The Feast of Booths (Feast of Sukkot) follows Yom Kippur and is described by jewfaq.org as “a drastic transition, from one of the most solemn holidays in our year to one of the most joyful…Sukkot is so unreservedly joyful that it is commonly referred to in Jewish prayer and literature as ‘the Season of our Rejoicing.’ Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period in which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. “**
When Jesus stated His promise regarding the flow of “living water,” three different reactions immediately arose from the crowd gathered around. The first was represented by those who had a partial recognition of His Divine identity and stated that Jesus “certainly is the Prophet.” (v. 40) Others had a more comprehensive revelation and proclaimed, “This is the Christ.” (v. 41) The third group was distracted and preoccupied by the physical facts they “knew” about Jesus – His home town, siblings, profession, education… and as a result , they completely missed receiving any degree of the spiritual revelations embraced by others nearby.
A point worth emphasizing: the people are gathered around the Presence of the Alpha and Omega, Emmanuel, ‘God with us.’ The entire city is finishing up its “Season of our Rejoicing,” and Jesus is proclaiming a soon-to-come transformation into a new dimension of joy, if they “come to (Him)” and “believe in (Him).” Not an occasional, quick-experience joy that would be perceived as only a “temporary shelter” like the booths of Sukkot – but an indwelling, permanent residence of joy that “no one will take away from you” (John 16:22) and for which Jesus, Himself, “endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Yet many remained on the brink, their toes hanging over the edge of the threshold…listening to the words of those around them, instead of leaping into the Promise Jesus had just extended to them.
And there, on that same threshold of life-transforming revelation, many stand today. Just as the individuals in the crowd had different reactions, so we often find ourselves on the very edge of experiencing a partial revelation, full revelation….or being distracted and preoccupied…so that the Presence, joy, and Living Water is missed, altogether.
John Belt speaks of our Lord seeking “an establishment” of people in His Presence, able to access “the glory” which He has deposited within us.