Go with the Flow
1. Americans are a people who love to celebrate holidays. I do not think anyone would argue that the three major holidays we celebrate throughout the year would be Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July. At Christmas we celebrate our spiritual faith. On Thanksgiving we celebrate our material favors. On the Fourth of July we celebrate our political freedom.
2. The Jewish people also love to celebrate holidays. They call their holidays ''feasts.'' There were three great annual national ''feasts'' in the Jewish religious calendar. The first was the Feast of the Passover; the second was known as the Feast of Pentecost; and the third was known as the Feast of Tabernacles. Now we know from v.2 that Jesus was speaking here during the Feast of Tabernacles.
3. This was a high, happy, holy day in the life of the Jew. The Feast of Tabernacles was like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. During that feast the High Priest would go to the Pool of Siloam, take a golden pitcher, dip it into that pool, and carry it back to the temple. There he would pour that water out on the altar of sacrifice. At that moment the Levites would blow the trumpets, and the great crowd would cry out, ''With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.'' (Isaiah 12:3)
4. There would be leaping, and dancing, and shouting, and singing, and great hallelujah's would fill the air. It was right at this climax of this great holiday that the Lord Jesus stood up in that crowd, and with that royal, regnant, resilient voice, cried out, ''If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.'' (v.37b)
5. You see, Jesus realized that these people were drinking from the river of ritual, and drawing water from the well of religion. That after this day was over they would go back to the same old fears, the same old faults, the same old foibles, the same old failures, the same old frustrations.
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