Hello Dear Friends and Fellow Scripture Seekers!
When last we were together, I shared a bit about the physical elements of the Feast of Tabernacles (Booth, Tents, Sukkot, you remember, right?) from Leviticus 23:33-36. In this article, I would like to invite you to walk with me into the pages of the Book of John and see several really important things that Messiah Yeshua revealed about Himself during Sukkot. I believe you will find them familiar, and I hope connecting them with The Feast will give you a deeper understanding of Yeshua’s ministry, and even more of a reason to celebrate this joyful time of year.
Let’s look at John 7:37-39. This is a passage that most believers know well. Here we learn that Yeshua is THE WAY to have Living Water, which is defined in this passage as The Holy Spirit.
But have you ever noticed when Yeshua made this statement?
John tells us that it was “on the last and greatest day of The Feast.”
THE Feast. Sukkot is traditionally known as “The Feast.” Ancient readers of the Book of John would have known this and read Yeshua’s actions within that context. Guess what else they knew?
During the Second Temple period in which Yeshua ministered, a Water Libation Ceremony was celebrated at the temple during Sukkot. It was a joyous time, and may have been a nod to Isaiah 12:3, where it is prophesied that Israel would joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.
Are you getting a glimpse of the drama that Yeshua is unfolding here?
For 7 days, the people had been joyously drawing water and pouring it after the daily sacrifice, perhaps connecting it to the springs of salvation from Isaiah 12:3.
For 7 days, the people had been remembering from the history of the exodus, the first night that their ancestors slept in sukkahs outside of Egypt (Exodus 12:37), and remembering that while in the wilderness, Israel’s thirst was quenched by waters flowing supernaturally from a rock (Exodus 17:6).
For 7 days, the people had been recalling scriptures that foretold that waters would one day flow from the temple (Ezekiel 47:1) and go out from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8).
And on the last and greatest day of The Feast — The 8th Day — Yeshua stood up and cried loudly:
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture says, out of his innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water.
Have you ever heard anyone say that Yeshua never claimed to be the Messiah? Well, I hope you will not believe them. In this moment, on the last and greatest day of The Feast, Yeshua most certainly DID claim to be Israel’s Messiah. And the people in attendance recognized His claim.
While the chronology is unclear from the verse placement in John chapters 7 and 8, it was likely the very same day when Yeshua also proclaimed to be the “light of the world” (John 8:12). It would have been fitting, as the enormous menorahs (75 to 150 feet tall) would have been lit throughout the 7 days of The Feast. By the end of the pushback Yeshua received for making this statement, we hear Him say to the unbelieving Judean leaders, “before Abraham was, I Am!” (John 8:58).
During The Feast.
May we never read these chapters again without remember this special context!
But Debbie, I thought Sukkot was just a 7 day feast…How is there an 8th day?
I thought you might have noticed that.
Recall that in Sukkot Part 1, I noted that while Sukkot is a 7 day feast, it is immediately followed by a one day feast that by proximity gets connected to the 7 days of Sukkot. Here is how it is worded in Leviticus 23:34-36:
On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Feast of Sukkot, for seven days to Adonai. On the first day there is to be a holy convocation — you are to do no laborious work. For seven days you are to bring an offering by fire to Adonai. The eighth day will be a holy convocation to you, and you are to bring an offering by fire to Adonai. It is a solemn assembly — you shall do no laborious work.
So how does one get an eighth day out of a 7 day feast?
That is a GREAT question! And one that may deserve a little more time to answer, so come back soon for Sukkot Part 3. Thank you for seeking with me!