Was this the Messiah? Or was he the Prophet promised by Moses?
On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet."
Others said, "He is the Christ."
Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
(John 7:40-43 NIV)
Recall, Jesus is in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles. He teaches the multitudes and has just described the pouring out of the Spirit in John 7:37-39. What he said amazed the people and, evidently, the palace guards.
When Jesus emphatically told them that streams of living water would flow from him, the people were divided on whether Jesus was the 'prophet' that Moses had told them would come to them and be one of them or was Jesus the Messiah? Many saw the prophet and Messiah as 2 distinct people instead of one.
The children of Israel were in a land where water meant a lot. It wasn't plentiful. In fact in Israel it only rains a few months each year. Israelites knew this. At the Temple there were 2 basins at the alter. One was for wine as offering to God and one was for water! Water was a symbol from Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles and the water the priests poured into the basin at the alter thanked God for His bounty and asked for enough water for crops the following year. Jesus used this symbol in John 7:37-38:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
(Deuteronomy 18:15 NIV)
On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "If you are thirsty, come to me! If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within."
(John 7:37-38 NLT)
Then there is talk among the people of the Messiah and where he would be from.
"For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born." So the crowd was divided in their opinion about him. And some wanted him arrested, but no one touched him.
The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. "Why didn't you bring him in?" they demanded.
"We have never heard anyone talk like this!" the guards responded.
"Have you been led astray, too?" the Pharisees mocked. "Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? These ignorant crowds do, but what do they know about it? A curse on them anyway!"
Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, then spoke up. "Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?" he asked.
They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself�no prophet ever comes from Galilee!"
(John 7:42-52 NLT)
Note the last reply: "Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself-no prophet ever comes from Galilee!"
They didn't remember Isaiah 9:
Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
(Isaiah 9:1 NLT)