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Living Water - John 7

In John 7 Jesus' brothers invite him to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Booths.  Jesus had been avoiding Judea because the Jewish leaders there were already trying to have him killed.  His brothers wanted him to show himself there, to gain an audience, and to prove himself to be who he claimed to be, or to shut up.  Jesus told them that it was not his time and that he would not go with them.  He did go secretly though.   

During the Festival of Booths everyone camped in tents as a reminder of the time when the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years.  It was a festival that reminded the people of their roots and that God was their provider.  

During the celebrations some people took notice of Jesus and he started teaching.  As a crowd began to gather the religious leaders questioned his authority.  They had concerns about the small town he was from and his lack of a prestigious education.  Jesus countered that they should challenge the content of his teaching against the scriptures instead of trying to discredit where he was from.  The crowd was impressed with Jesus and the fact that the religious leaders could not counter his teachings.  They saw a man of full of authority, courage, and charisma.  They had already heard of the miracles he performed and they wondered if he may be the messiah they had all waited for.  They wondered if he would be their King and save them from the oppression of Roman rule.  

On the last day of the celebration a golden jug was normally dipped into a sacred pool of water and then carefully walked through the city of Jerusalem to the Temple.  There it would be poured on the altar as a reminder of how God had given the people of Israel water in the wilderness and continued to provide for their needs.  It was during this procession that Jesus stood up and spoke to the whole crowd publicly.  He said:

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” - John 7:37b-38

It was here that Jesus directly countered the status quo.  He was pointing out that the people were spiritually thirsty, that the religious structures had left them dry.  Some scholars even suggest that the pool was dry due to a drought that year, and that Jesus was pointing out that the religious system had no more water to offer the people.  Moreover, Jesus suggests that he will not only quench your thirst, but that by believing in him you will become a source, flowing out to those around you.   Many people walk away from the church because they say that they are not being fed, to those people, Jesus is talking to you.  Jesus is saying that you can not only be filled, but you can become a source.  The religious leaders no longer have a monopoly on God, you have been invited to play.  The people of God are a priesthood onto themselves.

May God fill your cup to overflowing.  May your spirit be quenched and may you pour out that abundance to the people around you.  May you become a source of living water!  Amen.  


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