Water Pouring Ceremony on Sukkot

Water pouring pattery

The Hebrews have been told: “He who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life.”

Did you know that Yeshua (Jesus) declared John 7:37-38 on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) during the water pouring ceremony? “In the last day of the, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).

The water pouring became a focus of the joy that the Torah commands for Sukkot. On no other festival were the people literally commanded to be joyful, and as a result Sukkot became known as “the season of our joy,” just as Passover is “the season of our freedom.

The water pouring ceremony at the Feast of Tabernacles was the only water poured out onto God’s altar. This water was literally called “Yeshua” – the waters of salvation. Jesus proclaimed “If anyone drinks of Me” in God’s Temple, which demonstrated that He was (and still is) these waters of salvation. When Yeshua did this, He literally spoke the greatest teaching of Moses. To get to heaven, you must go through these waters to get there. This was the very place where Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). It was also the place where the Rabbis used to teach of the coming Messiah.

When the Temple of God stood in Jerusalem, the water pouring ceremony was performed every day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The priests of the Most High God were divided into three divisions during this daily special ceremony for Sukkot. One division for the Altar, one for the willows, and one for the waters.

The first division was the priests on duty for that festival. They would slay the sacrifices found in Numbers 29. Prior to the first group’s ascension of the Altar, a second group of priests went out the Eastern Gate of the Temple and went to the Motzah Valley (where the ashes of the red heifer were dumped at the beginning of the Sabbath). There they would cut willows. The willows had to be 25 feet in length. After this, they would form a line with all the priests holding a willow. About 25 or 30 feet behind this row of priests, allowing room for the willows, would be another row of priests with willows. So, there would be row after row of the willows.

The whole road back to the temple … was lined with pilgrims as they went to Jerusalem to celebrate the festival as they were commanded by God to do. Sukkot (Tabernacles), along with Shavuot (Pentecost) and Pesach (Passover), were known as the pilgrimage festivals (Deuteronomy 16:16).

There would be a signal and the priests would step out with their left foot, and then step to the right [cadence], swinging the willows back and forth. Meanwhile a third group of priests, headed by the High Priest, went out the gate known as the Water Gate. They had gone to the pool known as “Siloam” (John 9:7, 11), which means “gently flowing waters.” There the High Priest had a golden vase and drew the water known as the living water and held it in the vase. His assistant held a silver vase containing wine. Just as the priests in the valley of Motzah began to march toward Jerusalem, the willows made a swishing sound in the wind as they approached the city. The word wind and spirit in Hebrew are both Ruach. Therefore, this ceremony was symbolic or representative of the Holy Spirit of God coming upon the city of Jerusalem.

As each of the party reached their respective gates, a trumpet (shofar) was blown. Then one man would stand up and play the flute. The flute represents the Messiah. The flute player is called “the pierced one.” The flute is pierced, and Yeshua was pierced during the crucifixion.

The flute player led the procession. The pierced one blows the call for the wind and the water to enter the temple. The priests from Motzah walked in a cadence swishing the willows in order to come into the temple. This group then circled the altar seven times. The priests that were slaying the sacrifices are now ascending the altar, and they begin to lay the sacrifices on the fires. The High Priest and his assistant ascend the altar and all the people of Israel are gathered into the courts around there. The people start singing, “With joy we will draw water out of the well of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). The High Priest takes his golden vase and pours it contents on one of the corners of the altar where the horns are. There are two bowls built into the altar. Each bowl has a hole in it. The water and the wine are poured out over the altar, as the priests who had the willow start laying the willows against the altar, making a sukkah. They set the willows upright on the side of the altar, forming a wedding canopy or chupah, which is a picture of the Mature Body of Christ coming together who are made up of organic matter. These individuals lay down their lives as living sacrifices of fire to form one body – the dwelling place of God. The ceremony of the water drawing points to that day when, according to the prophet Joel, God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28-29).

As mentioned earlier, the water drawing ceremony took on a new dimension of meaning when Yeshua attended the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles). On the seventh day of the feast – Hoshana Rabbah, which literally means, “the great hosanna, the great salvation” – the festival activities were different from those of each of the six previous days when the priests circled the altar in a procession, singing Psalm 118:25. On the seventh day of the feast, the people circled the altar seven times. That is why the day is called Hoshana Rabbah, as all the people cried, “Save now!” seven times.

This is when the man who was sent – Yeshua – stood up “and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”(John 7:37-38 NKJV) on Hoshana Rabbah.

May the rivers of living water flow uninhibited in and through you!!!

~ Robin Main


When was messiah born?

Luke 1:5  Note that Zachariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah.  I Chronicles 24:10 places Abijah as the eighth division in the monthly rotation of priests serving in the Temple.  After the Exile and rebuilding of the Temple, this was changed to a two-week rotation.  So Zachariah would have been in the temple in late June to early July, by our modern calendar.

Luke 1:26  The angel Gabriel appears to Mary six months after Zachariah was serving in the Temple.  Yeshua was conceived around the time of Hanukkah (our December), which celebrates the “Light that came into the world”.  Nine months later places the birth of Yeshua at the time of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) which is now usually in late September to early October.

Luke 2:7  Hebrew word for ‘manger’ or ‘stable’ is ‘sukkah’ (Gen.33:17).  Jerusalem became overcrowded during the three pilgrimage festivals of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles).  This crowding included the area around Bethlehem, since it is close to Jerusalem.  Yeshua was born in one of these temporary shelters.

Luke 2:21  The eighth day after the seven days of Sukkot is a special High Holy Day.  Yeshua was circumcised on that day.  John 1:14 says ‘The Word became a human being and tabernacled with us’.

Messianic Omer Count

Traditionally between Passover and Pentecost, each week of counting the Omer is dedicated to a spiritual quality to which we aspire. Turning these qualities toward Yah, we see these qualities fully embodied in Him, and a verse for each day of the week relates that quality to the pictograph meaning of the relevant Hebrew letter:


Click to access omer-count-chart-2-pp-1.pdf

Here is a printable copy: Omer Count with Verses

The Passover Promise

In today’s Triennial cycle reading Acts 1:10, Yeshua told the disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. This was fulfilled 50 days later at Shavuot. The “Promise of the Father” is a phrase used during the Passover Seder, made to the the one who finds the Afikomen — Yeshua, the buried and resurrected Messiah. Anyone who finds Yeshua will be given the Holy Spirit.

“With numerous signs for 40 days Yeshua was seen” by the disciples. 10 days after His ascension was Shavuot, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit — flames of fire above their heads, speaking in tongues, preaching in the streets, and thousands being saved!

Pesach Then and Now 2020

Fascinating parallels appear in comparing the first Passover week with Passover 2020, both beginning on a Wednesday evening. Enjoy this chart:


4/4/2020 Shabbat Notes from Pastor Jim

Psalm 102

v. 1-5 An anguished prayer for healing from sickness – very appropriate for those suffering from the Covid-19 virus pandemic.  Even if you are not sick, all of us are being hurt by the impact of this global crisis.  Many are in quarantine or self-imposed isolation (v. 6-7 ‘like a bird alone on the roof, awake at night’).  Even food tastes like ashes (v. 9) – one symptom of Corona virus is loss of taste and smell.  Those who are sick may feel rejected and far from joyful fellowship with God (v. 10).  The darkness seems to be closing in… many have died.  Is there any hope?

v. 12-22  A sacrifice of praise!  Make a declaration of faith that the Lord ‘will arise and take pity on Zion (his people) for the time has come to have mercy on her!’  The result is v. 15 – ‘The nations will fear the name of YHVH and all the kings (leaders) your glory.’

v. 18 Record the response to this prayer… ‘so that future generations and people yet to be created will praise’ Him.  Is there a purpose or positive outcome from the current pandemic?  The theme of the Bible begins in Genesis 12:1-3, ‘all nations will be blessed’.  Will you join in this Psalm 102 cry to the Lord on behalf of our stricken planet (that he made, by the way, v. 25) so that the final verse 28 becomes reality when ‘the children of your servants will live securely and their descendants be established in your presence’.  Imagine, no more plagues, no more fear or loss, confidence in his presence like the Hebrews beneath the cloud of glory that stood above the Tabernacle in the wilderness (turn to the  next reading).  Come Yeshua!

Numbers 8:1 – 9:21

The ‘parashah’ begins with the dedication of the Levites as priests.  This involved offerings representing repentance from sin and consecration to the Lord (v.8, 12).  They were ‘taken in place of the firstborn of Israel’ (v.18) who were ‘passed-over’ when the Egyptian firstborn died.

Note that the Levites were presented as a wave offering, which was part of the peace offerings the people would bring (see Leviticus 7:28-36).  It’s been jokingly said that Aaron must have been extremely strong to lift and wave hundreds of young Levites in the air!  The priests were the people’s peace offering, set apart to be holy.  If you are a believer in Yeshua, then you too are a priest, set apart to stand in the gap between lost people and the plagues resulting from the world’s sin (various forms of Corona virus – SARS, MERS, Covid-19, etc. – all genetically stem from eating non-kosher creatures).

Chapter 9 introduces Pesach (Passover) as a festival, exactly one year after it first happened in Egypt, and now when the Hebrew were in the wilderness (v. 5) totally dependent on God.  Verses 6-14 make a provision for anyone who misses it to observe it one month later.  This was in response to those who complained, ‘Why should we be cut off from the blessing (or protection?) of Passover?’ (v.7).  They knew firsthand what had happened in Egypt that set the Hebrews free and certainly did not want to be left out a year later!  How about you?

Verses 15-23 describe THE CLOUD.  It moved over the Tabernacle on the day it was first put up.  When the cloud lifted, the newly-dedicated priests disassembled the tabernacle, then when it started moving, they marched beneath the cloud with Israel following in carefully ordered divisions of tribes.  At night, the glowing cloud lit the entire camp and must have been visible to non-Hebrew watchers for miles around.  Everything the people did was ordered and illuminated by the Lord’s word… and there were no plagues such as now afflict all humanity.  Hm!  What does that mean for us?  Turn to the next reading….

Amos 5, Judgment!  Israel fallen (v.2)!  War! Exile!  “But if you seek the Lord, you will survive’ (v.6).  Why has this disaster happened?  ‘You who turn justice to wormwood, and throw righteousness to the ground’ (v. 7).  Notice the Hebrew X pattern here – justice trampled into the dirt, righteousness becomes a bitter memory.  The same ‘X’ is repeated as a positive version in v.24 – ‘let justice well up like water and righteousness like a flowing stream’.  Living water required for a Jewish mikvah or baptism is water that flows continuously from its source.  Justice becomes living water, and righteousness wells up from the Source.

How to survive the disaster is repeated in v. 14-15 – ‘Seek good and not evil…, love good, uphold justice.’  Warnings of the Day of the Lord follow (v.18, 20), linked to ‘I utterly loathe your festivals… offerings… songs’ (v.21-23).  Being very religious was not good enough to avoid the exile ‘beyond Damascus’ which soon followed for the Northern kingdom of Israel.  They were not worshiping according to God’s Word.  Perhaps, we’d better find out what it really says!  So what do we do now?  Pray!

I Kings 8 & 15  Shlomo’s (Solomon’s) Dedication Prayer for the Temple.

v. 2 – ‘month of Etanim, the seventh month’.  This would have been during the final three Biblical festivals (Lev. 23, Dt. 16) at the end of the harvest season.  Wheat had been gathered, stubble and thorns in the fields burned, pilgrims heading for Jerusalem.  This ancient Hebrew name for the seventh month (now replaced by ‘Tishrei’ from the pagan Babylonian calendar), may have been a plural form of ‘atun’ (furnace).  Root letters are aleph (leader), tav (covenant), nun (life).  The seventh month is preserved in our modern calendar as September (Latin ‘seventh’, counting from the Biblical new year… this continues with Octo, Novo, and December as numbers).  It’s the final call to get attuned to the Leader of the covenant of life!

v. 8 – note what’s missing from inside the Ark!

v.10  Priests could not stand to do their service when the glory filled the temple.

v.23 ‘You keep covenant… show grace, IF they live in your presence with all of their hearts’.  Again, religious observance without faith is not good enough.

v.33 ‘IF they turn back, acknowledge your name, and pray….’

v.43 ‘so that all peoples of the earth will know your name and fear (believe) in you’.  Again, the theme of the Bible is the gospel to ‘all nations’, as mentioned in Ps. 102 notes above.  Repeated in v. 60.

v.62 – 66 Huge feast for everyone!  ‘and the people went home filled with joy’.

I Kings 15 Bad story of what happens when people don’t do what God says in his Word.  Continued in the churches, struggling to finally get it right….

Revelation 2 & 3

Ephesus – ‘…lost your first love’ (v. 4)  But you hate what the Nicolatians do (Nico – conquer others with false, impure teachings) – I hate it too.’ v. 6

Smyrna – ‘you will face an ordeal… remain faithful and I will give you a crown of life’.

Perganum – ‘teachings of Bilam… and Nicolatians’.  Again, stick to what the Bible actually says, rather than some paganized version!  v. 17 ‘To him winning the victory, I will give some of the hidden manna.’ (help from the Spirit!)

Thyatira – ‘you tolerate that Jezebel woman, deceiving my people!’ v. 23 “I give to each of you what your deeds deserve”.

Sardis – ‘what you are doing is incomplete in the sight of my God’ v.2  But, ‘He who wins the victory will be dressed in white and I will not blot his name from the Book of Life’ v.5.

Philadelphia – v.10 ‘You did obey my message about persevering.  I will keep you from the time of trial that is coming on the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test.’

Laodicea – v. 16 Lukewarm!  v. 19 ‘I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins!  Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking….  v. 21 ‘I will let him who wins the victory, sit with me on my throne…. v. 22 ‘those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the messianic communities’.

Yom Kippur

The longest and most intense of the Yom Kippur services is called Mussaf. It corresponds to the additional sacrificial offerings that were brought in the days of the Temple (see Numbers 29:7-11).

The intensity of Mussaf reaches its most climactic moment at the prayer called the Kedushah, in which we raise our voices in concert with the angelic multitudes who constantly surround God throne, crying, “Holy, holy, holy!” Thus we sanctify God’s name on earth just as it is sanctified by the angels in heaven.

Here, at the Kedushah, is the moment that catches you by surprise. The prayer leader (called the chazzan) suddenly begins to describe how the Messiah, through his intense suffering, piercing, and wounds, procures forgiveness for our sins.

The rabbi does not stir or act alarmed. The congregation continues in fervent prayer as if nothing unusual has happened. That is because this is a portion of a common Yom Kippur prayer called Az Milifnei Vereshit that has been used in synagogues for centuries.

This prayer elaborates on a concept found in the Gemara, in b.Pesachim 54a and b.Nedarim 39b: “Seven things were created before the world was created: the Torah, repentance, the Garden of Eden, Gehenna, the throne of glory, the Temple, and the name of the Messiah.” This prayer also alludes to the assertion of the Sages (b.Sanhedrin 98b) that Yinnon is one of the Messiah’s names (based on a creative interpretation of Psalm 72:17)


The passage can be found in volume 2 of the famous Machzor Kol Bo:

Then, prior to creation,
he established the Temple and Yinnon.

The Talpiot above from the beginning,
he prepared before any people or language.

He decided to let his presence reside there,
to guide the mistaken in straight paths.

If the wicked are reddened (by sin),
let them wash and be cleansed beforehand.

If (God’s) fierce wrath is incited,
the Holy One will not awaken his full rage.

So far, our wealth has depleted,
but our Rock has not touched us.

Our righteous Messiah has turned away from us;
we have acted foolishly; there is no one to justify us.

Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions
he bears, and he is pierced for our transgressions.

He carries our sins on his shoulder,
to find forgiveness for our iniquities.

By his wounds we are healed,
forever a new creation; the time of his creation.

Bring him up from the circle;
lift him out of Seir.

To summon us to the mount of Lebanon
a second time through Yinnon.   (translated by Aaron Eby)

Kedushah, which means holiness, is the sanctification of God’s name during the Amidah prayer. Below is the text for when it is said during weekday morning services.

נַקְדִּישָׁךְ וְנַעֲרִיצָךְ כְּנֹעַם שִׂיחַ סוֹד שַׂרְפֵי קֹדֶשׁ, הַמְשַׁלְּשִׁים לְךָ קְדֻשָּׁה. כַּכָּתוּב עַל יַד נְבִיאֶךָ: וְקָרָא זֶה אֶל זָה וְאָמַר: קָדוֹש, קָדוֹש, קָדוֹש, יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת. מְלֹא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ. לְעֻמָּתָם מְשַׁבְּחִים וְאוֹמְרִים: בָּרוּךְ כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ. וּבְדִבְרֵי קָדְשְׁךָ כָּתוּב לֵאמֹר: יִמְלֹךְ יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר, הַלְלוּיָהּ.

We will sanctify You and revere You, like the pleasant conversation, of the assembly of the holy Serafim (angels) that recite holiness thrice before You. And as it is written by Your prophet: And one calls to the other & says: Holy, Holy, Holy is the L·rd of hosts. the entire world is filled with His glory. Those facing them, give praise & say: Blessed is the honor of the L·rd from His place. And in Your holy words it is written, stating: The L·rd will reign forever, your G·d, oh zion, for every generation, Halleluy·ah. (Praise G·d!)

אַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ, וְשִׁמְךָ קָדוֹשׁ, וּקְדוֹשִׁים בְּכָל יוֹם יְהַלְלוּךָ סֶּלָה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יֹהֵוָהֵ, הָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ: בעשרת ימי תשובה: הַמֶּלֶךְ הַקָּדוֹשׁ

You are Holy, and Your Name is holy, and Your holy ones will praise You every day forever. Blessed are You L·rd the Holy G·d.


Minchah, the afternoon before YOM KIPPUR

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You HASHEM, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps 19:15)

אֱלֹהֵינו Our God and the God of our forefathers, may our prayer come before You, and do not ignore our supplication for we are not so brazen and obstinate as to say before You HASHEM that we are righteous. Rather, we have sinned. (Ps 88:2, Ps 55:1, Ps 106:6)

We have turned away from Your commandments and from Your good laws but to no avail. (Job 33:27)

What can we say before You, Who dwells on high, and what can we relate to You, Who abides in the highest heavens – for indeed, everything that is hidden and revealed You know. You know the secrets of the universe, and the innermost mysteries of all the living. You test thoughts and emotions, and nothing is concealed from Your eyes. And so may it be Your will HASHEM that You pardon us all our iniquities and atone for all our willful sins. (Prov 20:27)

Artscroll Machzor


How to tie Tzitzit symbolizing His Name

Numbers 15:37-40 ~ The LORD said . . . “Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels (‘tzitziot’) on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tzitzit. You will look upon them to remember all the commands of the LORD.”

Deuteronomy 22:12 ~ “You are to make for yourself twisted cords on the four corners of the garment you wrap around yourself.”

Sephardic wrapping of tzitzit uses the numbers equivalent to the Hebrew letters of the sacred Name:     Y        H      V      H          ~          10       5       6       5

tzitzit-picsay (5) final

To make, cut 3 equal lengths of cord (around 3’ each); double them in half. Cut another half length, and knot it with a whole length of blue cord.

Tie a double knot around a loop in the center of the 4 cords. Wrap 10 times (‘yod’), pulling through each wrap to hold it.

Double  knot and wrap 5 times (‘hey’). Double  knot and wrap 6 times (‘vav’). Double  knot and wrap 5 times (‘hey’); may finish with a double knot. Trim white cords, leaving the blue cord a bit longer.

©2017 northwestmessianicfellowship.org

1/21/17 – Jubilee

1/21/17 – Looking toward our homecoming:  Leviticus 25:54 says slaves go free in the JUBILEE year (the year of homecoming). A few verses later Leviticus 26:4 says He sends the rains so the earth yields its PRODUCE. And in Exodus 19:13 “When the RAM’S HORN (horn signaling homecoming) sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.” All three words derive from the Hebrew verb root, y.v.l., meaning “bring home”. What a jubilee, what produce from Him, sound the shofar, He’s bringing us home!

10/8/16 – 10 Days of Awe

10/8/16 – Like baptism, the offerings summarized at the end of Leviticus 7 are an outward expression of our inward condition. In today’s Psalm 77 (Triennial Cycle) this expression of our human condition and failings is appropriate as we look toward Yom Kippur. And the sense of our failings gives way to wonder — Mika Mocha: “Who is like You” indeed! The Ten Days of Awe is a wonder-ful place to be spiritually.