Summary: Jesus calls the thirsty to come to him, and drink.
Calling The Thirsty
Jesus often used what was taking place around him as an opportunity to teach a spiritual lesson. Remember as he walked with his disciples, he told his disciples to look at the fields because they were white unto harvest. He used that as an opportunity to encourage his disciples to pray for more laborers.
As Jesus observed money being given in the temple, he saw a poor widow give a few pennies, and from that scene he taught his disciples a lesson about sacrifice.
In our text today, Jesus uses his surroundings as a backdrop for a great message.
Let’s take a minute to look at what is taking place in Jerusalem on this day.
7:2 tells us that the feast of the tabernacles was at hand.
The feast of tabernacles was one of the three great feasts of the Jews. All the adult Jewish males were to come to Jerusalem. The feast of tabernacles occured during the month of September on our calendar. It was at the close of the harvest, and was a time of celebration. It was also a feast of commemoration. During the feast, the Jewish people were to remember the forty years that their forefathers spent in the wilderness.
To commemorate, the Jewish people constructed tents from Palm, Willow, and Myrtle trees. They bound the wood together to form the tent with gold, and silver cords. The tents were set up all around Jerusalem........at the temple, in public places, in the fields surrounding the city, and even on the flat roofs of their homes. It is said that these tents dotted the fields surrounding Jerusalem. The Jewish people would dwell in these tents for the entire eight days of the feast. They would take them down each day, and carry them with them wherever they went throughout the day.
What was the significance of the tents ? It was to remind them of the 40 years spent wandering in the wilderness where they dwelt in tents because they had no permanent dwelling. This should remind them of the unbelief of their forefathers......they could have been dwelling in the promised land if not for their unbelief.
There was also something else that took place each day of the feast which is of significance to the message that Christ delivers.
At the first dawn of day, the priests sounded a long, shrill blast upon their silver trumpets, and the answering trumpets, and the glad shouts of the people from their booths, echoing over hill and valley, welcomed the festal day. Then the priest dipped from the flowing waters of the Kedron a flagon of water, and, lifting it on high, while the trumpets were sounding, he ascended the broad steps of the temple, keeping time with the music with slow and measured tread, chanting meanwhile, "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." Ps. 122:2.
He bore the flagon to the altar, which occupied a central position in the court of the priests. Here were two silver basins, with a priest standing at each one. The flagon of water was poured into one, and a flagon of wine into the other; and the contents of both flowed upon the sacrificial altar. This display of the consecrated water represented the fountain that at the command of God had gushed from the rock to quench the thirst of the children of Israel. Then the jubilant strains rang forth, "The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;" "therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Isa. 12:2, 3.
The feasts of tabernacles was a joyous, festive event. There was much rejoicing, music, dancing in the streets. It is against this backdrop that Jesus stands up in the temple, and shouts his words.............
You see as Christ looked out over the tents that dotted the landscape........which were a reminder of the unbelief years earlier.........Christ realized that they still did not believe. Even his own brethren did not.
As Christ saw all the festivities taking place......the music blaring, the singing, the dancing in the streets........he saw the emptiness that still plagued the human hearts !
As Christ saw the priests bearing the water to the temple in remembrance of the water provided from the Rock in the wilderness..........he also saw that the people were still thirsty ! There spiritual wells were still empty !
I. Notice The Summons.
If any man thirst.............
‘If any man thirst.’ Bodily thirst is notoriously the most painful sensation to which the frame of mortal man is liable. Read the story of the miserable sufferer in the black hole at Calcutta. Ask anyone who has traveled over desert plains under a tropical sun. Hear what any old soldier will tell you is the chief want of the wounded on a battlefield. Remember what the crews of ships lost in mid–ocean, tossed for days in boats without water, go through. Mark the dreadful words of the rich man in the parable ‘Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame’ (Luke 16:24). The testimony is unvarying. There is nothing so terrible and hard to bear as thirst.