spill out on others your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control!  All Your ways are perfect!  Your timing is impeccable! You are my Savior! You quench my thirst! In Jesus’ holy name, Amen!

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