John 7 v 37 - 53

Remember that all the events of this chapter took place at the Festival of Tabernacles or Shelters, one of three Jewish festivals to which all adult male Jews living near to Jerusalem had to attend. During this event lasting eight days, people would leave their houses and live in little temporary booths, which would spring up in gardens, the flat roofs of houses and even in the Temple courts. This was to remind the Jews of their wilderness wanderings, when Moses took them out of imprisonment and slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. It also had an agricultural importance, similar to traditional harvest festivals in this country. . Each day people would come to the Temple with palm and willow branches and they would march around the altar. The Priest took a golden pitcher to the Pool of Siloam, filled it with water and carried it back to the altar where it was poured out as an offering, all the while the people recited Isaiah 12 v 3: 'With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation'. Against the background of the people thanking and praising God for His gift of water, Jesus shouted out these words recorded here: ''Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! For the Scriptures declare: 'Rivers of living water will flow from His heart''. The Jews were thanking God rightly for water which quenched their physical thirst; however, Jesus was promising water which would quench the thirst of their souls forever! ''Come to me!'' That is all we must do: turn to Jesus, feed on Him, quench your souls. The great theologian Augustine declared: ''“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

I must emphasise here that the declaration of Jesus reminds us that He is not someone to argue over but someone to enjoy, to know and to love. Listen to your heart and respond to His call to you: ''Come away, my beloved!''

There were those who planned to kill Him, those who sought to defend Him, like Nicodemus-remember him? Also, those who were indifferent. And there were those who gave up everything for the far greater prize of following and loving Jesus. Which camp are you in?

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