From Heaven With Love


Chapter 49—“If Any Man Thirst, Let Him Come!”

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

Three times a year the Jews were required to assemble at Jerusalem for religious purposes. The Feast of Tabernacles was the closing gathering of the year. From the valleys and plains of Palestine the harvest had been gathered. The olive berries had been picked. The palm had yielded her store. The purple clusters of the vine had been trodden in the wine press. HLv 300.1

The feast continued for seven days, and for its celebration the inhabitants of Palestine, with many from other lands, came to Jerusalem. Old and young, rich and poor, all brought some gift as a tribute of thanksgiving to Him who had crowned the year with His goodness. Everything that could give expression to the universal joy was brought from the woods; the city bore the appearance of a beautiful forest. HLv 300.2

The feast was not only the harvest thanksgiving but the memorial of God's care over Israel in the wilderness. In commemoration of their tent life the Israelites during the feast dwelt in tabernacles of green boughs erected 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. HLv 300.3

A little before the feast was the Day of Atonement, when the people were declared to be at peace with Heaven. “O give thanks unto the Lord; ... for His mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1) rose triumphantly, while all kinds of music accompanied the united singing. HLv 300.4

The temple was the center of the universal joy. On either side of the white marble steps of the sacred building, the choir of Levites led the service of song. The melody was caught up by voices near and far, till the encircling hills were vocal with praise. HLv 301.1

At night the temple blazed with artificial light. The music, the waving of palm branches, the great concourse of people, over whom the light streamed from the hanging lamps, and the majesty of the ceremonies deeply impressed the beholders. But the most impressive ceremony was one commemorating an event in the wilderness sojourn. HLv 301.2

At dawn the priests sounded a long blast on their silver trumpets, and the glad shouts of the people from their booths welcomed the festal day. Then the priest dipped from the flowing waters of the Kedron a flagon of water. Lifting it on high, while the trumpets were sounding, he ascended the broad steps of the temple, keeping time with the music with slow and measured tread. HLv 301.3

At the altar in the court of the priests were two silver basins. The water was poured into one, and a flagon of wine into the other; and the contents of both flowed into the Kedron and to the Dead Sea. This consecrated water represented the fountain that at the command of God gushed from the rock to quench the thirst of the children of Israel. HLv 301.4

As the sons of Joseph made preparation to attend the feast, they saw that Christ made no movement signifying His intention of attending. Since the healing at Bethesda He had not attended the national gatherings. To avoid useless conflict at Jerusalem, He had restricted His labors to Galilee. His apparent neglect of the great religious assemblies and the enmity manifested toward Him by the priests and rabbis, were a cause of perplexity even to His own disciples and His kindred. In His teachings He dwelt upon the blessings of obedience, yet He Himself seemed indifferent to the service which had been divinely established. HLv 301.5

His mingling with publicans, His disregard of rabbinical observances, and the freedom with which He set aside traditional requirements concerning the Sabbath, all seemed to place Him in antagonism to the religious authorities. His brothers thought it a mistake to alienate the great and learned men of the nation. They felt that these men must be in the right. But they had witnessed Jesus’ blameless life and had been deeply impressed by His works. 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. HLv 302.1

So anxious were they about this that they urged Christ to go to Jerusalem. “Depart hence,” they said, “and go unto Judea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, show Thyself 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 of 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. HLv 302.2