During the last and great day of the Feast of Booths ( Feast of Tabernacles, or Feast of Ingathering), Jesus stood and proclaimed, "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." John 7:37-38. Without a proper understanding of Jewish culture and festival practices, one might think this was an unusual setting for Christ's words. But, John always gives valuable details of his journeys with Christ so that we might believe and be saved.
One such detail is the setting that we see in John 7:37. During the last day of the Feast, according to Jewish tradition, the high priest would lead a procession of people out to the Pool of Siloam to fill a golden picture with water from the pool. The procession would then return through the Water Gate with much rejoicing and celebration along with a reading or singing of Psalm 113-118. After returning to the altar, the high priest would then recite Isaiah 12:1-3 while pouring out the water.
This water pouring ceremony took place as a memorial to God's providing water in the wildernesss, (Exodus 17:1-7) and looking ahead to God providing the necessary rains to help produce crops for the coming year. Ironically, the priest would red Isaiah 12:1-3 which says "And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
Why is this ironic? you might ask. Well, could it be that at this very moment, when the crowds quietened down to hear the priest speak, that Jesus stands and proclaims Himself as the ultimate thirst quencher? Even more ironic than this are the very words that came out of the priest's mouth. In Is. 12:3, he said "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." The Hebrew word for salvation looks like this:
יְשׁוּעָהThis transliterated in English is "yeshuwah". Does this sound familiar? This is the very name of our english, "Jesus". Talk about incredible timing and utterance! Jesus IS the well of salvation! Suddenly the Jews saw with their own eyes the fulfillment of the Old Testament shadow of the Rock that was smitten to give water to the thirsty. He now offers Himself universally with the "if any man" statement. But He makes the offer conditional only to those who "thirst".
So, what do you thirst for? God designed us to be thirsty. However, we try to quench that thirst with materialism, temporary things and pleasures of the flesh. But, God in His grace, makes these temporal things unsatisfying so that we will continually thirst for true satisfaction. True satisfaction will not be found until we come and drink of the Ultimate Thirst Quencher, Jesus Christ.
Once we drink of the well of salvation, we now become the channel of the Holy Spirit to others through the preaching of the gospel and outward manifestations of love toward our neighbor. We now have a river flowing out of us as believers. We are the instruments to help bring others to the well to have their thirst quenched. But, if our river is not flowing outward to others, we can expect no joy or any other fruit of the Spirit. Besides, everyone knows that still water will become stagnant. Let's examine ourselves to see if we're being satisfied in Jesus and if we're being an outflow of the Holy Spirit.