Jesus is both the Provision and the Provider of abundant and everlasting life. The scene that John describes is loaded with ceremonial and historic significance. This passage describes a remarkably bold act of Jesus on the “last and greatest day of the Feast” of Tabernacles. The Feast was one of thanksgiving to God for his provision of harvest and the rains necessary to bring it about. In those days, the people would keenly aware of the absolute necessity of water to sustain life. On the eighth and final day of the Feast the priests would lead the people in solemn procession to the temple. The priests would then pour water out upon the altar as an act of thanksgiving for the season’s rains.
It was during this time of great solemnity and gratitude that Jesus stood and spoke: “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink…” It would be hard to exaggerate either the boldness or scandal of this act. In essence, Jesus was presenting himself as the fulfillment of the Feast and Lord of all it taught the people to hope for. “The church declares that Jesus is the provision of God, the source and meaning of true life. This is a declaration to all people that the thirst of our souls can only be satisfied by Jesus Christ. There is no other solution – Jesus has a monopoly on truth and life (14:6)” (Klink, 381).