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On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’     ~John 7:37-38

Think back to God’s call in the Garden. Remember that Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always calling, always inviting us back into abiding. It is His heart for us, and it is our greatest fulfillment to step into a life of calling – a life of abiding with the Presence of our good and worthy YHWH.

In John 7 we hear a unique call from Jesus! In fact, to the random passerby, it would have been a bit of a weird call. However, to you and I as believers, it is a precious and divine call. We need to dig a bit to fully absorb what is happening here.

The Background

If you read the whole chapter of John 7 – and you absolutely should read it! Read more of the Word!you will find that it takes place during the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths), a feast called Sukkot. This was a fall feast during which Jews built temporary shelters (tents or “tabernacles”) to remember that their ancestors had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, living in tents, being sustained by, and learning to obey the call of YHWH. This feast is still celebrated by Jews and those in Messianic congregations today.

As we study John 7 we notice that his brothers were trying to get him to go to the feast, and He is declining. We know these are his familial brothers because they reference his disciples and the author indicates that “even His own brothers did not believe in Him” (vs. 5). They knew He did neat things. They were encouraging Him to “grow His fan base” as it were. They would have been great marketing managers, but they did not understand who He really was or His true purpose. Jesus’ brothers needed His call as much as we all do.

Part of Jesus’ lack of desire to go was that there were Jews of the religious ruling class who wanted Him dead (vs 1). That seems like a valid reason to lie low. And yet, pretty soon we see Jesus making His way to the feast, secretly. Then, more than likely compelled by the Spirit, He is teaching in the temple courts (vs 14), and they are in awe of His learning even though He hasn’t been to “rabbi school.”

There is a strange interchange wherein Jesus is speaking a bit cryptically (not uncommon with Jesus), and they tell Him He’s crazy. Well, literally they say He has a demon. But the backdrop we get is one Jesus often paints when it comes to entering the spaces of religious ritual. They are carrying out the habit. Jesus is calling them to the heart.

This narrative reaches its climax on the final day of the feast, “the greatest day” it says. Now, you and I can surely grasp Jesus’ call just from the Scripture. That is the miracle of the Holy Spirit. But there is a beauty in taking a deeper dive into what the Jews would have comprehended in that moment.

On the last day of Sukkot, there were 2 ceremonies that took place. First, there was a lighting of enormous lampstands in the temple courts indicating that the Messiah would be a light to the gentiles (Isa. 49:6). This takes on more meaning for believers as we know the lampstand also symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The second ceremony on this last day of the feast bears direct correlation with the call of Jesus. The Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines states it this way, “A priest carried water from the pool of Siloam to the temple symbolizing that when Messiah comes the whole earth will know God ‘as the waters cover the sea’ (Isa. 11:9).”

Okay! So all of that leads us to this. “…Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’

Can you see the picture? Are you there? Mulling among the throngs of people at the pinnacle of the fall feast? Euphoric with the joy of celebrating the history of the people and the hope of a promise to come? The lamps are blazing in brilliance and the priest has just entered the temple to shouts and cheers at the thought of the promised Messiah. And then… Jesus… that amazing, maybe-a-little-crazy guy you’ve heard so much about is suddenly standing and shouting. “Are you thirsty? Come to Me and drink! Do you feel like you’ve been wandering in the wilderness? If you believe in Me, you will be the fulfillment of a prophecy! Streams of living water will flow from within you!” Is your heart beating faster? What will you do?

You see, as a Jew, you would understand the significance of water. All throughout Scripture water is a symbol. Raging waters represent trouble and chaos – things not operating under God’s order. Calm waters are a metaphor for peace, life, and all things inside the order and rhythm of YHWH.

In Jeremiah 2:13, the prophet indicates that life’s struggles often persist because we build broken wells or cisterns, but the true source of water is found in YHWH. Just a few chapters before the feast, in John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a literal well and reveals her broken cisterns, inviting her to draw living water.

In Isaiah 55, the heart of YHWH invites us to come and receive all the life and hydration we need without cost. Isaiah 44 promises that He will pour water on our dry and thirsty ground – His Spirit on our parched souls. Can you feel the rhythm? The heart of Father and Son aligned in promising to pour the Spirit out upon you? To pour the Spirit into you so that He flows from you like streams of living water? Are you thirsty? I know I am. We can always desire more of our God.

So what will you do? What is your answer, your response as you stand in the crowd? As you sit in your seat. It is not the festival, but His call is the same in this moment.

What would it look like for you to be overflowing with living water? Process these questions with the Holy Spirit.

  1. Are you thirsty? How does that thirst indicate your longing for more of Jesus?
  2. Where is Jesus indicating you have chosen broken cisterns or simply are not being filled with Him?
  3. Pray this: “Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. I come to you, my true well of living water. Teach me how to be filled with You, God, so streams of living water can flow from me and impact those around me for Your glory.”
  4. Now journal the direction and calling the Spirit gives you.

My prayer is that you continue to run to the true well, the living water.

You were created to live a life of Calling!