Water is essential to life, yet so often taken for granted when it is in plentiful supply. Lush gardens, long baths, and abundant crops become the expectation for those who’ve never lacked for clean, abundant supplies of water. On the other hand, those who’ve endured protracted seasons of drought know that water is a precious, valuable resource not to be wasted.
Jesus once went to the Jerusalem Temple to participate in the Festival of Booths, or Tabernacles. It was harvest time, and always a joyous festival, and water played a very special role in the proceedings. Water was carried throughout the city and poured upon the altar, while psalms and prayers were made for abundant rains and good crops in the new year. People even came to associate the coming of promised Messiah with the Festival of Tabernacles.
During the culminating moments on the final day of the Festival, Jesus stood and announced that he was now the one to whom the thirsty should come, and that rivers of life would flow into and out of all those who believe in Him. Jesus spoke of a powerful, spiritual connection to himself that would give life and healing and forgiveness to all. From that time until now, Christians have associated the giving of the Holy Spirit with the waters of our baptism. The Spirit is given in abundance to whomever will receive it with joy.