John 7:37

John 7:37

In the last day, that great day of the feast
That is, of tabernacles, as appears from ( John 7:2 ) , which was usually called (gx) , "the feast", in distinction from the passover and Pentecost F17; and the eighth day of it was called (Nwrxah lgrh) , "the last day of the feast" F18, as here: and it was a "great day", being, as is said in ( Leviticus 23:36 ) , an holy convocation, a solemn assembly, in which no servile work was done, and in which an offering was made by fire unto the Lord. According to the traditions of the Jews, fewer sacrifices were offered on this day than on the rest; for on the first day they offered thirteen bullocks, and lessened one every day; so that on the seventh, day, there was but seven offered, and on the eighth day but one, when the priests returned to their lots, as at other feasts F19; but notwithstanding the Jews make out this to be the greater day for them, since the seventy bullocks offered on the other seven days, were for the seventy nations of the world; but the one bullock, on the eighth day, was peculiarly for the people of Israel F20: and besides, they observe, that there were several things peculiar on this day, as different from the rest; as the casting of lots, the benediction by itself, a feast by itself, an offering by itself, a song by itself, and a blessing by itself {u}: and on this day they had also the ceremony of drawing and pouring water, attended with the usual rejoicings as on other days; the account of which is this F23:

``the pouring out of water was after this manner; a golden pot, which held three logs, was tilled out of Siloah, and when they came to the water gate, they blew (their trumpets) and shouted, and blew; (then a priest) went up by the ascent of the altar, and turned to the left hand, (where) were two silver basins--that on the west side was filled with water, and that on the east with wine; he poured the basin of water into that of wine, and that of wine into that of water.''

At which time there were great rejoicing, piping, and dancing, by the most religious and sober people among the Jews; insomuch that it is said F24, that

``he that never saw the rejoicing of the place of drawing of water, never saw any rejoicing in his life.''

And this ceremony, they say F25, is a tradition of Moses from Mount Sinai, and refers to some secret and mysterious things; yea, they plainly say, that it has respect to the pouring forth of the Holy Ghost F26.

``Says R. Joshua ben Levi, why is its name called the place of drawing water? because, from thence (vdwqh xwr Mybawv) , "they draw the Holy Ghost", as it is said, "and ye shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation", ( Isaiah 12:3 ) .''

Moreover, it was on this day they prayed for the rains for the year ensuing: it is asked F1,

``from what time do they make mention of the powers of the rains (which descend by the power of God)? R. Eliezer says, from the first good day of the feast (of tabernacles); R. Joshua says, from the last good day of the feast.--They do not pray for the rains, but near the rains;''

that is, the time of rains; and which, one of their commentators says F2, is the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles; for from the feast of tabernacles, thenceforward is the time of rains. The Jews have a notion, that at this feast the rains of the ensuing year were fixed: hence they say F3, that

``at the feast of tabernacles judgment is made concerning the waters;''

or a decree or determination is made concerning them by God. Upon which the Gemara F4 has these words,

``wherefore does the law say pour out water on the feast of tabernacles? Says the holy blessed God, pour out water before me, that the rains of the year may be blessed unto you.''

Now when all these things are considered, it will easily be seen with what pertinency our Lord expresses himself on this day, with respect to the effusion of the gifts and graces of the Spirit of God, as follows:

Jesus stood and cried;
he now stood up, whereas at other times he used to sit, and spoke with a loud voice, both to show his fervour and earnestness, and that all might hear:

saying, if any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.
This is to be understood not of a natural thirst, though the allusion is to it, which is very painful and distressing; as the instances of the Israelites in the wilderness, Samson after he had slain the Philistines, and our Lord upon the cross, show; much less a sinful thirst, a thirst after the riches, honours, and pleasures of this life; but a spiritual thirst, or a thirst after spiritual things, after salvation by Christ, and a view of interest in it, free and full pardon of sin through him, justification by his righteousness, a greater degree of knowledge of him, more communion with him, and conformity to him, and after the sincere milk of the word, and the breasts of Gospel ordinances: and such that thirst after these things, and eagerly desire them, and are in pain and uneasiness without them, as a man is, who has a violent thirst upon him, are such as are regenerated and quickened by the Spirit of God, and are made sensible of themselves, and of their state and condition by nature. Now these Christ invites to come unto him, not to Moses and his law, moral or ceremonial, and to obedience to them, and works of righteousness done by them, to any creature, or creature acts; for these are cisterns without water, where no true peace, joy, righteousness, and salvation are to be had; but to himself, who is the fountain of gardens, the well of living waters, and who is as rivers of water in a dry land, to thirsty souls: and when come to him, which is by believing in him, they are encouraged to drink; that is, to take of the water of life freely, or to take of his grace freely; salvation by him is of free grace, and the pardon of sin is according to the riches of grace, and justification is freely by his grace, and so all other blessings; and of this they may drink abundantly, or they may partake of it largely: there is a fulness of grace in Christ, and there is an abundance of it communicated to his people; it is exceeding abundant; it flows, and overflows, and may be drank of to satisfaction, till their souls are as a watered garden, and they are satisfied with the goodness of the Lord.


F17 Shirshashirim Rabba, fol. 5. 3. & 7. 3.
F18 Misn. Bava Metzia, c. 7. sect. 6. & Maimon. in ib.
F19 Bartenora in Misn. Succa, c. 5. sect. 6.
F20 T. Bab. Succa, fol. 55. 2. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 21. fol. 231. 1.
F21 T. Bab. Succa, fol. 48. 1.
F23 Misn. Succa, c. 4. sect. 9.
F24 Misn. Succa, c. 5. sect. 1, 4.
F25 T. Zebachim, fol. 110. 2. Maimon. in Misn. Succa, c. 4. sect. 9. & Hilthot Tamidin, c. 10. sect. 6.
F26 T. Hieros. Succa, fol. 55. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 70. fol. 62. 3. & Midrash Ruth, fol. 32. 2. Caphtor, fol. 52. 1.
F1 Misn. Taanith, c. 1. sect. 1, 2.
F2 Bartenora, in ib.
F3 Misn. Roshhashana, c. 1. sect. 2.
F4 T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 16. 1.