“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds…” ~ John 7:37 (NLT)
What? You’ve never seen the picture of Jesus standing and shouting? Holding the lamb – yep! With children on His lap – sure! Arms stretched out over a city – you bet! But shouting? Nope! Never seen that picture; but that’s what He did.
The traditional rabbinic teaching posture was sitting and speaking. But Jesus stood up and shouted. John uses the same Greek verb here that was used three others times when people shouted.
- The blind man shouted, appealing for sight. ~ Mark 10:46-47
- Peter sinking in the water, crying out for help. ~ Matthew 14:29-30
- The demon-possessed man who shouted, pleading for mercy. ~ Mark 5:2-7
Very intense moments to be sure. What would fill Jesus with such passion?
The festival mentioned above was the week-long celebration that was the annual reenactment of the rock-giving-water miracle of Moses. People slept in tents and lined the streets. Each morning a priest filled a golden pitcher with water from the Gihon spring and carried it down to the temple.
Announced by trumpets, the priest encircled the altar every day… once a day… for seven days. Then on the last day, the great day, the priest gave the altar a Jericho loop – seven circles while pouring seven vessels of water. The climax of a monumental celebration. It may have been at that very moment…
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” ~ John 7:37-38
He shouted to get our attention. He shouted because His time was short. He shouted because He loves us and wants to quench our deepest thirst.
And Jesus uses a verb that suggests repeated swallows. Literally, “Let him come to me and drink and keep drinking.” As Max Lucado puts it: