Crude Huts

Saturday, Aug. 20                              

“On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘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.’  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”  John 7:37-39.  These three verses are loaded with truth.  But we can only understand it by understanding some Jewish history.  The Jews have a number of special days to commemorate pivotal points in their history.  But three of them are considered crucial (2 Chron, 8:12-13)—the Passover, Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles.  Every one of these was a  type or analogy of a significant event, some during the incarnation, some later, some still future.   The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of  Booths.   Both of these terms are a bit misleading.  They refer to small, crude, temporary structures that the Jews lived in for the eight days of the Festival. We might call them shacks or huts.  They were a graphic reminder of the hardships that Israel endured during their 40 years in the desert.  The Festival doesn’t just focus on the hardships; it is a reminder that God never failed to provide them with food and water.  There is no record of any Israelite dying of hunger or thirst while they suffered the wrath of God for their constant rebellion.  The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates the wilderness experience, but it also was a harvest festival, commemorating the bountiful harvests that God gave them each year after they occupied the promised land.   So it is really two concurrent celebrations.  This is the background for the John 7:37-39 passage. Tomorrow I will fill you in on how Jesus identified with it and why he said what he did.

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