Feast of Tabernacles
Jesus had not planned to go to this years festival, but some of his brothers urged him to go. It is unclear what their motives where. They seemed to want Jesus to display His miraculous powers at Jerusalem. Maybe they hoped Jesus would show the people who he really was and what He could do. Or maybe they were just taunting Him. Could it be they professed to believe in Him, but actually they were scrapeable. We are not really sure.
Jesus knew that the Jews at Jerusalem were plotting to kill Him. But it was not time for him to suffer .. and besides, his disciples would want to attend with him, and it would be dangerous for them. So Jesus declined to go to the feast. But he suggested that the disciples and others in the group should go, and enjoy the festival. After all, no one was plotting to kill them.
Later, however, Jesus did go to the feast and began teaching in the temple that afternoon. The people were amazed at his teaching. There was a great deal of discussion about Jesus great wisdom. Where did it come from? Where did he get these words?
Jesus always gave God honor to His teaching .. He said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me” … his Father.
The religious leaders wanted to question him, so they sought to have him arrested. They tried several times that day. But Jesus seemed to disappear from sight when they ascended on the location where he was. There was divine protection at work here.
On the last day of the festival Jesus was teaching in the temple and he uttered one of Him most wonderful words of his ministry.
The temple was packed with people, and Jesus spoke loudly so all could hear. This was a great proclamation of His mission.
He was offering life to all who would accept it.
This was one of the great invitation of the gospel .. “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” The key word here is ” If ” .. If marks the only condition to which this invitation is addressed.
If we do not thirst; we will not care to come to the well to drink. Souls are dying all around us. Not because there is no water near, but because they are not thirsty.
The words “any man” .. this means the invitation is universal. No one is left out in this invitation. “Any man” Jesus says. No one is overlooked in this invitation. “All ye that are weary” .. Come, rest, with Christ. All who thirst are invited to come and drink.
All who hunger are beckoned to eat the bread of life. There is not a single person in all the world who can say that he is not invited to receive the salvation of Christ. Not one.
The word “thirst” describes the need which Christ is ready to supply. It is not bodily thirst, but thirst of the soul which He offers to quench. The soul has its thirst as well as the body. There is no spring of water on earth at which these thirsts can be satisfied. The words “Let him come” shows us the gate to the fountain. The gate is wide open. There is no barrier to hinder our way. No person is shut out.
These words also remind us that if we chose to have our thirst quenched by Christ we must come to Him. Come to Christ. The movement toward Christ must be made by us. Believing in Him, and acceptance of Him.
The word “drink” tells us we must receive Christ into our own hearts if we are to have our thirst satisfied by Him.
Merely going to the spring and looking at its sparkling water will not quench anyone’s thirst; he must drink to be satisfied.
This is a voluntary act on the part of each of us. We must take Jesus into our lives by an act of our own.
We drink from the fountain, and let Jesus’ spirit fill our hearts.
Back to the festival .. Jesus continued speaking .. and told what the result of coming to him might be. “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Believing is putting oneself into such a personal relationship with Christ that His life becomes ours.
This is a beautiful picture of a Christian life. We become little wells of the water of life, billed by Christ himself, from which the water flows that other may drink.
Picture a old homestead, deserted now, with its empty dwelling and unused porches and grass-grown walks.
But there is one path on which no grass grows, which is trodden daily by many feet. Why is this one path through the homestead clear and passable. Because it is the path to the spring. Nearly every passer-by turns aside to drink of the clear, sweet water of the spring.
Only if we can be like such a spring of water by life’s wayside. We could be an untold blessing in the world. People who are weary, those who have troubled hearts, those who are in sorrow, those who are weak and faint in their journey. All may come and drink of the water of life in us and go on their way stronger and happier.
This is not the first time that we have heard Jesus speak words about the fountain within the heart.
Remember when Jesus was talking with the woman at the well. He told her that the water He would give to those who would drink, would become as a well of water in them, springing up into eternal life.
This new life in a believer is the divine life. Jesus Christ Himself.
Jesus said to the woman that the water should become as a well in the heart of the believer. A river of living water.
Well, back to the festival .. The officers that were sent to arrest Jesus returned to the temple rulers empty handed. When they tried to explain why they didn’t arrest Jesus, they seemed to be at a lose of words. They couldn’t remember. They were not sure why they were sent out in the first place. They didn’t know who they were suppose to be looking for, let along arrest. They seemed to be confused, in a daze. Almost like their minds were cleared of the task they were sent to do.
They were sent to arrest the man that was speaking in the temple. When they were questioned by the priest why they didn’t have Jesus in custody .. their response was .. “Never man so spake.”
There wasn’t anyone there speaking. They came under the power and presence of Jesus. They found no one speaking in the temple. But Jesus was there .. teaching. Spooky huh.
The power of Jesus words. His words are the words of God.
If we let His words into our hearts they search us and find us. They are convincing words. His words are uplifting, kindly and stimulating words. They inspire us. His words are transforming words that impact our lives and send us to a ministry of live for Christ. They are words of hope. They reveal truth, and honor and blessedness to those who faithfully follow Him.