“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.” (John 3:37-39)
The Jews during the time of Jesus had many feasts (Holidays) and one of their favorites was the Feast of Tabernacles. It was a weeklong celebration where they were reminded about their ancestors’ time in the wilderness. As a family they were to erect a shack-like shelter that they were to live in for the whole week. Imagine how much fun this would be as a child…camping outside of Jerusalem! Every evening they would have events, but the best one was on the final and greatest day of the festival. It was a water festival where the high priest would get up on a tall ladder and pour pitchers of water onto the ground.
The passage says that it was on that final day that Jesus stood up and shouted: “Are you still thirsty? If so, come to me and I will give you streams of living water!”. I think Jesus was addressing the down feeling we all get after the holidays.
Sometimes I put too much hope into Christmas and New Year.
- I hope for material things that don’t satisfy.
- I hope for good family times which can turn out disappointing.
- I hope for times full of fun and memories which can still leave me “thirsty”.
There is nothing wrong with the thirst, but Jesus is encouraging me to fill my thirst with a relationship with him. Only Jesus can fulfill my deep needs and longings.
“Father, help me with my deep thirsts. Help me to not put my hope in this world but in you alone. I ask that your living streams will flow from deep inside my soul and quench my thirst. Finally, I pray for your Spirit to come into my life and fill me with your living water. Amen!”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.