In the last year or so I made a startling discovery! Jesus was a Jew. It’s weird how we interpret Jesus through our own cultural lens. Whether that is Jesus as an American, African, Asian, Australian or whatever, the fact remains he was a Jew.
This revelation brought a new awareness of my roots as a Christian. If you follow my grafted position to the roots you will find father Abraham. Because of my impoverished view of heritage I usually skipped a lot of Old Testament reading and never thought through the implications of Jesus’ message to his original hearers. With this awareness I started to study some of the Jewish feasts and holidays.
This week is the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. Sukkot was the first place the Israelites slept after leaving Egypt. It means “booths” and refers to the tents or shacks they had to sleep in during their travels through the wilderness. In Leviticus 23 we read all about Sukkot.
42 Live in booths for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in booths 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in booths when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’”
The feast was held after the harvest just before the rain season. A huge part of the festival focused on prayers for rain. Water was essential for the next harvest and they trusted God to open the heavens. Every day the priests would walk down to the Pool of Siloam while the people sang the Hillal (Psalms 113-118). The priests would walk to the altar trough the Watergate of the Temple and throw the water on the altar. The Feast lasted for seven days and on the last days the festivities and ritual intensified.
During the climax of this Feast Christ gave one of His most startling pronouncements:
37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7)
This Friday two thousand years ago our Rabbi made that statement.
We are still thirsty,
Yet so often don’t drink from Him
He still invites us to drink,
Let’s drink gallons from our God
Liters from our Lord
He is enough.