Pools of water: cooling, soothing, glistening in the sunlight. Enticing aren’t they? It’s difficult to gaze at one during a hot summer day without wanting to jump in and immerse yourself. They seem to call us, draw us in with a promise of refreshment, renewal, restoration of body and soul.
Even the ancients were drawn. One such pool in the Bible is the Pool of Siloam. The Hebrew meaning of Siloam is “sent”. Drinking water was first ‘sent’ to quench the thirst of the people of Jerusalem 2700 yrs ago when King Hezekiah built the pool, diverting water from the Gihon Spring. (2 Kings 20:20). Later, countless pilgrims purified themselves in the pool as they journeyed to the nearby Temple Mount for the sacred feasts, in preparation to offer sacrifices in atonement for their sin.
One such sacred feast was the Feast of Tabernacles. The feast recalls the promises and provisions of God to lead the Jewish people through the desert to the Promised Land. A sacred tradition performed during the Feast was the water drawing ceremony. Each morning of the first 7 days of the feast, the priest would collect water from the Pool of Siloam and pour it over the Temple altar in preparation for the animal sacrifices offered by the people. During the procession the people prayed and sang from the Psalms, illustrating Isaiah 12:3; “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” This ritual had to be performed yearly, emphasizing the people’s longing, recognizing their sacrifices and prayers would not bring complete redemption until the Messiah came.
However, on the 8th day of the festival, no water was collected or poured on the altar, for man was charged to do no regular work. It brought an end to the festival and sacrifices each year. (Lev 23:33-36). It was also the day Jesus chose to reveal His identity: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:37, 38)
Jesus was … and is…the fulfillment, the answer to the people’s prayers. The Promised Messiah has come and provided Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the atonement of sin… once, for all. There is no longer a need for purification rituals or sacrifices; no longer any thirst or yearning to become acceptable. All we need do is believe in Him and accept what He gives.
The water of the Pool of Siloam was ‘sent’ to make man thirsty for the Promised One. The refreshment Jesus provides is ‘sent’ by God for man’s eternal reconciliation with Him: salvation.
Maybe that’s why God made pools of water so enticing.
Drink, bathe immersed in Him.
-Kathi Fritz (A wonderful member of the Crown of Beauty team and a regular writer for our blog)