CHRIST INVITES THE THIRSTY
"On the last and greatest day of the feast Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty let him come unto Me and drink. Whosoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said streams of living water will flow from within him ". John 7:37,38.
The Jewish Ceremonial Religious Law was filled with sacrifices, ordinances and festivals. These had two-fold references connected with their institution, a literal one and a typified one, the shadow of things to come, referring to the Messiah. One of these feasts lasted for eight days and was called The Feast of Tabernacles.
According to the provision of the law, the Festival was observed on the 15th day of the seventh month of the religious calendar to celebrate the completion of the autumn harvest. Features of the holy gathering on the first and eighth days of the spiritual observance included animal offerings. The Israelites were commanded to live in booths made of palm and willow trees during the festival to commemorate Israel's period of wilderness living in temporary shelters.
Daily the priests went out of the water gate in solemn procession to the pool of Siloam from which water was fetched, a part of which they drink and the rest they poured upon the altar in remembrance of the water that was supplied to their forefathers when they were wandering in the wilderness. This was accompanied by the recital of Isaiah12: 3. "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation". The Pool of Siloam was a reservoir.
It was a dramatic ceremony established as a memorial, when water and food were scarce before the people emerged from the desert into the land of Canaan, where they enjoyed regular rainfall and plentiful crops. This particular rite that included the pouring out of water drawn from the pool of Siloam, became one of the later additions to the ceremonial service and was the setting for Jesus' comments on "living water," as was the lighting of huge Menorahs (candelabras) at the Court of the Women, the background for Jesus' statement, "I am the light of the world," John 8:12 which was also an added feature. The water and the "pillar of light" provided during the wilderness wandering when the nation of Israel dwelt in tents, were temporary and in contrast to the continuing water and light claimed by Jesus during this feast which commemorated these issues.
The water offering commemorated God's provision for the thirsty, but here in The Temple the people were left unsatisfied. The Jewish people had gone through the religious observance, but their hearts remained empty, they had not truly understood.
Daily the people marched with palm branches around the great altar and shook their branches in a frenzy of enthusiasm. A priest took a golden pitcher, filled with water from the pool and poured it on the altar of burnt offerings.
The visiting crowds at Jerusalem swelled to overflowing at the festive occasion. Every Jewish family was required to move out of their homes and live in booths or tents in remembrance of Israel's wanderings.
Jesus was present. Before they departed for their own homes from the weeklong festivities, Jesus stood and cried out to them. "If any man thirst." The imploring statement was a promise from The Speaker. The practice was for speakers to be seated, but Jesus stood. God spoke and invited the people by His own co-equal, co- essential Son, the One greater than Moses of The Law, He was the Giver of the Law.
His standing denotes His great earnestness. The elevation of self and voice were indications of His intensity, which made Jesus' invitation and offer of the water of Eternal Life more startling.
Jesus gave an invitation to seek satisfaction for spiritual thirst. He did not err in His judgement. He saw the circumstances of all the people and knew what they required. He invited the thirsty. His invitation was simple with no pompous terms; hence the poor and the illiterate received instruction and were delighted to hear Him. He did not varnish over the condition of His hearers. He was full of zeal to execute the work of His teaching and preaching to all classes.
Jesus' cry declared Himself to be the long awaited Messiah who would pour out God's Holy Spirit. Jesus' speech at a crucial moment to the crowds was dramatic and very important. All week Jesus had taught the people, He waited until the right moment to declare Himself publicly who He was. Many acknowledged He was the Christ.
Jesus publicly announced to His audience that He has the source of true satisfying drink, He is The Source from whom to receive of The Holy Spirit.
Thirst in Scripture is the spiritual need that only God can satisfy. There is no true satisfaction for pure spiritual thirst apart from God. Spiritual thirst is quenched and is experienced through Jesus Christ. This is known by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Satisfaction is promised, a gracious promise not according to the wish of humankind but according to the Scripture. Living running water is in motion continuously. The Holy Spirit quickens principles of the spiritual life.
In contrast to the small amount of water poured out each day which empties the pitcher, a believer in Christ is promised to have a river flowing from their inner most being continually.
Appetites of hungering and thirsting after righteousness are a state of a soul. Those who thirst are both sinners and the saved. Thirst burns from the soul with no comfort, no peace and no contentment. In this worldly wilderness there is no pure refreshing streams to receive and satisfy the desired relief.
Like water, the grace gifts and influence of The Holy Spirit cleanses, purifies, removes pollution and provides holy fruits. The Living Water is The Holy Spirit. Water also speaks of the renewing of The Holy Spirit.
The invitation Jesus gives of drinking water is the gracious indwelling of The Holy Spirit. This stream of flowing water quenches the thirsty soul, that is refreshed, revived and is strengthened. Jesus invites the thirsty to come unto Him and drink of The Holy Spirit. Only Christ can bestow this gracious gift from God..
As Moses had drawn water from a rock at God's direction, the crowd began to believe Jesus was sent from God as the prophet greater than Moses and many believed that He was The Messiah, but from that point on the hostility of Jesus' opposers mounted.
To go to Christ and receive the infilling of Living Water one must believe in Him, to receive Him as The Son of God and The Saviour of the World. These are they that can drink the fullness of the benefits of Christ's salvation and work of The Cross.
Jesus promised to give the Water of Life, to impart what is needed, pardoning grace, adopting grace and sanctifying grace. He promised a full supply, the gift imparted will be useful to bless others. God blesses humankind to be a blessing.
Jesus had repeated His message that He first told the Samarian Woman. The invitation is to come to Him, not to the ceremonial Law but to submit to Him as the Fountain of Living Water, the giver of all comfort.
If any person hungers and thirsts after righteousness, that is to truly desire to do the good will of God and have the good work of The Holy Spirit in them, they can be satisfied if they take into their hearts Jesus' invitation.
There is no one who could not be saved if they would come to Christ. False teachings promise the blessing of refreshment to others but are worthless and empty. Those seeking and accepting spiritual satisfaction in God are rewarded, their final reward being Heaven.
Unless a person is aware of the true spiritual lack they will never go to Christ who invites the truly thirsty soul to come to Him, not to a denomination made of men, but to Him.
Jesus had spoken in Herod's Temple in Jerusalem, but today The Temple is a living House of the people. No one is indwelt by The Holy Spirit for oneself, life streams flow out to others. The believer receives satisfying spiritual blessings and has goodness flowing out to others. The Holy Spirit honours Christ by bringing others to Christ.
This same invitation is repeated as Jesus speaks of His last words in The Book of Revelation.
"Whoever is thirsty, let him come and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Revelation 22:17
|SCRIPTURES John 7: 38-39, 2 Peter 2:17, Revelation 22:17.
QUESTIONS 1] How is spiritual thirst to be found? 2] Who promises empty and worthless rereshment? 3] What is the final reward for thirsty seekers?
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