Today we come to one of the celebrations of Israel that holds much significance for us today. Let’s dive in.
The Feast of Booths - The feast of booths also known as the feast of tabernacles was the last celebration of the sacred year. This feast fell on Tishri, the Jewish lunar month that falls between September-October. The reason it is called the feast of tabernacles is because the Jews are celebrating the time Israel spent wandering in the wilderness and their exile from Egypt and the deliverance given by God. During their time in the wilderness, the Israelites lived in tabernacles. So all the Jews would travel to Jerusalem, to celebrate the Feast of tabernacles. The people would make booths of trees, leaves, and palm branches to live in for the eight days. The people already living in Jerusalem would build booths in their courtyards and flat roof tops to participate. During this feast there was a water-drawing and lamp-lighting ceremony to commemorate their wandering in the wilderness. The water drawing ceremony was a reminder of how God gave them water in the wilderness from a rock. In Exodus 17 when the Israelites camped at Rephidim there was no water for them to drink. God commanded Moses to strike a rock with his staff and when he did water flowed from the rock that quenched the thirst of the Israelites in that moment. That moment not only pointed to the savior but it pointed in the way God would use the savior.
Jesus Who Brings Living Waters - Now that we know what they are celebrating, the context sheds a lot of light for us. Jesus in verse 37-38 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 his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Jesus is not just shouting out random statements. When the people are performing the water drawing ceremony he wants to show them that he is that rock that can quench their spiritual thirst. Jesus times this perfectly because as the people are remembering how their ancestors suffered thirst in the wilderness, Jesus offers himself as the rock from which living waters can flow out from. But the living waters he offers is not just enough to quench their physical thirsts, but it is enough to quench the thirst of the soul, one that has a deep longing to be satisfied. Instead of going to other things, instead of making other gods, instead of running to other people, Jesus says come to me because I can quench the deep thirst that you feel in your soul. Jesus is the rock that if you come to him will flow rivers of living water. He was showing the Jewish people that he was the Messiah that would take away their sins, he was the ancient rock and cornerstone that the Old Testament spoke of. In front of the Jews was the one who would be able to eliminate their thirst completely. The people knew what he was saying, they knew the story of the water that came from the rock and that is exactly why the Pharisees got angry and jealous at him because they knew that he was proclaiming himself to be the messiah to take away their sins. Brothers and sisters, if you have had a deep thirst in your soul that has not been satisfied by anything else, I urge you to run to Christ. Run to the savior, run to the Messiah, run to the rock that is able to completely quench the thirst of the soul. That rivers of living water flow out of your heart.