SUKKOT: Yeshua and the Water Libation Ceremony

SUKKOT: Yeshua and the Water Libation Ceremony
By
James Scott Trimm

We read in Yoochanan:

And on the great day, which is the last of the feast,
Yeshua stood and cried out and said,
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures have said,
rivers of water of life will flow from his belly.
(Yochanan 7:37-38)


The occasion of this event is the last great day of Sukkot (Jn. 7:2) and the setting appears to be the water libation ceremony at the Temple. A priest had a flask of gold filled with water and another has a flask of gold filled with wine. There were two silver bowls perforated with holes like a narrow snout. One was wide for the water the other is narrow for the wine. The priests poured the wine and water into each of their bowls. The wine and water mixed together. The wine flowing slowly through the narrow snout and the water flowing quickly through the wider snout.
The ceremony is described in the Mishnah as follows:

How was the water libation [performed]?  A golden flagon holding three logs was filled from the Siloam.  When they arrived at the water gate, they sounded a tekiah [long blast], a teru’ah [tremulous note] and again a tekiah [logn blast] [the priest then] went up the ascent [of the altar] and turned to his left where there were two silver bowls.  Rabbi Judah said, They were of plaster [but they looked silver] because their surfaces were darkened from the wine.  They had each a hole like a slender snout, one [hole] being wide and the other narrow so that both emptied themselves together.  The one on the west was for water and the one on the east was for wine.  If one poured the flagon of water into the bowl for wine, or that of wine into that for water, he has fulfilled his obligation.  Rabbi Judah states, With one log he performed the ceremony of the water libation all eight days.  To [the Priest] who performed the libation they used to say, ‘Raise thy hand’; for on a certain occasion, a certain man poured out the water over his feet, and all the people pelted him with their etrogs.

As was its performance on weekdays, so was its performance on the Sabbath, save that on the eve of the Sabbath an unhallowed golden barrel was filled from the Siloam, and placed in a chamber.  If it was poured away or uncovred, it was refilled from the laver, for wine or water which has become uncovered is invalid for the altar.(m.Sukkah 4:9 (b.Sukkah 48a-b)


It was as this ceremony was being performed that Yeshua stood up and said:

If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as the Scriptures have said,
rivers of water of life will flow from his belly.

Similar imagery appears in the Book of Enoch (see comments to Jude 1:14-15):

And in that place I saw the fountain of righteousness
Which was inexhaustible:
And around it were many fountains of wisdom:
And all the thirsty drank of them,
And were filled with wisdom,
And their dwellings were with the righteous and holy and elect.
(1Enoch 48:1)

And elsewhere in the Mishna:

…Let your house be a gathering place for sages…
and drink in their words with gusto.
(m.Avot 1:4)


We are short on groceries, and rent was due in less than a week!

I want to let you all know that my wife Kitty is going to the hospital to have yet another surgery on October 9th. Kitty is normally considered too a high risk for surgery, but she will likely die without this surgery, so there is really no choice. They are hoping that it will be a simple procedure, but with her medical history, things could turn very ugly very quickly.

We really need your help because are going to have about $1,000 in additional medical expenses in the first two weeks of this month.

As many of you know, my wife Inga “Kitty” Trimm has been chronically Ill for several years, and things got much worse about two years ago, when she was hospitalized for over fifty days with septic shock.

We need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

We need your help to continue the ongoing work, bringing the message of Messiah to the Jewish people, and bringing the message of Torah to the world. We need your help with the ongoing work of Scripture Restoration, as restore the original Hebrew of the “New Testament” books, a project which will bless all mankind, especially the Jewish people of Israel.

As you know my wife has never fully recovered from her 53 day hospitalization in late 2018 when she went into septic shock. In addition to other medical problems, she now has two abdominal hernias from six abdominal surgeries since 2015. Due to a condition the surgeons call “hostile abdomen”, she is not a candidate for surgery. Hernias do not heal on their own, they get larger but not smaller. Eventually one of these hernias will get large enough to be life threatening, at which time she will be rushed into emergency surgery without very good odds on the table. In the meantime, she now lives every day in pain. Pain from the surgery and from the septic shock that has never been resolved, and more importantly pain from the two hernias which she cannot have repaired. I have been her caregiver since she left the hospital. She has Medicare and Medicare part D, however she is on several expensive medications. This month she hit what they call the “gap” or “donut hole” in her Medicare drug coverage, and her copay for her cost for her expensive medications just skyrocketed! Just one of her medications has gone up to about $200 for a one month supply, we are still suffering sticker shock when we try to refill one of her meds, so I don’t know her total monthly drug costs yet, but another is $350 for a three month supply… We are finding ourselves in a position of choosing whether to pay our basic bills and groceries, or pay for her medications. Any donation will help, and any donation is better than no donation.

In these uncertain times, we need your support more than ever. The time is short, and there is much work to be done. As you might imagine, donations are low. If you can, please donate. This is no time to pull back from the great work in front of us!

Help us to continue to do important work, like posting important Hebrew and Aramaic texts at Scripture Nexus

As you know we have been digging ourselves out of a budget shortfall.  As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.

If you can make a one time donation of $500 or $1,000 dollars to support this work.


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