Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
The third annual festival that the Jews celebrated was the Feast of Tabernacles, a week-long feast to commemorate God’s protection when He brought them out of Egypt. The feast took place right after the harvest and the people were to stay in booths made of branches, joyfully remembering God’s gracious provision and liberation. During one of the daily rituals, a priest drew water from the Spring of Siloam in a gold pitcher and then carried it to the altar, pouring it out at the base. The ceremony was a symbol of salvation, for the spring was also called the ‘well of salvation’.
Can you imagine Jesus, perhaps from some higher vantage point, watching the priest carry the water to the altar? The people had spent a week in religious observance, but their souls were still dry and parched. Jesus had come to his own, but his own did not receive him. They did not understand who he was. Think of the shock as Jesus, on the last and greatest day of the feast, stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
I thought of this passage today for a couple of reasons. First, I still try by my own effort to serve, please and obey God. With the best of intentions I set my resolve, but quickly discover the weakness and frailty of my own resources. How I need the bubbling stream of God’s Spirit supplying life from within. So, in my need and thirst, I must come to Jesus, believing that He alone is the source and fountain of life. Nothing else will satisfy. Isn’t it true that all temporal and worldly enjoyments still leave us thirsting? So, the invitation stands. Jesus says ‘Come to me and drink.” Some of us may come running to him, desperate from thirst. Others maybe, find themselves in such a condition that they can only manage to take a few limping steps towards the Savior. I once heard a pastor say, “If you do not have the strength to run to Jesus, just fall towards him. That will be enough.”
The other reason I thought of this passage involves an incident with a hummingbird. Now I know you may be wondering if I’ve gone a bit overboard with the bird thing. After all, I wrote a whole journal entry about birds and even took pictures! But let me explain. After working in the yard today, I went back into the garage to put away some tools. It was then I noticed a trapped hummingbird frantically looking for a way out. The fragile bird made one last flight across the garage, and then came to rest on the upper ledge of a window. I opened the window and tried to nudge it out…but all to no avail. The feeder was within sight…just a few feet away, but the hummingbird was exhausted and lay motionless. I gently picked it up. It was as if I was holding nothing in my hand. It was so light and small. I carried the hummingbird to the front porch, climbed a chair, and then carefully put its beak into the feeder. No response. Again and again I inserted the beak into the sugary liquid, urging the little thing to drink. Finally I saw its eye move. A few moments later, as I held it in my open palm, the bird buzzed to life and flew away. Yeah!
Another passage came to mind. Psalm 81 is a reminder of Israel’s test at the waters of Meribah, where the people had nothing to drink. Rather than look to God for their provision, they quarreled with Moses and raised their voices in complaint. Now listen to God’s yearning for his people, what he wanted them to know. “I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” (Ps. 81:10) Can it really be so? No need to strive? No stringent requirement to meet? Just the simplest of acts… “open your mouth wide and I will fill it?” The hummingbird had no strength left. It couldn’t even hold its head up to take a drink. I did the work. All it had to do was sip the nourishment.
So today, come to Jesus. Come just as you are… run if you can, or just fall towards him. And if you have no strength left at all, just open your mouth wide and he will fill it.
1 Comment »