Like Margaret said, you guys don’t have to keep your videos on. But what I’m going to do for the first here 30 seconds or so, I’m just scrolling through, seeing your faces before you turn them off if you so choose to. It’s just good to I feel that God has a lot in his word for you this morning, and so just kind of praying for you guys as I see your faces. And I’m also going to try to share my screen here. And can you see that?
I do see it. So proceed.
All right. Very cool. Well, yeah, today we’re going to talk about Living Water.
We have been for a while. And the reason for that is because this is the theme of the year. And Eddie did a really great job just reminding us why we worship God and how we worship God last week and he mentioned that we worship him alone. We worship him everywhere we go and we worship him with sincerity of heart and really landed on the point that our hearts matter when it comes to worship. They really do.
True worship is not made of hollow actions in any sense. And I think Zoom for me at least, and I know for some others, but it reveals my heart about it’s kind of like that scenario, like what would you do if no one else was in the room? And that is the case for me right now. There’s no one else in the room. And I think that’s the case for so many of us on Zoom this morning that you have like, just you and God in your face, not with distractions or your friend kind of waving at you in service or notes being passed as a teen, I used to get in trouble for that.
But really, you just have you and God. And there’s so many things to distract us that just aren’t here at the moment. And I think what’s cool is what I want to do as far as the theme is, I want to look at the full chapter of John seven. So if you guys can turn your Bible to John seven, I kind of want to just set the scene of what was going on in John seven because, you know, our theme is Living Water. And we’ve read the theme scripture quite often in these first few weeks of our year.
But it really is about Jesus supplying the needs of those who truly believe in him. And his invitation is to a thirsty people. And he offers this endless supply and promises us refreshment. So I’m just going to remind you of his invitation here. His invitation in John 737.
It says, 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. And as I think about that, I think about just what an amazing offer that is. It really is a mysterious offer, living water. As I go through this, I’ve never heard of such a thing.
I have no reference to living water.
I would say 99% of us here aren’t Jewish. If you are, I envy the understanding you bring to the scriptures. But I think what I need to do is really unpack a little bit of what this means because the Wells of this verse run really, really deep. And I think you’ll see that this morning. So my one goal this morning is I want to show you what Jesus invitation meant, and I want to shed some light on when he said this.
Okay? So if you don’t consider the setting and specifically the timing, the exact timing of when he said what he said, you really won’t understand the beauty of this offer. So I want us to begin. You guys can turn your Bibles to John, chapter seven. And you might want a paper Bible here because we’re going to scroll through it.
It’s just good to see, I think, any narrative in the Bible. I prefer a paper Bible because you can see kind of the flow of events and all the rising actions and all of that. So I just want to run through it. And we’ll begin in verse one. And it says, after this, Jesus traveled around Galilee.
He wanted to stay out of Judea where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish festival of shelters. And there you go. Some of your Bibles might say, now the Jews’ feast of booths was at hand. Or your version might say the feast of Tabernacles.
Or if you’re reading a Jewish Bible, it might say sukkot. Really, if you want to research this more, you might find this intriguing. What we’ll talk about look up Sukot, S-U-K-K-O-T. That is what the Jews called their festival here.
And I’ll say the Jews were party animals. I can’t say that Americans are party animals. I’d say there’s some cultures that they really know how to party. And I’m so grateful. Growing up in Fort Lauderdale, you need to be around so many parties, so many festivals.
None of them revolved around my heritage, really. It was like, let’s go explore. I went to the jerk festival, all these places growing up. And I really appreciate God’s heart, though. He wants to celebrate.
And in the 7th month of the Jewish year, there was so many celebrations. And you read about it in Leviticus when God tells us of all the festivals to celebrate. And this festival specifically, Sukkot, it was a week long festival, so it lasted an entire week. And it was in the seventh month of the year. And it was the last festival of the year, and it was the most important festival of the year.
It honestly was the most joyous festival of them all, too. And five days prior to this festival would have been what we’ve heard of called Yom Kippur. Have you heard of Yom Kippur? Yom Kippur was the day of the nation being atoned for its sin. It was a very somber moment, if you can relate to the most somber depressing moment in, let’s just say, a Communion moment of a service where you’re so in touch with your sin, that would be five days prior. So you can imagine how excited they were to gather together in Jerusalem for such a party. The next part about detail here, you might not be so excited about, but they were tenting for seven days long. They were commanded to sleep in boots or tents for an entire week. I don’t know if you’ve ever been camping.
Some people get away with I’ve never been camping. I’m this old. How have you avoided it for so long? But this holiday, really, God commanded them to celebrate this way because he wanted them to remember the lowly state from which they came. It was all about calling to mind their years of wandering in the desert where they came from nothing, and they were really nothing.
They just came out of slavery and they were little and they were humble in their own eyes. And so if you recall God’s warning to them from last week, I read a scripture in Deuteronomy. They’re about to enter the promised Land, right? And he says in Deuteronomy that they’re going to step into this land and you need to remember where you came from.
Then don’t think because of all the success you’ll encounter that it is you’re doing that you’re in such a good place. I want you to remember how you are nothing. And I’m about to give you everything. So don’t forget. In Leviticus 23 verses 42, you shall dwell in tents for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in tents that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in tents when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.
I am the Lord your God. So you can see right here that it really was a commanded holiday from God. He wanted them to remember something really important. And the theme of this whole thing was redemption. I have redeemed you and don’t take it for granted.
The closest thing I can say that it’s similar to and perhaps inspired the American Thanksgiving, where there’s a day and you’re like, let’s count our blessings. Let’s remember something to be grateful for. And it’s really being touched with how much you have by taking away the pleasures of life for a week. And when the week was over, they returned to their houses again at long last. And they call it to mind how after a generation of wandering, God finally brought them into a land flowing with milk and honey and everything else in their cupboards.
So how grateful they’d be, you can imagine, after seven days of camping. This wasn’t glamping, but it was glad camping. And it was a really exciting moment that people look forward to every year. But on another side of the festival, more than a symbolic, like remembrance, they were really going to not only look back and celebrate, but they were going to look ahead and hope and pray that God would provide for them again in the coming year.
I want to say something really interesting that I found in my research. There’s a lot written in Jewish literature, runs really deep, and there’s so much to find, and it’s really fun to search through it. But one of the things that was consistent was that in the weeks and days leading up to this festival, they would actually teach, the rabbis would teach on every passage in scripture that dealt with water. And so far, you haven’t seen too much about water here, but we know Jesus’s explanation regards water. And during this festival, water played a huge and important role in the festival of Sakkot.
In the Old Testament times. During Holy Week, they would perform what’s called the water libation ceremony. So the water libation ceremony, and libation means to pour something out. So if you read through the Old Testament, they’re only pouring things out.
It could be oil, it could be wine. In this case, it was water. And they would bring a golden pitcher to the pool of Siloam. And they would take it and submerge the pitcher. And you can write this down, you can watch it on YouTube.
They still reenact it in Jerusalem. And the priest would take it and he would carry it back in a grand procession, this golden pitcher filled with water and he would pour it out over the altar. And that would signify their gratitude for the rain of the harvest that God had given that year. And while pouring it out, he would recite this scripture from Isaiah twelve verses one through three, he would pour it out, saying, you will in that day, you will give thanks to the Lord.
For though you were angry at me, God, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my Salvation. I will trust and will not be afraid. For the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my Salvation.
With joy, you will draw water from the Wells of Salvation. And so he would say this like, as he would pour the water out. And this is a prophecy about in a day to come, right? So this water libation ceremony would only happen during the first seven days of the ceremony. And I said, it’s a week long ceremony, and it would only happen in the first seven days.
And as they pointed out, it was a twofold reminder. One, they were reminding God that we need your provision coming up, God. Your Providence is all because of you, and we’re going to rely on you in the future. That’s the significance of pouring it on the altar like, God, I need you. I want your attention with this plea and this reminder.
Keep bringing the water. And then it would also be a reminder to the people regarding that the coming Messiah, who was promised to come, that he would someday come out and pour his Holy Spirit out on the people. And this was their hope. They were looking forward to a Messiah, and they would remind everyone this by doing this, and they would be vocal about the reminders. So it wasn’t something they had to figure out for themselves.
This was so intentional. So you can imagine what Jesus, he’s watching and he’s sitting at this festival. What he meant a little bit as he stood up on the last day to proclaim the great promise that we’re going to get to in the story, but we’ll keep plugging along. I just need to stop at verse one. And that’s the longest stop we need to take because you need to know what this festival was.
So let’s imagine the scene, right? Thousands of people. I don’t know what comes to mind. Is it Mardi Gras, Woodstock, these great Awakenings, just thousands of people who would come to Jerusalem for a whole week, and they would celebrate, they would bring food, they would be dancing, all kinds of things. And you can imagine hearts flowing with gratitude overflowing.
And the Word, I think I’d call it is an extravaganza.
And there was at least two Sabbaths going on. So on the front end, in the back end of the ceremony, two Sabbaths would be commanded. So it would be like it’s all play. There’s no work. It’s just fun and fellowship and rest resting in God because all the harvest has been provided for.
And during this particular week in John seven, there was an ordinary Sabbath, actually, within the week. So there was like three Sabbaths for here. And so the grand finale, so to speak, this was the biggest party. This was their New Year’s Eve ball that didn’t get canceled. This is what they looked forward to all year.
And the ball would drop. And so if there was a time and place to make a name for yourself, this was the time and place to do it. This was the time and place to show yourself that you are the Messiah. And his brothers, if you look in verse eight, they actually point this out to Jesus, but not in a faithful way, more in a mocking way. And they basically say in verse eight, like Jesus, you should go to the feast, right?
You should go up there and show yourself if you are the Messiah. And he says, you go up to the feast, verse eight. I am not yet going up to this feast for my time has not yet fully come. And after saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but in private, on his own terms.
The Jews were looking for him at the feast and saying, Where is he? So apparently Jesus is this much anticipated celebrity, right? He’s the unofficial keynote speaker, and he’s the man of the hour. He’s the man that everyone is hoping to see, especially his enemies, if you recall from verse two. What I am so impressed, the Quality about Jesus I see here throughout this story is he wasn’t a slave to other people’s expectations. He truly was genuine and sincere to what he knew he needed to do with God. He was intentional and he knew what he would do and when he would do it and why he would do it. And he would indeed crash the party. That was a part of his plan, but it was on his own terms.
So when all his brothers went by themselves, later on he snuck in and he began to teach. And this is a hint of what he’d say. Verse 14, in his own terms, he shows up verse 14, about the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews, therefore marveled, saying, how is it that this man has learning when he has never studied?
So Jesus answered them, My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. So, surprise! Like, oh, there’s Jesus. Not a late appearance. A very timely one. A very timely one.
He was right on time, intentionally timed on his father’s clock. Amen. And by his words, he really did steal the show. You can see it says that they marveled, this crowd just like you’re Drooling buddy.
Close your mouth. Wow. He didn’t even study. I went to Harvard and he was a high school dropout. Where is he getting this from?
This is noted and noticed. And this would have been probably the widest and most public and important audience that Jesus would have talked to before he died. His death was several months out, but this was the last big festival that would happen before Passover would come again in quite some time. So Jesus has an important audience in the kind of crowd that people get bored if they heard somebody ordinary in some sense, they would hear lesson after lesson after lesson.
And so it’s amazing to me that Jesus stood out, to be honest, not because of who he was, but because they were probably numb. The sincerity of their hearts wasn’t always there. They showed up. They were faithful. It’s Sabbath.
I got to go to the temple. But no one taught like Jesus did. No one had the words that Jesus had. And I wonder, it’s a fun thought to think, what would it have been like to hear Jesus preach?
That’s a cool thought. Can you imagine? Like Jesus preaching, his words held weight, they held life. And here we are coming to verse 37. That’s enough context to now read verse 37 and 38. And I think we’ll be able to decipher really clearly what he meant in this climactic declaration, okay? It’s on the festival’s final day. So John 737 says, 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 Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow Rivers of living water. I note here that Jesus didn’t just say it. I don’t even think he necessarily had the stage. It doesn’t imply that. It just says that he stood up and cried out like he unmuted himself and took over the whole Zoom.
Jesus, let’s just let him talk. The Spirit is speaking here. He made an exclamation. Generally, Jesus is pretty composed, unless it’s an episode in the Bible when it really matters, it really matters.
This invitation from Jesus bursts forth and I can imagine because he understood the symbolism of the water libation ceremony and all that was going on. And he knew who he was and he knew that they were longing for him. They knew what was going on. He knew it. His answer here, he’s like, Come to me.
The answer is me. You’re reenacting something that represents me. Come and get it and you’re going to overflow. And clearly referring to Isaiah 55, verse one, this is a great chapter in the Bible. Read this later, Isaiah 55.
But verse one says, Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters and he who has no money come by and eat. But even more powerful regarding his bursting exclamation, here is the timing of it, because he waited till the greatest and last day of the festival to do that. And that was day number eight. So it’s week long. But day number eight is when they go home.
Okay? It’s the day of days. On the week of weeks. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. This should be a Christmas sermon for us, right?
It truly was the most wonderful and exciting day in the whole year. And this also was the last feast time, right? That he would be here before he was crucified. And so they called this day Hoshana Raba, meaning this is the day of the great Hosanna. This is the day of celebration.
And there was a couple particular things that made this day stand out and they’re powerful. One is that for those that loathed and hated roughing it in the tent, they could look forward to their homes that night. And they would be sleeping in their beds again, finally out of the wet rain or whatever. But they were in the promised land of AC and the comforts of their memory foam mattress. Right.
I propose we start an annual camping trip. But that’s beside the point. Another thing that would happen on this particular day is that the priest would blow trumpets and they would wave these special branches while they sang. The Great Halal. And the Great Halal was basically the Psalms that, you know, you’ve read it, Psalm 113 through Psalm 118.
And it would have lyrics like this. Psalm 114, seven tremble at the presence of the Lord who turns the rock into a pool of water, the Flint into a spring of water. So that would be sung and Jesus would say what he said. But the biggest and most powerful difference I see is that if you recall, all throughout the first seven days, water from the pool of Siloam was carried in golden pitchers and poured out on the altar, remember? The libation ceremony on this particular day?
On the 8th day, there was no pouring of water, only prayers for water. The water ceased because it was to remind them that they did come into the promised Land. God didn’t need to spoon feed them anymore. So he will provide what they need. It’s in the land.
But he wasn’t spoon feeding them, right? So this is a really impressive claim. Jesus here knowing he’s basically saying, Look, I know there’s no more water at the temple today and all the rituals we love, there is no more water. But I have the water that you are looking for.
I am living water that will flow through you, through the Spirit I will give you. So Jesus, he’s shouting out, basically, your prayer has been answered like I am an answer to I’m what you’re looking for, right? Come to me. Come to me. It’s an invitation that he’s going to quench our thirst.
He will supply our needs even onto an overflow. That’s what he’s saying when he’s saying all these rituals is about me right now. That’s what I call high quality H2O. You got to connect the dots, connect the dots. And so he wants them to see past all this shadow play and all the metaphor of the week and recognize him.
He’s really saying in clear terms, I am the Messiah. It was the boldest, most dangerous audience he’s set on crucifixion from this point on. Really. And so I wanted to ask you guys a question this morning. And this is what you write down.
If you’re asking, how do I apply this to me? Because he’s talking to Jews. This is a Jewish context. What does that have to do with us? Well, the question here is, are you thirsty this morning? If I told you this wasn’t for you, this is only for the Jews.
That is not the truth of the gospel. The beauty is that it is for us. But how thirsty are you this morning? Are you thirsty for Christ? And the good news of the gospel is really that you don’t have to be Jewish to lay claim to Jesus offer.
I just hope maybe a little Jewish just to understand the beauty of the fine print. But you need to hear that this is for you because his offer if you look closely, he says, if anyone thirsts, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. That’s you. That’s me. That’s your neighborhood, that’s your coworkers, your neighbors.
That’s Oviedo, that’s Baldwin Park or Waterford Lakes, Conway Gardens. That’s all of central Florida. That’s our world. The invitation is for everybody. He invites us all.
There’s no discrimination policy in his offer. There is one qualifier, though. Look again, verse 37. The only qualification he gives is that this offer is for the thirsty.
For anyone who’s thirsty, you need to need this, right? This can’t be okay, right? Like, whatever you have to be thirsty to want this.
That’s not really a big qualifier, right? It’s not having something, it’s lacking something. You have to lack something to lay claim to this living water. Empty yourself. You have to have a dire, true need.
So what he meant by the metaphor of coming to drink, you can see it says to believe in Him, right? To place our faith in Him, to give all our trust to Him. All of our life relies upon him. And we’re clinging to Jesus, not our own kind of empty, rusty canteens. None of that.
No, we drink of his. He’s saying, I got water. Drink of my canteen here. I love Isaiah twelve three, because that prompts you that with joy you will draw water from the Wells of Salvation like it has come because of Jesus. So drink up, drink up.
This morning I’ve gone without water. I figured I would wait for Communion, I think, just to prepare my heart, because sometimes I understand so much of Jesus metaphors, like, man, remember what it’s like to be thirsty in the desert, to be wandering. I think it would do us some good to just remember who we are without Jesus. And that’s where we’re leading to with Communion, to remember just how important Jesus is in our lives. I want to steal a quote from a preacher long gone, but he said this about drinking because the invitation is to drink, right?
He said, Drinking is not a difficult action. Any fool can drink. In fact, many are great fools because they drink. They drink the wrong things. Drinking is particularly the commonplace act of sinners.
It’s powerful. And I think for mid week, this week, we will follow up kind of with that thought of considering here, if you’re not thirsty this morning, we really got to ask ourselves, is there a spoiled well that we’re drinking from instead this morning, right? Is there some broken cistern that we’re trying to get milk the last drop out of when there’s an endless supply of living water on the table? There are so many alternatives to Jesus, and none of them satisfy, right?
None of them will quench the deepest needs of our souls. So consider, I want you to think, is there another place that you might be drinking? Because if it’s not Jesus, it’s only somewhere we were wired to find fulfillment, to seek out joy. God created us that way. It might be one example, a couple of examples here I thought of it could be pornography, right?
Because it promises so much, but in the end, it always ends in disappointment. It could be material possessions and that discontented chase of always needing more and more things? Could be the unending playlist that Netflix or Spotify or streaming prime, whatever. All these entertainment sources that just kind of numb our minds and distract our thirst? Is it the pride maybe in advancing your career at the cost of all other kingdom-minded dreams that God might have for you?
Is it a romantic pursuit perhaps in which Jesus has no part if you’re single? Or perhaps the attention of someone else that you’re really entertaining if you’re married other than your spouse? Why would we settle for any of these alternatives? Or there are so many dumb alternatives that I haven’t even mentioned right? The truth is, though, come back to the well and the fountain of life? He’s the one that will satisfy? And so we’re going to pray here in a minute. But I just wanted to remind you guys from the scripture of the real invitation that Jesus is offering you?
He’s saying that no one or nothing on Earth will satisfy your heart like he will? And the invitation is for you? And I’m so grateful for that. In the end, any other pursuit, any other consumption or just settling it’s going to cost me everything.
And it’s going to leave me still thirsty? And I know that from my years wandering in the desert? Yet Jesus’s offer is free? It’s overflowing and it’s free? And so please get your Communion ready?
And we’ll drink to that? We’ll drink it that well, right? Really to just celebrate what he’s done and the invitation he’s given us? So we’ll pray together right now?
Amen. Dear God, Lord, we’re so grateful that you have given us just the opportunity to be a part of this great invitation. This opportunity to be a part of the offer to come and drink and be satisfied unto overflowing.
And, Lord, I’m so grateful for just the spirit that flows through us as we put our trust in you and just the satisfaction that comes from living with you and eternal life. Really starting currently and now. We thank you, God, for who you are and how your offer not only is for us but can extend Millennium down the line. It’s still valid. It hasn’t expired. And it won’t expire tomorrow. We’re so grateful, God, for the endless supply of true life you are to us.
And it’s in Jesus name we pray as we remember him, amen.