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By this time, there was quite a buzz about this miracle-working Jesus, and as he heads down to Jerusalem at the time of the Festival of Shelters, or Tabernacles (see Leviticus 23:33-34), that buzz intensifies. Who is this man, really? What do you make of him at this point?

This particular festival looks back on the time of Moses and the exodus, when God’s people were wandering through the wilderness and living in portable shelters or tents. As he did in the previous chapter, Jesus makes a dramatic connection between himself and this significant time in Israel’s history. Just as God had miraculously quenched the thirst of his people in the desert (see Exodus 17:1-7), Jesus boldly claims, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!” (v. 37). What do you make of this invitation, and how do you respond to it? Finally, you may have noticed that twice in this chapter Jesus says, “my time has not yet come” (and we encountered it in chapter 2 as well). As we will eventually see, this statement refers to his sacrificial death on the cross for our sins, which is the whole reason Jesus came, and of which he will have much more to say as we go along.