The Feast of the Tabernacles was instituted by God in Leviticus 23. Also known as the Feast of the Booths, it was characterized by the construction of tent-like booths that represented the temporary housing used by Israel during its wilderness wanderings. It was God’s way of instructing Israel to rely on him and not themselves.
Near the end of Jesus’ life, he traveled to Jerusalem during this feast and went into the temple to teach (John 7:14). Imagine sitting and listening to the Lord Jesus teach the truths of God’s word and the magnificent lessons he brought!
In the temple, Jesus returned to a theme he had taught before about water. This lesson was taught to Nicodemus in John chapter three, to the woman at the well in John chapter four, and now he speaks of water again.
The water Jesus relates is spiritual water. As the Lord spoke to the Samaritan, he said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water,” (John 4:10).
Jesus encountered opposition in the temple. The Jews wanted a pretense so they might kill him. One can imagine trying to get through to minds as closed as those that day. Finally, Jesus shouted, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink,” (John 7:37f).
The prejudice of the Jews caused them to misunderstand what Jesus offered. There are many people who misunderstand. Jesus was offering eternal life to the people who arrayed themselves against him.
Yet, there are still those who do so today. They hear his commands about immersion in water (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37f), and they reject it outright. They hear the apostle’s words about “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” and they reject it all regardless of the inspiration of the author.
Are you spiritually thirsty? The invitation is issued to you. Are you willing to drink?