Fast Day 17

Monday, 8th March

Reading John 7:37-52

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.’

John 7:37

I love camping, but I don’t really understand why. Some members of the family claim it is cold, it can be wet, and generally uncomfortable. It also requires you to carry what you need. I accept all this and yet something within me loves it. It probably relates to some adventures when I was much younger, possibly the idea that camping as a teenager involved independence , or maybe it is about being together – all in the same boat, or rather tent.

The festival of booths, or tabernacles, involved camping, as people remembered how they had built shelters in the wilderness on the exodus journey. It was impossible to take 40 years of food and water with them, the Israelites were to leave it behind in Egypt, and trust in God. God gave the manna, the quail, and brought forth water from rock, that thirst would be quenched – this out pouring would be re-enacted at the festival by water from the flowing Pool of Siloam being taken and poured upon the altar. This pool was also known for bringing healing, and for providing water in the anointing new kings in the line of David, symbolic of the coming of the Holy Spirit’s action.

We might want to come to Jesus, and journey with him, but how heavy is the rucksack? How much are we carrying that needs laying down to make us lighter on our feet and able to travel? Are we really ready to trust in him, be refreshed, and know the Spirit’s presence poured upon us, or do we hold too tight to the comforts we know? As schools return from today, and as other changes come, do we cling to past, instead of seeking God’s future?

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