Hear our prayer. You are faithful and true. We trust you. We know you will come to our aid. We ask for your wisdom today. We know we are sinners. We all are. There is only one who is perfect. And through the grace of Jesus, we know we have mercy.
Some days we don’t have a clue. We are in darkness. Nothing we do is right. There are people and spiritual forces all around us that want to harm us, that want to defeat us. Our hearts are heavy. We are crushed. We are weary. We can’t do enough to climb out of this pit.
And then, we remember your faithfulness. You have always been unswerving, Lord. Thank you! We stretch out our hands lifting them high above our heads, palms up to receive from you, just a like a small flower growing from a rocky crag in the desert. We plead: “Come Holy Spirit, fill our thirsty souls!”
As this new day dawns, we desire you more than anything. The sky is filled with streaks of orange and blue and white. We are thankful for fresh starts. We know you will teach us today. You will wrap your arm around our shoulders and show us the way to go. You do this every single day because you love us. You are our God. Your gentle Spirit leads us in the way we are to go.
We are your servants. Protect us from evil. We love you.
We thank you for Jesus.
We’re reading through, and with intentionality, praying through the Psalms during this school year. There are 150 Psalms, divided into 180 different readings. See this post for more info.
This city is such a madhouse. I love coming up to Jerusalem for the feasts, but Sukkot is always crazy! Not only does all of Israel make pilgrimage, but then we are commanded to build booths to live in for the eight days of the festival. It reminds our people of the years of wandering in the desert, and how Jehovah provided for our every need then… And we trust that He will be our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, for us today and in the New Year.
The already crowded and narrow streets are packed with people, animals and sukkahs. The weather has turned cooler the past couple of days and so each little hut also has a small fire going, so smoke fills the air. The smell of animals, coal fires and people crammed together is, let’s just say, unique at this season! Each year, my wife and three children make the five day journey from The Galilee to the City of David. It is a time of rejoicing, for sure! We celebrate the fall crops of grapes and olives. And we begin our prayers in earnest for the grain we have just planted and that our One True God would bring rain to the land. Each day as part of this celebration of Tabernacles, the priest will walk from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher. It takes several hours of the day as the journey is about a mile. He retrieves Mayim Chayim, living water, from this spring-fed pool to pour out on the altar with the sacrifices. The amount of water is minimal. But its significance is everything! We are trusting that God will provide rain and good weather for the kernels of wheat and barley tucked under the soil on each family’s small plot of Promised Land. There’s nothing further we can do for the grain. The rest is up to YHWH.
On the Final Day of the Feast, the priest makes eight trips to the Pool. Along the voyage those of us in the crowd shout the Psalms of Ascent from King David. Hour after hour, it’s a raucous time of joyful celebration. The priest works the crowd as we all shout “Hosanna — God Save Us!” The higher the pitcher over his head, the louder we cheer. The lower the pitcher, the softer the crowd murmurs our “Hosanna’s!” It was during one of those quiet moments… the priest had lowered the pitcher of life giving water, the crowd was quietly singing “Hosanna…” Suddenly in a loud voice someone among the people shouts “SH’MA! Listen!” We all turned towards the commanding speaker, stunned to realize that it was not a priest, but it was the new rabbi Yeshua, from our hometown.
His words still reverberate off my heart: “Sh’ma! Listen… Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them!” We turned one to each other nodding our approval. Who wouldn’t want Mayim Chayim, living water, every day?! I heard some near me say He must be a prophet,likely thinking of the prophesy from Ezekiel that says living water will flow from the Temple deep enough to swim in. Others said He must be the Messiah.
I’m still undecided… I knew Yeshua as a boy. We grew up together. I heard Him at our synagogue in the Galilee recently… I want to believe, but the priests there chased him out.
But I keep wondering, what would it be like for me, for my family, to have living water flow from my heart… to overflowing… Is it possible? Is it really possible?
Some of the words, actions, thoughts perhaps, of a bystander at the Feast of Tabernacles from John 7.
Are you thirsty? We all have seasons of weariness, don’t we? Where we find our hearts so conflicted or broken. Or we are sitting on anger or unresolved hurt. Or we are so busy with life that we are brittle and about to crack. Would you let the living water of Jesus fill you up?
On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say.” Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him. John 7:37-38 (CEV)
Some might say this is the most important part of the story. This is a promise for “everyone that has faith in Him.” Look at who the Holy Spirit is:
The Father… will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. John 14:16 (LB)
The Spirit will show you what is true. John 14:17 (CEV)
God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. 1 Timothy 1:7 (CEV)
It is the Holy Spirit who is our comforter, who gives us hope when we see no way out. It is the Spirit who gives us boldness to proclaim the hope of the Gospel to a friend at work or our neighbor. It is the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth, and gives us wisdom to make right decisions.
Drink. Everyone! From the Life-giving springs of Jesus.
The invitation is from Jesus to you and to me. This is not just a once a year thing like the Feast of Tabernacles. I believe we need to empty ourselves of our self everyday. What does that mean? To wake up each morning and say as Jesus did in Luke 22: “Lord, not my will, but your will be done.” John Eldredge says to ask God this prayer everyday: “What is the life You want me to live?”
Be eager to drink from the springs of living water everyday. And then, let His love, joy, hope and peace overflow through you to others all around you.