Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Is Jesus Named in the Old Testmament? Part V

We are taking a breathtaking sweep across Scripture to discover if Jesus was present in the Old Testament.  We have seen how His name, Yeshua, (yeshuw'ah) is present in many Old Testament verses, and means "salvation."

We are continuing our look at the Old Testament, the Tanakh, in the Neviim or "Prophets" with Isaiah.  His is a prophetic book, richly filled with verses on the Suffering Servant.  This Servant is unnamed, but His presence is felt as He silently walks through the prophecies.  Let us look at those verses where yeshuw'ah is used:

Isaiah 12:3:  "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."  

Jesus frequently referred to Himself as Living Water.  His encounter with the woman at the well is instructive:

"Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.'

'Sir,' the woman said, 'you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?'

Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” (John 4:4-13)

Do you hear the echo of Isaiah in what Jesus said?  The "wells of salvation" has been embodied in Jesus Himself.  Let's recast the verse, and it speaks powerfully: "With joy you will draw water from the wells of yeshuw'ah."  He is the Well, He is the Water, and the woman's deepest need (and ours) is to have our spiritual thirst satisfied, and not just for the moment, but for all time.  

But why is she (and us) so thirsty?  Well, this woman lives in desert area, dry and with little rain.  Going to the well to draw water each day is not an option; it is a necessity.  She is rather rattled by the fact that this Jewish Man is asking her (a despised Samaritan) for a drink.  She immediately declines His request by citing the historical grievance between her people and the Jews.  But the wall is coming down.  Salvation is here.  So, the past is no longer important, and Jesus gently dismantles her concern by bringing her closer to Him and away from all that would impede that encounter.

The water from the well is only a temporary solution to the hot dry conditions.  But even more to the point, water drawn from an earthly well will not satisfy.  But the water Jesus gives is another matter:  not only does it completely satisfy, it produces water in the person who partakes!  The well, in other words, changes location.  It goes from the outside to the inside and it keeps producing!  It is a living moving spring that keeps "welling up."  It doesn't sit at the bottom of a person's soul, waiting passively for the person to draw it up.  It cannot be contained!  It is a constant source.  Why, because He is a constant Source.  He cannot be contained, so if He dwells in us, the Water flows and refreshes, bubbles up and strengthens, invigorates and renews.

Look at Isaiah 12:3 one more time:  "Joy" is the experience at this well of yeshuwa'h. Jesus goes on to explain to this woman why her source has left her dry spiritually:  she is living in the desert of sin:
"The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.'

He told her, 'Go, call your husband and come back.'

'I have no husband,' she replied.

Jesus said to her, 'You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.'

'Sir,' the woman said, 'I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.'

'Woman,' Jesus replied, 'believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.'”

The woman said, 'I know that Messiah' (called Christ) 'is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.'

Then Jesus declared, 'I, the one speaking to you—I am he.'” (John 4: 15-26)

Jesus showed her the dry desert of her life and why her thirst was unquenchable.  She wanted the water without changing her life.   But the Well shows us our thirst, and it is only the Well that can satisfy it.  The Water in it is Life itself:  the salvation of our souls. 

Like Moses leading the Children of Israel and striking the rock for water, our Salvation came from One who was struck.  Isaiah lovingly pours forth the poetry of the One through Whom yeshuw'ah comes: 

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6)

Amen.   May your day be blessed and may you find joy in the Water that never runs dry!

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