Vv. 1-5 — The Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) was one of the three feasts (Passover and Pentecost) where every male Jew throughout Israel was required to go –“up” to Jerusalem each year. For seven days the Jews celebrated the completion of the harvest, prayed for the –“latter rains” to renew the soil from summer droughts and to commemorate God’s goodness to provide water during their wilderness wanderings. The priests and the people would collect water from the Gihon Spring in a gold pitcher and carry it all the way to the Temple and pour it out on the altar. The last day they would do this seven times. In this long, hot and laborious process we see Jesus as –“living water” (John 4) to all who will receive Him.

Vv. 6-10 — Though we are not sure of all the motives of Jesus’ brothers we know they were wrong motives for they did not believe in Him. Some of Jesus’ disciples urged Him not to go near Jerusalem for the religious leaders wanted to kill Him. (John 11:8) And Jesus knew the –“world hated Him because He told them their deeds were evil.” Jesus came with –“grace and truth” (John 1:14) for only as we know the truth about ourselves do we see our need for Him and for His power to change us. Jesus used a play on words when He said it was not His time to –“go up” referring to His ascension which was to be the following spring after His death and resurrection for, as we see later, He did go to Jerusalem but in secret.

Vv. 11-13 — There were three different groups of people responding to Jesus with mixed reactions — some believed, some didn’t, some wanted to kill Him. The –“Jews” refers to the religious leaders; the crowd — those who came up from all over Israel for the Feast and –“some of the people of Jerusalem” (v. 25) — Jews also but not religious leaders.

Vv. 14-19a — Jesus didn’t follow the Rabbinic tradition of being trained by a Rabbinic scholar. And He said His teachings were not His own but came directly from God. And He knew the Scriptures as He had studied them diligently as a child and young Man. He was a Man of the Word. So He had an inherent authority when He taught. Then He says in verse 17 that spiritual knowledge requires humility, honesty and a willingness to obey. We can learn math or science or business skills etc., without a moral and spiritual response to God but revelation knowledge of God and His ways requires humble obedience in order to truly learn. (E.g., compare Rahab who knew very little about God but who applied what she did know to the Pharisees who knew much about God but applied very little) Next to the power of the Holy Spirit our will is the most important thing about us. Ultimately, the outcome of our life is reflected in the multitude of choices we make in our relationship with the Lord – little ones and big ones.

Vv. 19b- 24 — Jesus confronts the religious leaders about trying to kill Him because He was breaking their legalistic traditions (healing a man on the Sabbath — John 5) and exposing their hypocrisy and pride. And though they wanted to kill Him and later did, Jesus knew it was not His time. (v. 30) He had more work yet to do. This is also true for us. God has ordered our days to the very day and no one can thwart His purposes for our life as we –“love Him and live according to His purposes.” (Also see Ephesians 2:10 and Psalm 139:16)

Vv. 25-36; 40-53 – We see in these verses the different responses to Jesus and the ignorance of many people about the Messiah. They didn’t understand the spiritual meaning of His messages for they were ruled by natural reason. This is still true today. Many of our business associates, friends and even family members really don’t know the historical and Biblical truths about Jesus. (See 1 Peter 3:15) And many still reject Him out of intellectual pride as the Pharisees did (vv. 47- 52) But look at what Jesus says: 25At that time Jesus answered and said, –“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” (Matthew 11:25-26)

Vv. 37-39 – –“Jesus stood up and cried out” – We see the intensity of Jesus’ passion for people to know Him and receive Him even as living water for their thirsty souls. Year after year the priests perform the ceremonies about the desperate need for water, for their crops, for their lives –“in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). And here in their very presence stands Jesus, the water of life — the living water for all who will drink. For when we receive Jesus we receive the Holy Spirit and our former self-centered lives now have a new main-spring — God Holy Spirit — the God Who gives Himself away — the God Who will now flow through us as living waters to others. And we need to be continually –“filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) so we can continually be a source of His living waters to all He sends us to.


How did the Lord speak to you through this passage?

Do you feel you err more on the side of grace or the side of truth in your relationships? (John 1:14) Explain

Comment on our need to humbly obey the Scriptures even when we don’t understand them fully in order to grow in –“true spiritual knowledge.”

How do you refill your life with –“living water” on a regular basis?

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