September 14, 2020
John 7:33-39 (NIV)
Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
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.
This was the great Festival of Booths, the celebration of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites during the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. He led them with the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He faithfully fed them with manna and brought them water from the rock. The Jews would make pilgrimage to Jerusalem where they would set up booths, or makeshift huts where they would spend the nights throughout the festival—remembering those years of dwelling in tents.
As God had tabernacled in their midst through those forty years, now God tabernacled among these present generations as they remembered. I get the sense that Jesus could no longer contain himself. Remember, he hadn’t planned to go at all. His visit was in secret. He had done a little teaching here and there but maintained a low profile for the most part.
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.”
The fiery pillar now shed its light on the Light of the World. The manna in the wilderness formed a breadcrumb trail leading to the Bread of Life. The water that once gushed from the rock now flowed like a river of living water forever quenching the thirsty souls of a parched people. Miracle of miracles—the ancient festival now unfolded in real time in a kind of cosmic fusion of horizons, in a wedding of time and eternity. In one hand, he held the horizon of all history past and, in the other, he held the horizon of all eternity to come. When a moment opens up to eternity it can never close again but remains forever open, radiant with revelation like a portal into a reality that never stops happening.
Holy ground. Shoes off. Face down. Listen to him.
His voice still speaking, not as echoes but living words ever asking, “Is anyone thirsty?” And ever pleading, “Come to me!” And always promising, “rivers of living water” flowing from within you and me.
Who is thirsty? Let’s go to him.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, who has revealed himself to us in a way we can barely comprehend. Come, Holy Spirit, and hold us in these mysteries. Let our thinking give way to awestruck beholding where deep speaks to deep and we can never be the same. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
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