Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.John 7:37(NASB)
Three times a year the Jewish males were instructed by the written Law to travel up to Jerusalem to celebrate three of the great feasts of the Lord. Each feast reminded them of a significant part of their national heritage and yet each feast also pointed forwards to a wonderful future fulfilment when the promised Messiah would come to right all wrongs and set up His earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity, as promised to Israel in the Old Testament scriptures.
Perhaps the most glorious occasion was the Feast of Tabernacles, which promised a time of great joy and rejoicing, when God would one day, come to tabernacle on earth, among His people. Certain rituals took place during this autumn feast of Tabernacles.. and the climax of these celebrations happened on the last day of the feast, which was actually an eighth day.
For seven days the people engaged in a solemn ritual where the priests would fill a pitcher of water from the Gihon spring and then return in a dignified procession to pour it out, in great pomp and ceremony, over the alter of the Lord. This was done in grateful remembrance of the rock that was smitten in the wilderness, and from which streamed life-giving water into the dusty desert for the thirsty Israelites - but this also pointed forward to the Rock of our Salvation and the Living Water that streams from our Saviour's healing side, bringing spiritual life; spiritual health and spiritual healing to all who drink - for Jesus is the living water. He is the true water of life, Who alone can satisfy the thirsty soul.
For seven day the people engaged in this solemn ritual, but this daily parade did not take place on that final, climatic 8th day of the feast, for this was a special, holy convocation that was distinct from and yet integral with this special feast of the Lord. And so it was that on that great day of the feast - the climatic 8th day, that Jesus stood and cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.' There could have been no more appropriate day for Christ to make this great announcement to a spiritually thirsty Israel, who had strayed so far from the God Who had rescued them from bondage in Egypt - and Who had supernaturally fed and watered them during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
But on this unique day Christ proclaimed Himself as Israel's Redeemer, with the words, if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. For seven days these Jews looked back to the rock in the desert, which provided earthly water for their physical sustenance. But on this 8th day of the feast Christ took the opportunity to announce that HE is the true Rock from Whom flow rivers of living water, to all who will believe in Him. And so He continued: He who BELIEVES in Me, as the Scripture said, 'from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is the living water that satisfies the thirsty soul and the heavenly bread that feeds the hungry heart. Thank You that Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation, Who was smitten for me on the cross and that by His death and resurrection I have a new, spiritual life, that has found its satisfaction in You alone. Thank You, in Jesus name, AMEN.