Day 15 - Friday, March 13 Living Water DAILY READING - Jn 7:14-44 Jesus travels in secret to the Festival of Tabernacles. The Festival of Tabernacles was the Jewish celebration commemorating God’s bounty in harvest and God’s provision during the wilderness wandering. At the festival, the Jewish leaders are watching for Jesus. Up to this point, what has Jesus done to put them on high alert? Jesus has performed miracles. He healed a man on the Sabbath. Masses of Jewish people are following him. When thousands of people follow someone to hear their teaching, people notice. Leaders don’t like it when their people fall away and follow someone else. Shepherds don’t like it when their sheep turn away from the pack. The Jewish leaders saw whole packs of people being persuaded by Jesus. This alarmed them. Halfway through the festival, Jesus went into the temple courts and taught. John says the Jews were . (Jn 7:14) Why is this the reaction of the Jews in the temple? Jesus was a carpenter's son. He would have been educated in Torah as a small boy. But, he would not have received the higher education under a Rabbi. Families that could afford for their sons to learn instead of work sent their boys onto higher education. The working class needed their sons to start earning money in early adolescence. Working class boys usually apprenticed and learned their father’s trade. This is who Jesus was. Jesus was a carpenter, trained by his father. Jesus did not learn under a Rabbi. Yet, the wisdom of Jesus is unmatched. What does Jesus say about his teaching? What does Jesus say about people who speak to gain personal glory? Can you easily recognize the difference between the two? I think it is important to know who is teaching you. It is so important to know that when you place yourself under someone’s authoritative knowledge, they have placed themselves as faithfully as possible under Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Part of what the Jewish leaders are concerned about is the possibility of false teaching. Jesus brought up some interesting questions in Jn 7:19-20. Has not given you the law? Yet NOT ONE of you keeps the . Why are you trying to me? First, turn to Exodus 32:16 and Deuteronomy 10:4. Who WROTE the law? Moses was the delivery method. Moses was a vessel. God wrote the law. God delivered his word through Moses. Jews understand the role of Moses in their story. Perhaps Jesus is using Moses here to help them see the role of Jesus in their story. Jesus is the Word of God delivered to God’s people. More than that, what other point is Jesus making? Turn to Exodus 20:13. It says, “You shall not .” (NIV) Jesus is shining a spotlight on the Jewish leaders. The law says not to murder. The Pharisees are highly bound to the law to the point of being the enforcers of it. Yet, they plot to kill Jesus. Interesting to consider. How often do we, as “religious people”, say we are law abiding yet not follow the law? How often do we say we are righteous, yet act unrighteously? How often do we kid ourselves and hide behind religion? The crowd is confused. They ask, “Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus knows something they don’t know. How does Jesus know that someone is trying to kill him? Why does Jesus present this to the people? Jn 7:24 is a critical hinge in this pericope. Jesus says, “ Stop judging by mere , but instead judge .”(NIV). As Christ followers, this is so important for us to remember. So often, I think we judge based on outward appearance. We can’t see past the outside into the inside. On many levels, this is true. The spirit of the law is what forms the letter of the law. Jesus demands moral discernment. He is asking the Jewish people to use deeper discernment. He asks us to do the same. On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus delivers a great proclamation. He says, “Let anyone who is come to me and drink” (NIV). Turn to Isaiah 55:1. As God summons the exiles to return to restoration, what does God say through the prophet Isaiah? How does this summoning in Isaiah 55:1 mirror what Jesus is saying to the Jewish people at the Festival of Tabernacles, the celebration of God’s bounty and provision? What does Jesus mean when he says, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow within them.”? Do you feel like rivers of living water flow through you? How? If not, what do you think is damming the flow?