My understanding is that the festival of Booths (i.e., Sukkot) in first-century, second temple Judaism was a seven-day harvest festival that included petitions for rain and sunlight (for better crop growth), which were connected ritually with practices such as libations of water and lighting menorahs (and/or lamps in the temple). I’m seeking sources to confirm (or correct) this information and to learn more about the specific practices, rites, liturgy, etc. within the first-century context.
This is connected specifically to my study of the gospel of John. In the beginning of chapter 7, Jesus went to Jerusalem to attend the festival of Booths. I think that on the last “great” day of the festival, when Jesus cried out about anyone thirsty coming to him (cf. 7:37-39), Jesus is connecting himself to the rainwater being prayed for in the harvest festival, and in 8:12 when he calls himself the “light of the world,” he is connecting himself to the sunlight being prayed for.1 In essence, John is using the water/light themes of the festival to point to Jesus as the true source of life/growth/harvest.2
I’m seeking additional sources to learn more about the festival as I study this possible interpretation.
1 Particularly since I don’t take 7:53-8:11 as original, in which case Jesus hadn’t yet left the festival and temple when he uttered his claim in 8:12 (he entered the temple in 7:14 and left in 8:59).
2 Not to mention some additional themes throughout the gospel. For example, I think water is connected in John to the river flowing in the garden of Eden around the tree of life that shows up again in Ezekiel’s vision of the eschatological temple and later in John’s Apocalypse in its final chapter.