WATER FOR THE THIRSTY SOUL
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive” (John 7:37-39).
The Feast of Tabernacles was one of three assemblies required of all male Israelites. It was perhaps the most festive of all assemblies—a feast of gathering in their crops. It was a time of rejoicing for what the Lord had provided for them. “When ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Sabbath…and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days…Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 23:39-43). It is specifically stated that the offerings of this feast were in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and in addition to their gifts and whatever they had vowed, as well as all the freewill offerings given to the Lord.
According to some commentators, on the last day of the feast, there was a solemn ceremony called the Pouring Out of Water. The priests took a golden vessel of water from the pool of Siloam, which was considered sacred, brought it into the temple with trumpets sounding, and upon the ascent to the altar, poured it out before the Lord with joyfulness. It was perhaps done in commemoration of the refreshing stream which had come forth miraculously from the rock at Meribah (Exod. 17:1-7). The rock flowed forth life-giving water when smitten.
In this setting, it must have shocked the devout Jews, and perhaps particularly the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, to hear Him make such a proclamation on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The last day, that great day, was the culmination of all that the rituals of the Law could do for a person. They had observed all that was commanded.
On the final day of the feast, Jesus invited His listeners to something more. He said, “If your soul still thirsts, if you have found no fulfillment in all you have done, in all that the Law prescribes, then come to Me. I will fill you.” Many today are searching for fulfillment where it cannot be found. Political activism, environmentalism, sports, entertainment, the latest technology, material gain, religion, community or social issues can never fill man’s spiritual thirst. Each activity brings a desire for more, constantly seeking fulfillment, trying to satisfy the emptiness. Jesus says, “If you are still thirsty, come to Me. I will put my Spirit in you. You will have a spring of running water flowing out from your inner being for your own thirst and to offer to the thirsty souls you find along life’s journey.”
First Corinthians 10:4 says that Israel “drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” They drank, but only on occasion, of the Rock that was to come (follow), but believers drink of a Rock within them—Christ in them. Provision is not only made for their immediate need or thirst but for their continuing need and thirst. The believer is to drink from living water—running water—ever pure, plentiful, bountiful, and constant. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Some other languages translate issues as meaning a spring or fountain. The heart fixed on Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit is a continual source of blessing. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
Jesus is still offering this living water today. We live in the gospel age. There is no need to resort to cisterns or broken cisterns that hold no water when we have the very source available to us. Let us drink from the living fountain and take the news to thirsty souls in our neighborhoods and around the world. There is a “fountain free” available to all.
Messenger of Truth, 2016, No. 17