In the midst of life’s challenges and complexities, we often seek guidance and meaning. Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, extends three profound invitations: an invitation through a pitcher, a Bible, and a book of matches. These invitations hold deep spiritual significance and find their roots in ancient traditions. They are as relevant today as they were during the days of Jesus when the Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated. In this blog, we will explore the three invitations of Jesus and their connection to the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Feast of Tabernacles: The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths, was one of the three major festivals celebrated by the Israelites as commanded by God. It was a time to remember God’s provision during their wilderness journey, where they were led by a pillar of fire and a cloud. During this festival, all of Israel would gather in Jerusalem, building temporary booths (sukkot) to live in, symbolizing the makeshift tents used in the wilderness.

The Ceremony of Water: One of the central elements of the Feast of Tabernacles was the ceremony of water. This tradition commemorated God’s provision of water while the Israelites were in the wilderness. The priests would draw water from the Pool of Siloam, and the people would celebrate as the water and wine were poured over the altar. This act symbolized the source of life and refreshment, representing God’s spirit, often associated with wind (Ruach) in Hebrew.

The Invitation of Living Water: During the Feast of Tabernacles, in the midst of this celebration, Jesus made a bold declaration. He shouted during a moment of silence, “If you’re thirsty for living water, come to me.” This proclamation disrupted the traditional celebration, and the Pharisees were taken aback. Jesus was declaring that he is the source of life and salvation, offering a spiritual alternative to the water ceremony. He invited people to find their ultimate satisfaction and refreshment in him.

The Feast of the Open Book: Another integral aspect of the Feast of Tabernacles was the reading of the law, referred to as the Feast of the Open Book. This celebration emphasized the importance of studying and understanding God’s Word. Jesus, during the daytime when people were supposed to be reading the law in their booths, amazed the crowds with his teachings. His message offered freedom through obedience to God’s Word, rather than condemnation.

The Invitation of Freedom and Redemption: During the Feast of the Open Book, a significant incident occurred. The Pharisees, having caught a woman in adultery, brought her before Jesus on the Sabbath morning. They presented her as a test, citing the law that called for stoning adulterers. Jesus, instead of condemning her, knelt and began writing in the dirt, perhaps referencing Jeremiah 17:13, which spoke of those who rejected the Messiah having their names written in dust.

He then issued a profound invitation: “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” One by one, the accusers dropped their stones and left. Jesus, the embodiment of grace, forgave the woman and told her to go and sin no more. This act demonstrated Jesus’ mission: not to condemn but to save, offering an invitation of freedom and redemption.

The Ceremony of Lights: At night, the celebration continued with the ceremony of lights. Giant candlesticks illuminated the Temple, symbolizing God’s pillar of fire that had guided the Israelites in the wilderness. People would party all night, celebrating God’s light and anticipating the Messiah who would bring light to the world.

The Invitation from Darkness to Light: In a moment of silence during this festival, Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world.” He compared himself to the light that had guided the Israelites and declared that following him would lead to freedom from darkness and the light of life. Just as the festival lights represented hope and salvation, Jesus offered hope, salvation, and the path to a meaningful life.

Conclusion: The invitations of Jesus, rooted in the traditions of the Feast of Tabernacles, are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. He offers us living water, freedom through obedience to God’s Word, and the light of life. These invitations provide hope, meaning, and spiritual guidance in a world often filled with darkness and confusion. As we embrace these invitations, we can experience the deep satisfaction and refreshment that only Jesus can provide.


The content of this article is drawn from a segment of the sermon titled “I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD,” delivered by Dale McCamish on October 15, 2023, at the Wilmington Church of Christ.

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