John 7 centers around the Feast of Booths (verse 2), happening around the time of year we are in right now.
The day was one of 3 on the jewish calendar requiring the Jewish population to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate.
Jesus’ brothers, who did not believe Him when He would say who He was, encouraged Him to go to Jerusalem and take His place as the King, but He had His own way. He went, but He went under cover.
Jesus was the talk of the town, but no one knew where He was.
The feast was 7 days, but it had a different flavor than the other big feasts, because there was a bonus day at the end of the 7 days. The bonus day was one of joy with everyone doing what they wanted. It was the one time of year when they were commanded to be joyful.
It was well into the week when Jesus went to the Temple, sat down, and began to teach. The way He was talking and the things He was saying completely astonished the religious elite crowd.
“The Jews therefore marveled, saying ‘how is it that this man has leaning when He has never studied.”” John 7:15
He looked like the crowds; a normal person, but He spoke with such authority.
The Feast of booths was a throwback to the wilderness. They were supposed to remember what it had been like, thus feeling better about where they were.
In the wilderness they lived in booths, and still to this day you can go into Jewish sections of cities and see the people build their booths to sleep in during the feasts. They did this as a reminder that God had delivered them from the wilderness.
Sleeping in their booths, every day they would wake up and have a huge parade, a procession of joy.
They would go all the way down to the Pool of Siloam where one priest was allowed to take a golden vessel to take some water which would be carried back. When the temple guards would see the procession they would give a signal and trumpeters would begin to blow their trumpets and they would all rejoice as the procession came into the temple. They would pour the water out on the altar.
Why? Because while they were living in the wilderness, they never forgot that there was a rock that would spring forth water that God provided.
In this context we come to John 7:37:
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.’ Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37
This all happened on the bonus day, the great day.
Jesus stands on this day and cries out.
He was telling them that they had never experienced God actually caring for them and that they were about to go back to more of the same, but on this day if they were thirsty they could come to Him and drink.
He spoke not as the unassuming peasant, but the one who could save lifted His voice to tell them of another day.
Are you thirsty for a better life? If so, come to Jesus.
The words that He spoke to them were not just for them, but all of us. We can go to Jesus for living water that will never run dry.
The river, we see in verse 39, is the Holy Spirit. At the time He spoke the words Jesus has not been crucified, buried, ascended or spent the 40 days after His ascension teaching. The Spirit had not yet been released.
Pentecost and the giving and releasing of the Spirit would be the fulfillment of this promise, and once given, the river would never dry up!
That day was their one day, and it cane be your one day as well. The difference is, that because the Holy Spirit has come, the river within you never stops flowing.
Today by believing, you too can receive this refreshing, living water that Jesus promises. It’s not based on effort but on believing.
Come to Jesus.