Read John 7:1-52.
I love to celebrate. Whatever the occasion, birthdays, holidays, a successful accomplishment, I am ready to join my friends and family members and celebrate. What I love so much about celebrating is that it causes us to pause and remember how good God has been to us. When we do not stop to celebrate, we are prone to forget His goodness. This is exactly why the people of Israel set aside time every year to remember God’s goodness to them and celebrate it. They did this at a celebration called the Festival of Shelters every year.
Every year at the Festival of Shelters, the people of Israel set aside time to remember how God had taken care of them throughout their past. John chapter seven takes place during the Festival of Shelters. During the festival, many people were talking about Jesus. His miracles and teachings had been causing quite a stir around town. Some people were amazed by Him while others questioned Him. When the festival was half-way over, Jesus began to teach. People were amazed by His teaching. As He continued to teach, He made claims that He was God. Some in the crowd believed, but some were skeptical. On the very last day of the Festival, Jesus stood up and said, “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 7:37b-38). Just like He was telling the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter four, He was telling this crowd that He is the one who can ultimately satisfy. Just like water is the only thing that can truly quench our thirst (although I wish coffee would!), only Jesus can quench our thirst for belonging, satisfaction, and fulfillment that each one of us has.
As they were at a festival celebrating God’s goodness to them, many of the people in the crowd were so focused on other things that they missed the best gift God has ever given them: Jesus. Jesus, who had come to earth to die for their sins, was standing in front of them, and many of them missed Him. They did not believe that He was the Son of God. They were looking for someone to be a political ruler on earth, but Jesus’ kingdom is not of this earth. Because of this, Jesus was not concerned about having a political movement. He was concerned about the things of God that will last forever.
Sometimes this happens to us, too. We get distracted. We become so focused on the things we wish we had or the things we have that we wish we did not have, that we miss seeing the ways He has provided for us. God is a gracious provider. He gives us what we need. He has already given us the ultimate thing we need: a relationship with Him because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Take comfort in how He has provided for you today!
Like the people of Israel, we need to take time to celebrate God’s goodness to us because, if we are not careful, we will miss taking notice of them. Take a moment to make a list of how God has been good to you. Remember how He has provided for you. Has He provided a good friend when you were lonely? Write it down! Has He provided for you when you needed help financially? Write it down! Has He provided encouragement right when you needed it? Write that down, too! Don’t forget to add the gift of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection on your list, too! My friend, He has been so, so good to you! Celebrate His goodness to you today.
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