“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” (Is. 12:2-3)
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:37-38)
“And the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let him that heareth say, “Come.” And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)
Dear Intercessors for Israel:
The Feast of Tabernacles, the last and greatest festival appointed by the LORD God, begins this Friday night. It is also known as the feast of the Ingathering; a harvest celebration, the Feast of Booths, as well as Succoth (tents.) Succoth is a seven-day festival and is often called “The Season of Our Joy,” for joy predominates on this holiday more than any other. Jewish people around the world make succahs, simple shelters covered with palm fronds or wooden booths which remind everyone of God’s miraculous provision and protection during the Israelites forty years in the desert after leaving Egypt thousands of years ago. The LORD God then commanded His people to dwell in these tents or booths, to remember this time as “a statute forever in your generations” (Lev. 23:40-43).
The feast of Tabernacles or Succoth sends a message of hope to those celebrating it. The Jewish people sing and dance and look forward to the time when God will dwell again in the midst of His people. When John introduces Jesus as the Messiah in his Gospel, he says, “Now the Word became Flesh and took up temporary residence (Succoth) among us. We saw His glory, the glory of the One and Only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father” (John 1:14).
When the Lord returns and establishes His Kingdom, all the nations will be required to keep this holiday. Zechariah prophesies that they will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate Succoth (Zec. 14:16–17.) In that day, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) will become Israel’s succah (tabernacle). His presence will shelter Israel, and the Jewish people will no longer be oppressed by the nations.
A Feast Like No Other
This year, the COVID -19 virus has made havoc of life in Israel. Nothing is normal anymore. Israel is in the midst of a ongoing soaring pandemic within its borders. Over 9,000 citizens tested positive for the virus in one day. Statistics show that some 252,000 Israelis have been infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March. There are currently 851 people in serious condition, and 1,600 have died from the virus. The government has re-imposed strict lock-down rules for its citizens during the Feast of Tabernacles and afterwards in an effort to slow the rate of infection. Streets are blocked off, schools closed, Ben Gurion airport is open only for arriving passengers. The departure hall is closed. No one can leave Israel, at least until the lockdown ends October 14th. People are limited to traveling only ½ miles from their house, and only for necessary duties like shopping, or to see a doctor.. Steep fines are given if you disobey the government edicts. Even visiting someone else’s succah, can merit a 500 NIS fine ($145). Again over 1/3 of the infections due to COVID have originated in the Arab-and Jewish Ultra-Orthodox sectors, which are generally overcrowded communities. Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that “If this current lockdown is not effective, we’ll tighten it,”(www.jpost.com) thereby making Israelis prisoners in their own homes. Sukkot, usually is a joyous time to be in Israel, but in this season, it is somber and a time of hardship. Over one million Israelis are out of work and the nation’s once booming economy is in shambles
Pray that this worldwide pandemic would bow its knee to the mighty name of Jesus. Pray for the Jewish people as they inhabit their succahs, that they eyes would turn towards God and receive deliverance from this virus.
The Water Drawing Ceremony
One of Succoth’s most joyous observances in past ages was known as Simchat Beit Hashoeivah, the celebration of the Water-Drawing. In the days when the Temple was the center of Jewish life, every sacrifice included wine libations poured over the altar. On Succoth, water was also poured over the altar in a special ceremony. This pouring forth, was celebrated by the people with music, dancing and singing all night long.
The pool of Siloam (meaning “Sent”, Jesus is the “Sent one”) not only held historical significance, but in Jewish tradition it also had a prophetic connotation. First, the Jewish Scriptures speak of a time when, like water poured “upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground,” God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Isaiah 44:3). Because the waters of Siloam were used to anoint the kings of the house of David, and that anointing was symbolic of the Holy Spirit coming upon an individual (1 Sam. 16:13), the living waters of the Gihon Spring, flowing into the Pool of Siloam became associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Second, this outpouring is to take place during the days of the Messiah, the anointed one, a descendant of King David, through whom salvation will come to Israel. Based on Isaiah 12:3, the pool of Siloam became known as the “well of salvation” and was associated with the messianic age. Thus, to the Jewish people of the Second Temple days, pouring water on the altar at the Feast of Tabernacles was symbolic of the Holy Spirit poured out during the days of the Messiah. (www.jewishroots.com )
Every morning of Succoth at daybreak, a group of Levites and priests went down to the pool of Siloam, and drew fresh water to be poured on the altar after the daily morning sacrifice. Their arrival at the Temple with the water was accompanied by trumpet blasts. When the last day of the feast occurred, the seventh day, this “water drawing” ceremony cumulated in special celebration. It was called Hoshana Rabah” (a request for great salvation). The pouring out expressed Israel’s hope for future rains to produce an abundant harvest. According to the Talmud this tradition derived from Isaiah 12:3, “with joy you shall draw water from the water of salvation.” The word for salvation in this instance is also the same word for Jesus’(Yeshua in Hebrew). His name means Salvation. The Hebrew literally says in this scripture,” with joy you will draw water from the wells of Yeshua!” The people were also declaring “Hoshana Rabah” (Save us please!) God answered their plea by allowing His son Yeshua, (Jesus, ie “Salvation” to be present).
Jesus went to celebrate the feast of Succoth in Jerusalem, and attended this water drawing ceremony. John records what happened: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). When he said this, some declared, “This is the Messiah” (John 7:41), but John notes that He was speaking of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 7:39). Jesus was declaring that He was Messiah and that everyone who would believe in Him would receive the gift or indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the “living water,” not measured in terms of a trickling spring, the Spring of Gihon, but a flowing river-even numerous rivers! Jesus was saying in effect “I am the reality that the water in this ceremony symbolizes-the true-life giver through whom the Holy Spirit is also given.”
This year, the last great day of the Feast occurs on Friday October 9th, followed by Simchat Torah (joy of the Torah), October 10th – 11th. I can’t think of any greater prayer to pray for the Jewish people and Israel, then that the Holy Spirit would fall anew and afresh upon them. May they receive Yeshua and “rivers of living water” in their souls. “Lord, let the Holy Spirit fall afresh on your people.” May they recognize you as their promised Messiah.
A Sign and A Wonder
Marylois and I would like to ask for healing prayers for her 68-year-old brother Joe. He suffered a brain trauma from a fall earlier this year. He then had surgery September 5th which removed a large hematoma, relieving the pressure inside his brain. Joe is currently in a brain trauma rehab facility. Please pray for his healing, restoration and renewal.
“Chag Sameach!” (Have a joyous feast)
Gene and Marylois/House of Peace