Study 8: A New Fountain – the Holy Spirit
Read John 7:1-39
In the previous paragraph (6:60-71) we read familiar words: “accept”, “Spirit”, “life”, “word”, “speak”, “believe”, “know” “beginning” (all of these concepts are introduced in John 1)
What stands out:
- Flesh counts for nothing; (the flesh is no help at all.) See John 1:13, 3:6)
- The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
- Jesus had known from the beginning
- Words of eternal life
Phrases which act as hinges into the next section:
- The Spirit gives life (6:63)
- Christ’s words are spirit and gives life (6:63)
- The Father has to enable someone to come to Christ (6:65)
- Christ chose The Twelve (6:70)
The Feast of the Tabernacles (John 7:2)
This feast had a historical reference to the Exodus from Egypt and reminded the Jews of their wandering and dwelling in booths in the wilderness (Lv. 23:43). It points to the truth that Israel’s life rested upon redemption which in its ultimate meaning is the forgiveness of sin. This fact separates this feast from the harvest festivals of the neighbouring nations whose roots lay in the mythological activity of the gods. Its recognition of rain as a gift from God, necessary to produce fruitful harvests, is implied in Zachariah 14:17.
According to Deuteronomy 16:13-17, this feast
- Lasted seven days
- Had to be joyful
- Was meant for all Israelites and those who worked for them, including aliens
- Was a feast of thanksgiving for the harvest
Leviticus 24 adds:
- It accompanied sacrifices of bulls
- All regular work ceased
- It marked the beginning of the new year
- It was a reminder that God rescued them out of Egypt
Reading John 7:2-5 we understand that Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him – yet! The fact that they thought that his disciples should see his miracles, could mean that they though He was losing ground – chapter 6 ended with many disciples walking away from Him. One can see their remarks coming from an attitude of scepticism.
1.Read 7:6. What does Jesus mean with “the right time” and “for you any time is right”. (See also 7:8)
2. Read 7:7. Why does the world hate Christ but not his brothers?
We understand from 7:11 that the Jewish leaders were expecting him to show up. They wanted to kill Him because they hated Him.
3. Read 7:12-13. In what way were the opinions of different people about Jesus so typical of public opinion, even in our day?
4. Read 7:14. John records a specific time when Jesus went into the temple to preach. Was this the “time” Jesus referred to in 6:6? If so, why?
5. According to 7:15, why were the Jews amazed at the teaching of Jesus (see Luke 3:47)?
6. What does Jesus say about his teaching? Read 7:16
The words “learning” and “teaching” are semantically connect with “knowledge” – a major theme in John. Without knowledge (“light”) it is impossible to know and accept God (see 6:45) It is therefore quite logical for Christ to say, “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.” (John 7:17, ESV)
It was custom on the major festivals that many rabbi’s would preach and teach. There would be many students too. But the teaching of Jesus was different.
7. Read 7:18. In what way was the teaching of Jesus different to that of other rabbis?
All rabbis would defend the fact that their teachings were based on the Law of Moses. What Jesus wanted to bring home was not that they taught the Law, but that they knew the Law-giver and do his will, and for his glory only.
8. Read 7:19. How were the Jewish leaders exposed to the multitude (keep in mind 5:18 and 7:1)
9. Read 7:20. How did the crowd respond to the revelation of Christ?
7:21-23 probably refers to 5:1-14 where our Lord healed the paralysed man at the Pool of Bethesda.
10. According to 7:23 how did Jesus not brake the Law of Moses / or how did He give full meaning to the Law of Moses?
Verses 7:25-27 includes speculation about Jesus, where He was from, and what the authorities believe about Him.
11. Read 7:28-29. How does the statement of Christ correspond with John’s introductory remarks in 1:12, 18 and the Baptiser’s statement in 1:30?
It is almost as if Jesus said, “If you do not know the One who sent Me, you will not know where I am from!” This corresponds with 8:19.
12. Read 7:30 The reaction on the preaching of Jesus went two ways: some put their faith in Him, others wanted to arrest Him. Is it any different today? Is there a middle option?
According to 7:35-36 the Jews did not know the origin of Christ, but they also had no idea what his destination would be.
13. Read 7:33-34. What prophetic significance do the words of our Lord have. Think as wide as you can, keeping all we have studies up to this point in time.
The reference to “the last day of the Feast” in verse 37 is significant.
“The eighth day had the special distinction that it was the last festival day in the entire Jewish church year and was called “the last good day” (Succa IV, 8), “the sacred close of the year” (Josephus).
Each morning during the seven days of the feast, at the time of the sacrifice, a priest proceeded to the fountain of Siloah with a golden pitcher, filled it with water, and, accompanied by a solemn procession, bore it to the altar of burnt sacrifice, pouring the water, together with the contents of a pitcher of wine from the drink offering, into two perforated flat bowls. The trumpets sounded, and the people sang Isa. 12:3, “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” It commemorated the water that gushed out of the rock at Meribah and that was intended to quench the thirst of the multitude in the desert, although the symbolic ceremony in the Temple repeated only the pouring out. Symbols seldom re-enact every feature.” (Lenski, R. C. H. . The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (p. 573). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.)
“Pouring at the Feast of Tabernacles refers symbolically to the messianic age in which a stream from the sacred rock would flow over the whole earth.” (Carson, D. A. . The Gospel according to John (p. 322). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.)
“As the first redeemer (Moses) caused the spring to arise (when he divided the rock in Horeb. Ex. 17:6), so the last redeemer will cause water to rise up, as it is written: A fountain shall come forth of the house of Yahweh.” (Kittel, G., Bromiley, G. W., & Friedrich, G. [Eds.]. [1964–]. Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 4, p. 278). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.)
14. Read 7:37. What is the invitation of Christ, and what does he promise?
15. Read 7:38. How does this verse corresponds with 1:29, 33, 3:5-6, 4:23-24, 6:62?
- The world hates Christ because He is from God.
- The world does not know Christ because they do not know God.
- The teaching of Christ is different because He only speaks what his Father told Him to say.
- To believe and drink of the fountain of water is to have faith in Christ and to have received the new life of the Spirit.