The reading today from John places us at the wrong feast, so let’s see how it all works out.
The Jewish calendar has seven feasts, four in the spring and three in the fall. All of them relate to the harvest seasons and to the Exodus.
Passover begins the series on the 14th of Nisan (generally in April) followed the next day with the opening of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts for a week. On the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits is celebrated by dedicating the bread made from the first grains of barley harvested on Passover.
The fourth feast of the year comes fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits. It is called the Feast of Weeks. The Greek New Testament used the Greek name for the Feast: Pentecost. It coincides with the first harvest of wheat.
In the fall, the Feast of Trumpets—lasting two days—is more somber and too complicated to describe here. That is followed by the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur.
The last feast is the Feast of Tabernacles, a seven-day feast followed by an eighth day for the Ceremony of Water Pouring and Illumination of the Temple; the feast John describes.
Now on the last day of the festival, Hoshana Rabbah, Yeshua stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!” CJB
Jesus probably spoke those words as the High Priest was carrying a gold vase, filled with water from the Pool of Siloam, to pour out around the altar in the water ceremony.
So, why is this passage of Scripture assigned for us on Pentecost?
In the Old Testament, water is frequently associated with the Holy Spirit, as it was at Jesus’ baptism, and ours as well. We need not doubt that Jesus meant the Spirit because he adds: By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. NIV
When the resurrected Jesus met with his disciples, he promised they would receive their portion of the Holy Spirit. That promise was fulfilled at the Feasts of the Firstfruits.
May the Ruach Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit be with you.
Be righteous and do good.