Feasts of the Lord, Friend of the Bridegroom, Watchmen on the Wall

On the Last Day of the Feast of Sukkot…Living Water! (Days 15-22 of the Fall Ingathering Feasts)

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (yasha…the root for Yeshua). Isaiah 12:3

They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar (or drenched like the corners of the altar). Zechariah 9:15b

On the last day of the festival of Sukkot, Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the temple, celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:33-43). It serves as a celebration of God’s provision for the Hebrews in the desert where he provided water in the desert (Exodus 17:1-7; Numbers 20:1-13). Included in this celebration was a water pouring ritual, where the priest would actually retrieve “living water”* from the well of Siloam for the basin near the altar which would then be poured out on the altar along with wine. The celebration at the pool was legendary (one report even says there used to be juggling!) From there, a dance back up the hill to the altar, where the water would be poured out with wine onto the altar…everyone in an excited mood, celebrating the joy of how God provided water in the wilderness! Now read this account of Jesus talking “out of turn” in this context!

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39

Think about the brilliant and agonizing symbolism of this. As the priest are pouring water and wine on the altar, Yeshua knows that this symbolic act is foreshadowing His life as a drink offering poured out for us.  He is the one who came by water and blood (1 John 5:6) would be the sacrifice that bled out for us (the wine of the new covenant Matthew 26:27-29, blood and water flowed at the cross John 19:34). And Yeshua will be the dispenser of Living Water. The “Living Water” Jesus is talking about giving is the same Holy Spirit that lived in Him. This Living Water, this Holy Spirit was not yet available broadly to the world, because Jesus had not left yet and the Holy Spirit had not been poured out (also see John 16). But one day we will be dispensers of what Messiah has dispensed to us! The actual Spirit of God! This is amazing!

Imagine a priest pouring water and wine out and Jesus shouting this out, announcing to all in His perfect timing—Rivers of Living Water would soon finally pour out, first from Jesus, the Well of Salvation and then from our own hearts! As prophecied, Israel will be drunk on the new wine of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). As it relates to the prophetic feast days of the Lord, Jesus was not only prophesying the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, but the river of living water in the city of the New Jerusalem. On the last day, Yeshua prophesied the end of days…eternity in the New Jerusalem! And here, as we reach the last day of the final festival, we can almost see the end of times and, prophetically, the end all things. It is after the wedding. It is the eternal invitation issued now and forever at the end of all things:

“Then the angel showed me the RIVER OF LIVING WATER, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever…” Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood…“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of THE LIVING WATER. Revelation 22:1-5, 14-17

We can look at the story of the woman at the well, three chapters earlier, to see that living water was part of the good news of the Kingdom he was teaching.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living waterEveryone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:10, 13-14

When Yeshua gave the words of that this passage to the woman at at the well, He knew the altar was about to be moved from the physical temple to the spiritual realm (Hebrews 8-10). Jesus, our one sacrifice of atonement was the blood that satisfied our sin debt, the wine that fills our cup of salvation and the bridegroom who establishes an engagement covenant that He would not drink again until He drinks it again with us (Matthew 26:29). This same lover of our soul who gave Himself for us is also our source of Living Water. Now, the only “sacrifice” we would have left to make would be our lives on fire, poured out and flowing continually with Living Water in true worship facilitated by Spirit and Truth. Look back at John 4:13 to see how this works!

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Jesus gives water that satisfies and springs back out of us in worship and service to others. Remember, “living water” always referred to an underground fresh spring. Imagine by extension then, the effect of an underground stream of life to soil that is dry and unreceptive. Water loosens us up, it frees us from our hardness, water keeps us soft and able to host the seed. Not only that but it springs up from inside of us! From the ground. So again, the soil becomes the conduit for the power of God—first in hosting the seed of Christ and then from being a conduit of living springs of water that will give new life to the world, drawing others to its flow. Our hearts would be filled to overflow with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We would then be dispensers too, fountains where others can come and drink! A Kingdom of love and power and healing that comes from relational OVERFLOW, not religion.

God is stirring up from inside us, from the soil up, a new thing from unexpected and limitless sources that will bring the kingdom of God alive in the world. And it cannot be stopped. Amazingly, we get to be the outlet.   

Water from this well of Yeshua was prophesied from the ancient days. Not only this, but the prophets predict the rejection of this fountain of Living Water (Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:12-13) and also the reality that from Jerusalem there will one day flow a constant fountain of living water (Zechariah 14:8) and this water will come from both the throne of the Lord and the Bride (Song of Solomon 4:15). Read the agonizingly beautiful lament and promise of this living water.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ Revelation 7:17

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation (Yeshua)…“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 12:3-6

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary.
13 Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.
Jeremiah 17:12-13

He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. Isaiah 49:10

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. Zechariah 14:8

You are a garden spring [a fountain], a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Song of Solomon 4:15

I always thought that the living water was Jesus, Himself, but that’s not actually right.
Jesus says that it is something that He gives.
He is the fountain.
The Holy Spirit is the Living Water.

I cannot overestimate the centrality of the role of the Holy Spirit in the life and teachings and gospel of Jesus. Did you know that the person and work of the Holy Spirit is the very thing that makes our worship possible? He is the source of our worship. So we have to receive the Spirit from Yeshua before we can pour out. Just as He told the disciples to wait for the Holy spirit, we also have to wait on the Lord and receive His power before we go out. Furthermore, BOTH the spring feasts and the fall Ingathering feasts CULMINATE with the Holy Spirit being given, first as FIRE at Pentecost then as WATER in Sukkot. In this we see a fulfillment of what John the Baptist spoke about baptism Yeshua. As we are baptized in water, Yeshua will give something greater– “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11. We are to be filled with the Spirit, who is both fire and water. He burns inside us with consuming passion for God, and he satisfies and sustains us with cool refreshing. What element on earth can burn us up and cool us off at the same time? Only the Holy Spirit.

How do we even start wrap our minds around this? Remember the story told by Andrew Murray. Say that you take a cup that is filled halfway with coffee or tea, and I ask you to pour me a glass of water, what will happen if you pour water into the cup half filled with coffee? It is still coffee (just really gross and watered down). If, however, you totally empty the cup and clean it, then pour fresh water, the flavor is pure and tastes like water, not coffee. It’s pure because the coffee is totally gone. We are the cup of coffee, friends. Unless we let go of control and our own agenda and pour out all that remains of us, dying to self, we will never know the fullness of His Spirit or the delightful experience and satisfaction of His completely filling us. 

All He wants is all of you poured out so He can be poured into you. It’s the same thing required of Jesus, so He has every right to ask it of us. He emptied Himself to take on our sin for us becoming a servant (Phil. 2:7). We finally pour out the cup of our life to God in total trust. Then we are washed clean of our sin by Jesus—emptied of our guilt, shame, efforts, striving, self-promotion, self-preservation. He pours the Living Water of the Holy Spirit into us and our worship becomes overflow. It is a receiving, recognition, and re-cycling of His glory and power and love. When we are really open to host Jesus, worship becomes a pouring out of God’s Spirit inside us—deep calling to deep. Worship from a heart that is empty and ready to be filled by the love of God by His Spirit becomes pure overflow. 

True love, and true worship, comes from the Spirit (Living Water) filling our hearts CONSTANTLY with God’s love (Romans 5:5). We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our love for God actually starts with God pouring Himself into us—His blood which is our reconciliation to God, His Living Water, which His love, His Spirit, His life into our hearts. With living water filling us and overflowing out of us, the source of our worship is not even our own love for God. It’s His Spirit in us poured into us and then pouring back out in worship and overflow to draw others (John 7:38-39)! He is our source. He is always our source. We just have to yield to His love and be the soil that gets soaked in His grace and mercy every single day. This is how we buy the oil mentioned in the parable of the ten virgins. We go to Him in worship and we keep watch with Him over the earth in prayer…Your Kingdom come, your will be done. Contesting for the souls of man. Contesting for nations. Contesting for the harvest. And making ourselves ready to receive a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. This festival…is the end of all things, and it is only the beginning.

* “Living Water” is a term that refers specifically to fresh spring water. This water is filtered by and springing up through the ground (by the soil) that would fill up wells, pure and not subject to the impurities that infected cisterns. This fresh, pure spring water was used for ritual cleansing (Leviticus 14, Numbers 19:17-19, mayim chayim). The Greek does not have this concept of “living water” as fresh spring water, so the Greek language literally translates this phrase literally to “water that is alive” (hydōr zōn). This is also true. This water is literally alive.

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