Monday, October 5, 2015
Water and Shimini Atzerat
Water - there is nothing more important to life than water.
I love how God has put into His creations the physical 'pictures' by which we can understand the spiritual and eternal truths. As important as physical water is to our body, so is spiritual water for our soul.
Today is Shimini Atzerat, or the Eighth Day of the Sukkot festival. In this Jewish feast described in Leviticus 23:33-35, 39-43, the Jews had three ceremonies that were carefully followed on each day of the first seven days of the feast.
The third, of these daily ceremonies, was called 'the rite of the water libation'. At the beginning of Sukkot a procession of priests went down to the pool of Siloam to bring to the temple a golden container of water, enough for all the feast days. The water was brought up with great ceremony - the shofar was blown and the people waved their palm branches and the great Hallel - Psalms 113-118 was recited!
Each morning, the priest on duty filled a silver bowl with water from the pool of Silam, circled the altar and then poured it out as an act of prayer - asking that God would pour out His blessing of rain upon the earth.
Then on the 8th day, this water ceremony reached its climax. The priests circled the altar seven times, instead of once, and then poured out the water with great pomp and ceremony. This was known as the great Hosanna, translated "save now" !!
Why is this significant to us today?
It gives a depth of meaning to the passage in John 7:37-39. The words "on the last day, that great day of the feast" refer to the eighth day of Sukkot that I just discribed.
So here we have Jesus standing up on this very holy day that had great meaning to every Jew there ... and Jesus 'cries out' -- in a loud voice so everyone can hear. He shouts, "If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
These words were 'blasphemous' enough that there were those who wanted to kill him -verse 44. Why? Because Jesus was proclaiming that this feast - that climaxed with a prayer for water - had been answered ! Jesus, Himself, was the water of life - the water of blessing that God had poured out upon all who would believe on Him, whom God had sent.
Have you drunk deeply of this water of life?
"..Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.. but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." ~John 4:14