22 May Living Water
Posted at 20:46h in blog
As City Church walks through the series “There and Back Again” and we take a look at parallels of the Older and Newer Testament, I cannot help but think of two places in scripture: one from the last book of the Bible, the other from the life of Jesus.
Revelation 22:17 says, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him teak the free gift of the water of life.” This passage always hits me at my core. As you read through Revelation and see all the pain, suffering, death, and disaster that happens because of sin—when all seems to be hopeless and lost—the end of the book is a promise from the Lord that if you want life and freedom then all you have to do is come and drink. To me, it speaks of the undeniable love of God who wants nothing more than for all people to escape judgment and to come face to face with him.
We see this echoed in the life of Jesus in John 7:37-38, in what is called the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Sukkot). Jesus stands within the walls of the Temple and declares to all who can hear him that, “if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” During this week long feast the Jewish people would build make shift booths and tents out of palms and willow branches and live in them for a week. It was a very celebratory time where they would remember the provision of God in the wilderness when their ancestors wandered for forty years. Today, this is still practiced by Jewish people all over the world and it is a time of food, celebration, community, and togetherness.
During the time of Jesus (called the Second Temple period) a particular ceremony would take place in the Temple. At the beginning of the week the High Priest and his assistants would go to Pool of Silaom (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:2–4; John 9) and fill a large gold basin of water and carry it back to the Temple. Every day they would take a bowl full of the water and a bowl full of wine and they would pour it out in the middle of the Temple. Poured out, the liquid would form the image of a stream flowing through the Temple, no doubt bringing to mind the words and images of Zachariah (chapter 14) and Ezekiel (chapter 47) where the throne room of God is depicted as having living waters flowing out from the throne, giving life to the nations. When the water was flowing the priest would pray a prayer thanking God for the provision of rain and water therefore testifying that if God did not provide the precious water for this people they would parish. It was at this moment, I believe, that Jesus stood (perhaps even interrupting the ceremony) and proclaimed that if anyone is thirsty come to me and drink. Physical water will always run out and always leave you needing more. But if you come to me I will give you water where you will never be thirsty again.