Lenten Devotional: March 21
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty, come to me and let the one who believes in me, drink.” John 7:37
It was the festival of the Booths in Jerusalem. Jesus had been reluctant to go, knowing that the chief priests and Pharisees planned to arrest him. He arrived at mid-point and went into the temple to teach. There was astonishment among the Jews at his learning and many in the crowd were making comments. Wasn’t this the man they were trying to kill? Yet here he was speaking openly, and they did nothing about it. Could it be that the authorities thought him the Messiah? Yet the Messiah was coming from a place unknown; this man’s origin is known. Surely the Messiah could not come from Galilee? Many in the crowd believed in him. In spite of arrest plans, no one laid a hand on him. The temple police sent out to do the arrests returned without him. “Never has anyone spoken like this,” they reported. At the end of the day everyone went home. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to return to the temple and continue teaching the next day.
The picture of the festival is vivid. Jesus stands at the center, teaching in the temple. We hear him cry out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me, drink”. Many seem to have taken him up on his invitation, just as many of us are drawn to do today. We are thirsty, and we long to drink. So much in our lives is confusion, difficult, painful and without seeming solution. “Come”, is the answer, “believe,” and “drink”.