A Well and A Wedding
John 3:29 “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”
John The Baptist: A Friend of The Bridegroom
In the above verse, the author of John’s gospel, John the apostle, is writing about John the Baptist and his role as the forerunner of Jesus. John came preaching repentance, and he quoted Isaiah 40:3-4 when mentioned that he was ‘the voice of one crying in the wilderness.’ This was John’s answer to his disciples explaining why he didn’t try to stop Jesus from baptizing.
John the Baptizer, as the name should be correctly translated, explained his role was to get people ready for Jesus’ arrival on the scene. He used the analogy of members of a wedding party for several reasons. First, weddings were a joyous occasion in the Jewish culture then. Weddings are still an incredibly festive time among Jews today.
John also used this analogy because he understood his role in introducing the groom to the bride. Jesus is the groom, and his bride is the righteous from the Old Covenant and those born of the Spirit in the New Covenant. The forerunner is the one who went ahead of the groom to go and prepare the bride or make sure that she was ready.
The forerunner, or friend of the bridegroom was supposed to go through the streets shining lamps, and at some point, he would sound the shofar, or ram’s horn, announcing the coming of the groom. The friend of the bridegroom was a long tradition going back to the days of Abraham. It was a message that the Essenes, of whom John was affiliated, knew quite well, and some Essenes spent most of their time fasting and praying in this vein.
A Bride And A Well
Genesis chapter 24 outlines the story where Abraham gets a bride for his son Isaac. It is a very typical story where marriages are arranged in Middle eastern fashion. But it is also a story for us to apply as we anticipate the return of Jesus.
Abraham sends his head servant, Eleazar of Damascus to seek a bride in a far away country. Instructions and gifts are provided to Eleazar so that when he arrives at the place he will know what to do. Isaac is back with Abraham and never sees his future bride until she arrives with Eleazar.
When Eleazar arrives he finds Rebekah at a spring, or well where many young women were gathering water in their jars. Eleazar prays for favor and for the right young lady that God would have to be the bride of his master’s son to offer water for him and his camels.
Before the servant could finish his prayer, Rebekah arrives with her jar on her shoulder. Her father was the son of Abraham’s brother Nahor. His name was Bethuel and Rebekah was very beautiful and still a vigin. When Eleazar saw her he ran to her and asked for water from her jar, and she obliged him.As the story goes Eleazar finds favor and Rebekah is given permission to return with him and become Isaac’s bride. He gave many precious gifts to Rebekah and her family. She returns with Eleazar after they blessed her saying, “ May you, our sister, become the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and may your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them.” Genesis 24:60 MEV
Upon arrival Isaac sees Rebekah and she sees him and they are both immediately in love, and Isaac takes her into Sarah’s tent and she becomes his bride, and the mother of many , many thousands and millions of peoples. The story has many symbols that we can easily overlook. Eleazar is the servant, but he represents the Holy Spirit seeking a bride for his master and his son. The master is God the Father, Isaac is Jesus and Rebekah is the church, the bride of Christ.
Jesus Seeks A Bride At A Well
Jesus spoke of weddings and made many comparisons to His ministry and His return to a wedding and wedding feast. He performed His first recorded miracle at a wedding feast in Cana. You see God has been looking for a bride for His Son for eternity. The prophet Jeremiah told the Children of Israel when they were preparing to be removed into exile that the voice of the Bridegroom, the voice of the Bride, and the voice of those who rejoice in the Lord would return to the land. (see Jeremiah 33:11)
Weddings were so important in that culture that Jeremiah spent a lot of time prophesying that the voice of a wedding feast would not be heard. How sad. No wonder he lamented, and later wrote How? How did it come to this? God had married and consummated the marriage in the tabernacle in the wilderness and now Israel has become a harlot.
When Jesus arrives on the scene, John is not only preparing the way for Jesus as Messiah but as the Bridegroom of the Righteous to become the bride of the lamb. Jesus gave us an example of His intent to include the nations in this bride to be when He went out of His way to go to Samaria. We make so much out of this story, but we always miss what Jesus was trying to tell us.
Jesus did come to the lost sheep of Israel first but their role was to be a light to the nations and that would be fulfilled when He sent out the twelve. So Samaria is the last place a righteous Jewish rabbi from Galillee would be found, unless He is making a statement.
He goes to a well. Why? Was he looking for water? He said He was the living water. Was He looking for a bride? Yes, but not the literal woman, but all of the Samaritans, certainly all nations, not just Israel.
Jesus went to a well looking for a bride amiong the nations. (see John 4)
The Holy Spirit: Friend of The Bridegroom
We like to put ourselves in the context as forerunners like John the Baptizer as preparing for the return of Christ. There are special voices that God has raised up to be just that. Also, every believer and disciple of Christ is a forerunner in some way.
We are not only the bride but we assume the role of ‘friend of the bridegroom’ when we introduce others to Jesus. But the real friend of the bridegroom, the one doing all the work is The Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is looking all over the earth for people to come into agreement with their destiny as the bride of Christ. Not only do we enter as citizens of the kingdom but we will marry the lamb. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring us gifts and prepare us for the wedding.
Sure, He uses people like us to prepare the church. Others help us to get ready. We help each other, but it is Holy Spirit’s job to prepare us and then He will tell the Father that the bride is ready and the Son will come get her.
In Revelation 22:17 ‘the Spirit and the bride say come. Let him who hears say ‘come.’ Let him who is thirsty come. Let him who desires take the water of life freely.’ MEV
Notice that the Spirit and bride are inviting others to the well, or river of life. Wells and weddings are what it is all about in the Kingdom of God. Join me with the real friend of the bridegroom and say come quickly Lord Jesus and come all you who are thirsty.
Revelation 19:7 tells us that the Bride has made herself ready! That is only accomplished by and through the work of the Holy Spirit. So let us allow the Holy Spirit to make us ready!!!!!
Thanks to Jill Austin and her book Dancing with Destiny :Awaken Your Heart To Dream To Love To War, for the revelation of the Holy Spirit as the Friend of the Bridegroom.