Humble Hero


“If Anyone Thirsts, Let Him Come!”

This chapter is based on John 7:1-15, 37-39.

Three times a year the Jews were required to come to Jerusalem for religious purposes. The Feast of Tabernacles was the last gathering of the year. The harvest had been gathered from the valleys and plains of Palestine. The olives had been picked and pressed for their oil. The palm trees had yielded their fruits. The people had trodden the purple clusters of the vine in the wine press. HH 207.1

The feast continued for seven days, and the inhabitants of Palestine, with many from other lands, came to Jerusalem to celebrate it. Old and young, rich and poor, all brought some gift as an offering of thanksgiving to Him who had crowned the year with His goodness. The people brought from the woods everything that could give expression to the universal joy. The city resembled a beautiful forest. HH 207.2

The feast was not only the harvest thanksgiving but the memorial of God’s care over Israel in the wilderness. To commemorate their tent life, during the feast the Israelites lived in tabernacles, or shelters, of green branches set up in the streets, in the courts of the temple, or on the housetops. The hills and valleys surrounding Jerusalem were dotted with these leafy dwellings. With sacred song and thanksgiving the worshipers celebrated this occasion. HH 207.3

A little before the feast was the Day of Atonement, when the people were declared to be at peace with Heaven. “O give thanks to the Lord ... For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 106:1) rose triumphantly, while all kinds of music accompanied the united singing. HH 207.4

The temple was the center of the universal joy. On either side of the sacred building’s white marble steps, the Levite choir led the service of song. Voices near and far took up the melody until the encircling hills rang with praise. HH 207.5

At night the temple blazed with artificial light. The music, the waving of palm branches, the great gathering of people with the light streaming over them from the hanging lamps, and the majesty of the ceremonies deeply impressed the onlookers. But the most impressive ceremony was one that commemorated an event in the wilderness journey. HH 207.6

At dawn the priests sounded a long blast on their silver trumpets, and the glad shouts of the people from their shelters welcomed the festal day. Then the priest dipped a container of water from the flowing waters of the Brook Kidron. Lifting it to his shoulder, while the trumpets were sounding, he went up the broad steps of the temple, keeping time with the music with a slow and measured step. HH 207.7

At the altar in the court of the priests, there were two silver basins. The priest poured the water into one, and a similar amount of wine was poured into the other, and the contents of both flowed into the Kidron and on to the Dead Sea. This consecrated water represented the fountain that gushed from the rock at God’s command to quench the thirst of the children of Israel. HH 208.1

As the sons of Joseph made their preparations to attend the feast, they saw that Christ gave no sign that He intended to go. Since the healing at Bethesda, He had not attended the national gatherings. To avoid useless conflict at Jerusalem, He had been working only in Galilee. His apparent neglect of the great religious assemblies and the hatred shown Him by the priests and rabbis perplexed even His own disciples and His family. In His teachings He presented the blessings of obedience, yet He Himself seemed indifferent to the service that God had established. HH 208.2

He mingled with tax collectors, disregarded rabbinical observances, and freely set aside traditional requirements concerning the Sabbath—all these seemed to place Him in conflict with the religious authorities. His brothers thought it was a mistake to alienate the great and scholarly men of the nation. They felt that these men must be in the right. But they had witnessed Jesus’ blameless life, and His works had deeply impressed them. They still hoped He would lead the Pharisees to see that He was the Messiah, the Prince of Israel! They cherished this thought with proud satisfaction. HH 208.3

They were so anxious about this that they urged Christ to go to Jerusalem. “Depart from here,” they said, “and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” If He knew He was the Messiah, why this strange reserve? Why not go boldly to Jerusalem and perform the wonderful works reported about Him in Galilee? Do not hide in secluded provinces, they said. Present yourself at the capital, win the support of the priests and rulers, and establish the new kingdom. HH 208.4