AT the commencement of the Feast of Tabernacles, the absence of Jesus was commented upon. The Pharisees and rulers anxiously looked for him to come, hoping that they might have an opportunity to condemn him on account of something he might say or do. They anxiously inquired,

Where is he?" but no one knew. Presently a dispute rose among the people in regard to Jesus, many nobly defending him as one sent of God, while others bitterly accused him as a deceiver of the people.

Meanwhile Jesus had quietly arrived at Jerusalem. He had chosen an unfrequented route by which to go, in order to avoid the travelers who were making their way to the city from all quarters. In the midst of the feast, when the dispute concerning Himself was at its height, Jesus walked calmly into the court of the temple, and stood before the crowd as one possessed of unquestionable authority. The sudden and unexpected appearance of one whom they believed would not dare to show himself among them in the presence of all the chief priests and rulers, astonished the people, so that a sudden hush succeeded the excited discussion in which they had been engaged. They were astonished at his dignified and courageous bearing in the midst of so many powerful men who were thirsting for his life.

Standing thus, with the eyes of all the people riveted upon him, he addressed them as no man had ever done. His knowledge was greater than that of the learned priests and elders, and he assumed an authority, which they had never ventured to take. Those very men who had so lately been wrought up to a frenzy of hate, and were ready to do violence to Christ at the first opportunity, now listened spellbound to his words, and felt themselves powerless to do him harm. He was the attraction of the hour; all other interests were forgotten for the time. The hearts of the people thrilled with awe as they listened to his words. .....

And now the feast was drawing to a close. The morning of the last, crowning day found the people wearied from the long season of festivity. Suddenly Jesus lifted up his voice in tones that rang through the courts of the temple: "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." The condition of the people made this appeal very forcible. They had been engaged in a continued scene of pomp and festivity, their eyes had been dazzled with light and color, and their ears regaled with the richest music; but there had been nothing to meet the wants of the spirit, nothing to satisfy the thirst of the soul for that which perishes not. Jesus invited them to come and drink of the fountain of life, of that which should be in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

The priest had that morning performed the imposing ceremony, which represented the smiting of the rock in the wilderness, and the issuing therefrom of the water. 

That rock was a figure of Christ. His words were the water of life. As Jesus spoke thus to the people, their hearts thrilled with a strange awe, and many were ready to exclaim, with the woman of Samaria, "Give me of this water, that I thirst not."

The words of the Divine Teacher presented his gospel in a most impressive figure. More than eighteen hundred years have passed since the lips of Jesus pronounced those words in the hearing of thousands of thirsty souls; but they are as comforting and cheering to our hearts today, and as full of hope, as to those who accepted them in the Jewish temple. Jesus knew the wants of the human soul. 

Hollow pomp, riches and honor, cannot satisfy the heart. "If any man thirst, let him come unto me." The rich, the poor, the high, the low, are alike welcomed. 

He promises to relieve the burdened mind, to comfort the sorrowing, and give hope to the despondent. Many of those who heard Jesus were mourners over disappointed hopes, some were nourishing a secret grief, some were seeking to satisfy the restless longing of the soul with the things of this world and the praise of men; but when all this was gained, they found that they had toiled to reach only a broken cistern, from which they could not quench their fevered thirst.--" startles them from their sorrowful meditation, and as they listen to the words that follow, their minds kindle with new hope.  They look upon the Lifegiver standing in majesty before them, Divinity flashing through his humanity, and revealing his heavenly power in words that thrill their hearts.

The cry of Christ to the thirsty soul is still going forth. It appeals to us with even greater power than to those who heard it in the temple on that last day of the feast. The weary and exhausted ones are offered the refreshing draught of eternal life. Jesus invites them to rest in Him. He will take their burdens. He will give them peace. Centuries before the advent of Christ, Isaiah described him as a "hiding-place from the wind," a "covert from the tempest," as "the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." All who come to Christ receive his love in their hearts, which is the water that springs up unto everlasting life. Those who receive it impart it in turn to others, in good works, in right examples, and in Christian counsel.

 Mrs. E. G. White.