In John 7:37-38 we find these words of Jesus, on the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying:
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
The Jewish feast of Sukkot (also known as the feast of booths or tabernacles) began at sundown Oct. 4 this year. This feast was the final event of the year on God’s calendar of special observances given to Moses in the Law.
Unlike the preceding solemn observance of Yom Kippur, this is a happy occasion. It is sometimes referred to as “The Season of Rejoicing.” The Feast of Tabernacles is a festive event, a time of great celebration and a joy for all the people. It is observed with special meals, gift giving and singing.
This feast was, first of all, a remembrance of the way God cared for the children of Israel as they made their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Though they had no permanent homes, they were guarded and sheltered by God. This feast was also a reminder that God had come down to dwell among His people; the Shekinah glory that filled the tabernacle as the Israelites traveled was a visible symbol of God’s presence.
The people were to make tabernacles or booths, which were temporary dwellings they would use for a week to remind them of how God had worked in the past and what they could expect Him to do in the future.
There is a lovely picture of Jesus in the feast as well. In John 1:14, it is written:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Greek word translated “dwelt” is skenoo, which means to live in a tabernacle or tent.
Sukkot has an important cultural heritage for us in our day. Our tradition of Thanksgiving traces back to the pilgrims who celebrated the bountiful harvest of their second year in the New World.
This feast is also a reminder to us that we have not yet reached our permanent home.
Finally, Sukkot is a testimony to the promise of the Lord to return. One day our wandering will be over and the Apostle Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 4:17, “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” Even so come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.
The Rev. Kerry Price Sr. is the pastor at Breath of Life Church at Pine Bluff.
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