Six months before He died, Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, the religious centre. Pilgrims would converge on the city for a week of celebration.Throughout His ministry, Jesus received a mixed response. The Feast of Tabernacles provided the ideal opportunity for Jesus to address the doubters and the unbelievers. You may be surprised to learn that the Jewish religious leaders were among the group of unbelievers, being more interested in their traditions than Jesus Christ. I believe Jesus would speak these same words to those of you who are religious, doubters or unbelievers – it is a word in season just for you.
On the last day of the Festival, Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:37-38). The context of Jesus’ words is fascinating. Each day of the Festival, pilgrims would watch the priests march in procession from the Pool of Siloam to the temple and pour water at the base of the altar. The water-drawing ceremony pointed towards the hope of rivers of living water flowing from the temple, bringing life to all the earth. Jesus is inviting you to come to Him to quench your spiritual thirst. He promises to give the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him – causing streams of living water to flow from them. Without Jesus you have temporary, physical life, with Jesus you have Life – eternal, spiritual, and abundant.
During the festival, the Jews remembered the deliverance when the cloud (by day) and the pillar of fire (by night) led the children of Israel through the wilderness. They celebrated with a torch parade. In the context of the lighting ceremony, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”(John 8:12). Whenever and wherever the cloud/pillar of fire led, the children of Israel followed. Jesus is calling you to follow Him. His Word will light the path of your life.
At the Feast, Jesus healed a man blind from birth. This is so symbolic of our own spiritual blindness from birth. He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9:6-7). John, the writer of this gospel, explains that the ‘Siloam’ means ‘sent’. The water in the pool of Siloam was piped in, or ‘sent’ from the Gihon springs, outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Jesus was ‘sent’ by God to be our Saviour, and Jesus ‘sends’ us to wash in the Word of God. The words of Jesus have the ability to wash away your spiritual blindness and open your eyes to a whole new world – God’s world!
The religious leaders added themselves to the church and Jesus rebuked them by saying, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1). The only way into God’s family is through Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7). Just as weeds grow with the wheat, so there are many people pretending to be true followers. God allows them to remain, but the day will come when the wheat and the weeds are separated by God. It is not for man to judge, we cannot see the heart of man as God can. Your invitation today is to come to God the only legitimate way – through Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to be your shepherd. He is good and knows how to care for that which belongs to Him.
I believe the words of Jesus are powerful. They have the ability to deliver you from darkness, open your eyes, give you entrance into the kingdom of God, quench your spiritual thirst and fill you with the life of God. Only believe.