“Whoever has never seen the celebrations of the Festival of the water libation has never experienced true joy in his life” (ibid.5,1). In Biblical times, the water Libation ceremony was the most popular part of the week long celebration of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). It was said that the lights from the celebration at the Temple were so bright that they caused shadows in villages six miles away!
To more fully appreciate the joy of the water libation ceremony, we must first understand the significance of water. water was more precious than gold in ancient times. In-fact, if we really think about it, water is STILL more precious than Gold! Cities and villages were formed around it, sustained by it, and in some cases wars were raged because of it. Once you controlled the water, you could easily control the people. From it came the sustenance of all life. It either came from deep in the ground or from the heavens above. The people’s crops, animals, and their very lives depended on each and every drop. The ancient Israelites were completely dependent on YHWH to send the rain. When they were slaves in Egypt, they were made to run on water wheels to force the water from the reservoirs into the fields. God promised them that, in the Promised Land, He would take care of the rain and they would never have to be hamsters again.
When the Temple was standing, EVERY SACRIFICE INCLUDED WINE LIBATIONS POURED OVER THE ALTAR. During the Feast of Tabernacles, WATER was also poured over the altar in a special ceremony. THIS RITUAL ENGENDERED SUCH JOY THAT IT WAS CELEBRATED WITH MUSIC, DANCING AND SINGING ALL NIGHT LONG. In the case of the water libation ceremony, the two most precious, life-containing items – water and blood – were poured out at the feet of God so to speak. Both pointed to the very sustenance and foundation of every single member of the people of God. Water. Blood. Running together
So let’s set the stage: There are over a million people in Jerusalem and in the surrounding villages. There is music, dancing in the streets, and more food than you can imagine. It is a world’s fair environment with trumpets blowing, kids playing, and rabbis teaching large groups of people all over the city. The priests are decked out in their finest, and sacrifices are continually being offered on the altar throughout the day. By the end of the Feast, seventy bulls will have been offered in commemoration of the seventy nations of the world. (The Israelites were the only culture in the known world that actually cared enough about the rest of the world to make sacrifices on their behalf!) The entire Temple grounds are decorated with full trees that were cut from the four required species of Leviticus 23. There is greenery everywhere, and a joy so fills the air that it is almost tangible. It is beautiful beyond compare.
When it is time for the procession, thousands upon thousands of people crowd the walkways to and from the Pool of Siloam. They are there to witness this glorious event as the priests make their way down from the Temple to capture a large jar full of water. The trumpets are sounding; the tambourines, flutes, and lyres can be heard above the crowd. The levitical singers are in full array, and people are clapping and dancing everywhere.
As the priest bends on one knee before the water, the crowd falls silent—soaking up this momentous occasion. The water jar is pushed down into the surface of the water capturing the once cleansing waters from the base of the mountain. Now it will be brought up and used for a higher purpose. Once the jar is lifted, the crowd roars once again as the almost wedding-like processional heads back up the mountain to the House of God.
One of the great scriptures read on the last Great Day of the Feast of Tabernacles was Isaiah chapter 12.
Isaiah 12: “O LORD, I will praise You. Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and not be afraid. For Yah, the LORD, is my strength and song. He also has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name. Declare His deeds among the peoples, and make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for He has done excellent things. This is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
This chapter was THE chapter that set the significance for the water libation ceremony. The real power and significance of this chapter is in the actual Hebrew itself. The word “salvation” in our English Bibles is the word Yeshua in Hebrew—which is the same name as our Messiah! Take a look at how that changes everything!
Verse 2: “Behold, God is my Yeshua and I will trust and not be afraid. For Yah, the LORD, is my strength and my song. He also has become my Yeshua!”
Verse 3: “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of Yeshua!”
This makes the last verse come truly alive when it says: “Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”
The entire chapter is about Yeshua (JESUS): trusting in Him, drawing our true water from Him, and praising Him for being in our midst! Now that we understand more about the water of libation and its prophetic connection to Yeshua, John 7:37 comes to life like never before.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Right here in this statement, Yeshua says that HE was the water that they were parading around. HE was the water that gave them life, and if anyone drank of Him, they would never be thirsty again. HE was the entire point of the water libation ceremony to begin with! It was all about Him!
JESUS IS the eternal well of salvation that could take one from a lower position at the base of the mountain and bring them to the top of the mountain into perfect communion with Him!
The water libation ceremony was something that they did every day of the feast, and it culminated on the last Great Day in the final act of pouring the water out onto the altar. With palm branches in their hands, the people would march around the altar as the priest poured out the golden jar of water. On the eighth day, they marched around it seven times to commemorate the seven circuits around the walls of Jericho that caused them to come tumbling down. The FOUNTAINS of LIVING WATER that flow through our Yeshua (Jesus) cause the walls of SIN that separate us from a LOVING GOD to FALL DOWN.
The Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel’s description of the Millennial Temple on earth that Jesus Christ will reign from for 1000 years is described in Ezekiel 47..
Ezekiel 47: Then he brought me back to the door of the house (TEMPLE); and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east. And the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate by way of the gate that faces east. And behold, water was trickling from the south side.
3 When the man went out toward the east with a line in his hand, he measured a thousand cubits, and he led me through the water, water reaching the ankles. 4 Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the knees. Again he measured a thousand and led me through the water, water reaching the loins. 5 Again he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not ford, for the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be forded.