Drawing Out Living Waters
not see the rejoicing of (this water drawing ceremony) never saw rejoicing in his
lifetime." (Mishnah: Sukkah 5:1)
On each of the seven days of Sukkot, the High Priest
took a golden pitcher and filled it with water drawn from the Pool of
Siloam. It was brought into the Temple through the Water Gate (hence the
name), and poured into a bowl at the Altar, alongside the pouring of the
wine, during the daily burnt-offering (Talmud: Sukkah 4:9). This
water libation was performed only during Sukkot.
The Talmud states, "Why is the name of it called
the Drawing Out of Water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit,
according to what is said: ‘With joy shall ye draw out of the wells of
salvation’ " (Isaiah 12:3).
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast,
Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him
come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture
said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living
water.’" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed
in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua
was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
Light of the World
At the end of the first day of the Feast,
three eighty foot high golden candlesticks were set up in the Temple’s
Court of Women. Four golden bowls were placed on each candlestick, and
four ladders rested against each. A youth of priestly descent stood at
the top of each ladder, pouring oil from a ten-gallon pitcher into the
bowl (Talmud: Sukkah 5:3) The worn-out liturgical garments of
Priests were used for wicks. The light from these candlesticks was so
bright that it was state, "There was no courtyard in Jerusalem that
was not lit up with the light at the water-well ceremony" (Talmud:
Yeshua spoke publicly on Sukkot, saying, "I
am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the
darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)
The Birth of Yeshua (Jesus) on Sukkot
Messiah’s birth, about AM 3750 - 3756 (10 - 4 BC),
was expectantly awaited (Matthew 2:1-18) because within about 40
years Daniel’s prophecy concerning Him must be fulfilled.
The prophet Micah wrote that He was destined to be
born in Beth-Lechem (Bethlehem) — the House of Bread (Micah 5:2).
(God called Him the Bread from Heaven (John 6:32-36), though men
say Manna (Exodus 16:31) — What is It?) It was because of this
prophecy that King Herod had the children of Bethlehem killed, to
protect his throne against the coming promised king.
The rabbis who translated the Septuagint taught
from the prophet Isaiah that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and
would be called Immanuel — God with Us.
In the expected time and place, on the Festival of
Sukkot,* in a succah (tabernacle, temporary dwelling) where Passover
lambs were raised in the city of the shepherd David, a Son was born to a
virgin descended from that Messiah David (Matthew 1, Luke 3:23-38).
At an angel’s command (Matthew 1:21), He was
named Yeshua, meaning " Salvation." God would dwell with us in
a sukkah of humanity that would be bruised by the serpent, then crush
that old serpent!
The apostle Yochanan (John) tells us that the Word (of
God) became flesh and "dwelt in a sukkah" (tabernacled) among
us (John 1:14). The author views Sukkot as figurative of
Messiah"s coming to dwell among His people; this reference is not
submitted as proof of a dogmatic date.
When Zekharya (Zechariah) was ministering in the
temple, he received an announcement from God of a coming son. The second
course of Abia,12 when Zekharya was ministering, was a week in the
middle of Sivan. If Zekharya’s promised son Yochanan (John the
baptizer) were conceived soon thereafter, then Yeshua’s conception,
which was six months later, would be late Chislev to early Tevet, near
Chanukah (the Feast of Dedication); His birth would thence be at mid
Tishri, the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
The month of Tishri (in the fall) also fits with the
season of shepherds being out with their flocks by night, as they were
when Yeshua was born; during winter the lambs are kept indoors.
Later in His life, Yeshua celebrated His birthday on a
mountain with three of His disciples (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-10).
In contrast to birthday parties, such as Herod’s (Matthew 14:6-12),
where people were killed for entertainment, His was a celebration of
life. On the Festival of Sukkot, Moses and Elijah, from centuries past,
representatives of the Torah and the Prophets, appeared and talked with
Yeshua. One disciple, Kepha (Peter), suggested building three sukkot for
Yeshua, Moses, and Elijah, because it was required for the festival, but
he did not understand (Mark 9:6) that these three were fulfilling that
which the festival symbolized: they were dwelling in their sukkot
(temporary tabernacles) of flesh, awaiting their eternal resurrection
The Seven-Day Wedding Feast
(to be installed)
The Biblical Etrog
year after picking
The etrog is Biblically known as “the fruit of
beautiful trees” and “the fruit that dwells”.
“Now on the first day (of the Feast of
Tabernacles) you shall take for yourselves (Heb. - pri etz hadar) the fruit of beautiful trees,
(lulav) date-palm branches, and boughs of braided (Myrtle) trees and (arava) willows of the brook;
and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God for seven days” – Leviticus 23:40.
"Pri etz hadar" can mean the fruit tastes the same as the
tree, or the fruit dwells on the tree from year to year (Mesechet Sukkah 35a),
from the basis of fruit that is a continuance of (the taste or part of) the
The etrog is a citrus fruit
that grows on a broadleaf evergreen tree. It is known for its taste and
fragrance. Other fruits fall from their trees in one season – after ripening;
the etrog continues to hold on more tightly – it “dwells” on the tree, taking
years to ripen. Fruit from several years, at various stages of ripening, hang on
a tree at one time.
The entire tree, including
branches, leaves, and fruit, is edible. All of it tastes like the fruit. The
fruit, which is similar to a lemon in appearance, has a deep yellow skin
covering a thick white pithy portion, and a small amount of juicy fruit toward
When the picked fruit is
kept, either refrigerated or open in a room, it does not rot. It dries, and
becomes smaller and smaller over many years, until finally disappearing
(presumably by evaporating).
The etrog has both a flavor
and a scent, like one who is both learned and observant of the commandments.
The lulav is from a date palm, and so it has a taste but no scent. It is
likened to one who is learned but does not apply that knowledge in action. A
myrtle has a pleasant odor but there is nothing tasty about it, and it
parallel’s one who has little book learning behind his or her observance.
Finally the willow lacks both fragrance and food value, just like one who
neither studies the Torah nor keeps the commandments – (From a midrash in
Vayikrah Rabba 30:12).
Readings for Hag Sukkot
Lev 22:26 - 23:44
Haftara: Zech 14:1-21
2nd Day Num 29:17-19
3rd Day Num 29:20-22
4th Day Num 29:23-25
5th Day Num 29:26-28
6th Day Num 29:29-31
7th Day Num 29:32-34
For Eighth Day, see