Lectionary Year A
May 19, 2002
John 20:19-23 or 7:37-39
Pentecost Sunday

Broader Context

John 7:37-39


Revelation 21:6 Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life."
John 14:16 "I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever." (The Holy Spirit will come only afer Jesus has gone).


Though there is no direct quotation that Jesus refers to, the following are helpful for understanding things.

Leviticus 23:36 "On the eighth day of the festival you shall observe a holy convocation and present the Lord's offerings by fire; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations."
Isaiah 55:1 "Ho, everyone who thirst, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price (This notion ties in well with the idea that the Festival was one in which the servant, the stranger and the widow, and the poor were all to share in universal joy. Barclay)
Isaiah 12:3 "With joy you will draw water from the well of salvation" (An important reference to a part of the Festival during which the priest would gather water from the pool of Siloam and bring it to the temple to offer it to God while the people chanted this verse. Barclay).
Ezekiel 47:1-12 Here the water motif is most clearly explicated. Water is here associated with the temple, the dwelling place of God. Water being a symbol of the presence of deity. The river in Ezekiel reflects the existence of the deity's garden, a watery and fertile place. Jesus may well have been "tapping into" this imagery with his notion of "living water."

The Festival of Booths had a double significance. First, it was an historical festival in which the people of Israel were called upon to remember the time of the Exodus when their predecessors lived in booths or homemade tents during their 40 years in the wilderness. This time was commemorated through the requirement to construct and live in similar dwellings for the 8 day period of the festival. So, the entire city was littered with little booths on housetops, streets, and public squares. Even the Temple had little booths pitched on its grounds.
Second, it had an agricultural significance. It was supremely a harvest-thanksgiving festival. Sometimes called simply "The Feast" (like the messianic feast?). It was a season of gladness, marking thanksgiving not only for the harvest, but for all the bounty of nature that made life possible and living good. Barclay, p 247-252.
With as many people as would have been there, Jesus certainly chose an opportune moment to make his invitation.

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