Siloe and Shiloh.

"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" John 7:37-39.

The occasion was the closing day of the great festival. The feast of Tabernacles had lasted its prescribed seven days, during which the people dwelling in booths (Lev. 23:42) had recalled and commemorated their tent life in the wilderness, where God had led them forty years to humble them and to prove them, that they might know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord. (Deut. 8:2-3.) The last or eighth day (typical of our first or Lord's-day) was the feast of the Ingathering. (Ex. 23:16.) It was the greatest day of all, the celebration of the gathering in of the fruits of the goodly land, when, harvest being ended, the corn, and wine, and oil had all been stored. Of the three great festivals, this feast of Tabernacles and of Ingathering was the greatest of the Jewish year; and of its eight days this was the last, the greatest, and most joyous. Doubtless the nation had rejoiced exceedingly, and the Lord had probably seen the people with the golden vessel from the sanctuary, provided for this ceremonial, carrying of the still waters of Siloe's fountain, and pouring them out during the chanting of hosannahs, as a libation upon the sacrifice on the altar. The acclamations of Israel resounding within the temple are carried far beyond its precincts, and rehearsing the song of Isaiah 12, the excited company take up at least the letter of his words, "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." Haply, too, they congratulate one the other with many a hearty salute on being present this memorable day, while they say amongst themselves exultingly, "He who has never seen the rejoicing at the pouring out of the water of Siloam, has never seen rejoicing in his life."

Thus were the people of God's national choice and special favour occupied, and such were their self-satisfied thoughts; but the whole scene was a hollow and a heartless sham. One was there who had come up to the feast in Jerusalem, being of the royal line of Judah, David's root and David's offspring, whose unhonoured presence exposed the real character of the nation's celebration. They avowedly celebrated that they had been led as a flock in the desert, but the Shepherd of Israel before their very eyes they knew not; and so far from having learnt that man liveth by every word from the mouth of God, the living Word Himself, to whom all revelation divinely pointed, is amongst them unrecognized! They celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the field and of the vineyard, but yielded no honour to the Lord of the harvest! The ancient prophecy of their father Jacob, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the peoples be," was as little understood as was Shiloh Himself known when He was in their midst in the crowded city of their solemnities! To Judah, as predicted by the dying patriarch, had Shiloh come, and was amongst His own tribe; but not even Judah was gathered to Him! They may have rejoiced in Siloe's waters in stirring strains, and sung of wells of salvation, but the Saviour Himself is refused; and accordingly to salvation they remain strangers.

How must the Lord's tender heart have been pained at all that passed around Him! We may in some measure conceive what it must have cost Him, though only His own sensitiveness to the breach between Jehovah and His people could fully appreciate it. He goes up tardily and secretly - for those weighty reasons which, however, not even His own kindred could penetrate - but He goes up; for the type and the antitype must be brought together, the foreshadow conducting to that which produces it. Whether they will bear or whether they will forbear, Jehovah must testify in the midst of His people. They are keeping one of Jehovah's solemn feasts, but His heart is breaking at their unbelief; for they know not the time of their visitation. (Luke 19:44.) "Jesus stood and cried." He knew the real barrenness of the noisy, self-glorious scene; they were in the land and in the holy city, but it was a moral desert. Though they valued not the word which went forth from the mouth of God, they must hear it from His faithful Witness; and though they rejoice in Siloe's waters, but are oblivious of Him to whom they pointed (the sent One, John 9:7), His love shall direct them to rivers of eternal blessing. The Lord therefore takes His stand in the midst of the moving throng, and stretching forth His hands, cries aloud to Israel, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." Full well knew He that the nation had no heart to receive Him, neither thirsted she for the eternal springs: thus He makes the call an individual one, answering in character to what He had said to the woman at Jacob's well, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." The wondrous fact, first stated to Samaria's guilty daughter, is now reaffirmed to the still more guilty daughter of Israel, that One is before her in the plenitude of His grace, not accusing her of her iniquities, nor exposing the emptiness and poverty of her solemn assemblies, but touchingly appealing, with outstretched hands laden with proffered blessing, to the aching heart of any who, like the treasurer of Candace, are retiring from Jerusalem unsatisfied with the proud city's festivities and religious rites, coveting and craving a more excellent and soul-satisfying portion. And as in relation to the woe-deserving cities He had earlier in His testimony said, as indeed none but He could say, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, so here within the walls of more culpable Jerusalem He cries, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." Jehovah-shammah, "the Lord is there," and "Come unto me," is at once the evidence that Shiloh has come, and thus Jehovah has visited His people, and the testimony that He has put blessing within their reach of such a character as to emancipate every burdened conscience, and to refresh and satisfy every troubled spirit. But they would not! The true fountain of Siloe is flowing for them, the well-springs of salvation opened, that whosoever will may drink; but, alas! for these waters there is no thirst.

Again He speaks: "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The previous verse spoke of His person, the life-giving One, present amongst them, and the blessedness of coming to Him who is able to save; but, as He said, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Yet now He opens up in striking figure the character and compass of the believer's blessing; but the inspired penman carefully guards against our concluding it could have been then fully possessed. The believer's characteristic blessing comes out in connection only with the glorified Man at God's right hand. A Christ incarnate, a Christ in devoted service, a Christ obedient unto death, nay, even a risen Saviour seen forty days of His disciples, will not suffice; but the Christ of glory, exalted to the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, is essential to the gift of the Holy Ghost as a divine person dwelling in the believer. Up to this portion of John's gospel we have three beautiful and precious instances in which the Lord Jesus takes His place as an evangelist; the first is with Nicodemus, the second with the woman of Sychar, while the third is the case in hand. Let us for a moment observe their difference. In one we have a ruler of the Jews, probably an upright, amiable man, standing well with those around him; in another a woman of the city, guilty and depraved; in the last a chosen nation in the day of her religious festivities. But there is only one Saviour. He is the needed One, and He is there, self-presented to the needy soul.

"Uncalled Thou cam'st with gladness,
Us from the fall to raise;
To change our grief and sadness
To songs of joy and praise."

The lifted up "Son of man" in one case, "the gift of God" in the next, and the "Come unto Me" of the last, all tell the same affecting tale of a Saviour there in the fulness of His grace, and in whom alone is salvation. Nor is that all; for in each instance there is the Holy Ghost too. Nicodemus must be "born of the Spirit;" Samaria's daughter must get the "living water," a divine and eternal spring; and now, in the third case, as the issue of the smitten Rock, and consequent upon His being glorified, "rivers of living waters" flowing forth from the believer, fructifying and refreshing others, as well as himself, as they flow on to their ocean source. But that which is of deepest interest as to evangelization is to see that the Lord Jesus, here in His labours in the gospel, presents this high and blessed teaching undeterred by the fact that its accomplishment was "not yet." He stops not short of this wonderful heavenly truth concerning a glorified Christ and its result - the gift of the Holy Ghost as a divine person dwelling in saints on earth, and which water of life, bursting its bounds, as it were, would flow forth for the blessing of those around, like deep and rapid streams whose winding courses ensure rich and verdant meadows on either hand, while their unimpeded and undiminished volume bespeaks their exhaustless, immeasurable supply!

It may be here remarked, that while Jacob's ancient prediction by the Spirit of God left room for unbelief in the refusal of Shiloh, it also gave room for faith; for had the nation received and installed Him as Messiah, the Prince and Ruler of Judah, and to Him had the peoples been gathered, the prophecy would have received a complete fulfilment. As it is, the first or negative part only is yet fulfilled, and the rest waits a millennial accomplishment when all nations will be gathered to and blessed in the Shiloh of Judah. (Gen. 49:10.)

In the scene we are contemplating He stands before them as the sent One of God in the precious, perfect grace of His heart to man, the true and thenceforth ever-flowing Siloe, so long as could be found a needy one thirsting for the water of life. If they knew Him not in the dignity and moral glory of His blessed person as Shiloh, the Man of rest, the Prince of peace, the anti-typical Solomon to whom the sceptre alone by right belongs, that shall not deter Him from fulfilling the will of Him that sent Him and finishing His work, as He said, "I know that His commandment is life everlasting." (John 12:50.)

But, in conclusion, it is such truths as the risen Man glorified in the presence of God upon the throne of the Father; the new creation in its wonderful scope and bearings, of which He is "the Beginning;" the Holy Ghost given in person and in power, dwelling in us in immeasurable fulness, and uniting us to Christ in glory in the membership of one Body; and the Lord's return to meet us in the air, "that blessed hope;" it is these and similar truths that we are privileged not only to rejoice in as our own portion as beloved children of the Father, but also to present all around to others, whether in preaching the gospel or in dealing with individuals. The Lord give His beloved servants to imitate Himself in the testimony of His abounding grace, and to present before souls the unimpaired magnitude of this heavenly order of blessing; and none the less should they meet but with such an issue to their testimony as did the Master Himself, concerning whose auditory we read that, scarce refraining from laying hands upon Him, they went every man unto his own house! And what about Himself? Ah! dear reader, as the refused One He pursued in silence and in solitude His toilsome path to Olivet (John 8:1), and it may be, like David in the day of his refusal, weeping as He went up. (Compare 2 Sam. 15:30 with Ps. 126:6.) Such is true testimony, and such its present reward; yet how blessed "for His sake." (Phil. 1:29.)

Lord, accept our feeble song!
Power and praise to Thee belong;
We would all Thy grace record,
Holy, holy, holy Lord!" W. R. (D).

Are you dealing with yourself on the ground of your going to be like Christ in glory - seeking to be like Him now? Can you say that is the way your life is spending itself? In loneliness of heart perhaps, but spiritual energy that cares only for that - "This one thing I do."

To follow is the starting-point of true service.

Entire confidence in the Lord's love gives courage to do the Lord's will.

It is not what I am to do, but what He will do with me.

The Day-star arising in my heart is what completely delivers me from the world.