Jeremiah 9 – actually, back up to the end of chapter 8. As Jeremiah laments the self-imposed trouble in Judah, because of their unfaithfulness, he asks:
Is there no balm in Gilead
v14 why are you just sitting there. Gather together… the Lord has destroyed us… because we have sinned against the Lord. It says horses are coming… snakes are going to be sent that cannot be charmed. Then he says in v18 my joy has flown away; grief has settled… my heart is sick v22 … is there no balm in Gilead… no physicians there? The understanding is that there IS medicine, there ARE doctors… So why has the healing of my dear people not come about?
And so then the weeping prophet, the tearful teacher starts ch9 “if my head were a flowing fountain of tears, I would weep day and night… v2 If only I had a traveler’s lodging place in the wilderness
Sometimes we are so full of empty things, we can’t experience true satisfaction. And then Jeremiah makes his accusations about their unfaithfulness, and the result of their selfish sin and in v12 he asks, who is wise enough to understand thing? V13 The Lord said, “It is because they abandoned my instruction, which i set before them, and did not obey my voice or walk according to it.
So then, in this understanding, I picture Jesus in John 7:37-38 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood and cried out…
No wait… realize this is a weeklong festival of food offerings. Truthfully it was supposed to be seven days of offerings, but I am guessing that the “worship” side of this had been lost on them. This was the Feast of the Tabernacles. They are camping in tents, worshipping with food, remembering what God did for them. James Freeman and Harold Chadwick in New Manners and Customs of the Bible say that eveery day a priest would lead a procession to the pool of Siloam and with a gold pitcher would draw water. There would be singers and musicians and upon returning to the temple there would be 3 Shofar blasts and they would pour the water into a bowl on the western side of the altar. It had holes and the water would run out on the altar. It was to remember 1) water provided in the desert 2) the promise of “latter rain” (blessing to come) 3) the coming of the Holy Spirit when the Messiah came.
In this feast, they did this every day, that was pretty, but it didn’t satisfy their thirst. And from Siloam to the Temple is a little walk and uphill. I can see this Seventh Day… the whole fanfare… then the Three Blasts of Trumpet… And then the voice of Jesus, at the perfect silent spot, “is anyone thirst?… Oh my, doesn’t Jesus know timing? If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink –
pino = to drink = is in the present, active, imperative – that tells me this is saying “you must, right now, actively DRINK”.
The one… – that means this is a possibility but must acted upon.
the one who believes (pisteuo) – it’s not about knowing, but beleiving, entrusting, placing faith – so get in, get on, get under, get with – ME (Jesus) then, as the scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him – Oh my yes. We ARE sick. We NEED medicine, need a physician, we need our thirst quenched. Yes, the horses of warring armies are coming, the snakes are biting, and it is our own fault
But there is a balm in Gilead – Do you know that Spiritual? I can hear it in my head…
there is a balm in Gilead, there is a balm in Gilead… Jesus is the balm in Gilead…
Jesus is the Messiah that would come and bring the gift of the Holy Spirit. And that water was poured that day on the altar and then it was gone. And no one had their thirst quenched and Siloam was a little walk away, but Jesus said “believe in me and I will put living water IN YOU
One other thing to notice vv40+ many said “this is the Messiah” and other said “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee” and v43 says the crowd was divided” Then v53 days each one went to his own house and 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives – Oh my, Jesus says if anyone believes … but everyone went home … No one invited Jesus home
And my take my thoughts back to Jeremiah 9:13 the Lord said it is because they abandoned me
Jesus is the answer to life, to death, to hope over hopelessness, to thirst being quenched, to the gift of the Holy Spirit springing up within us.
Come, Believe, Right Now, You Must, unless you don’t want life, satisfaction, hope, and love.