On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 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.
Yesterday we closed with this thought: Here is Jesus, the ultimate cause of celebration, the provision of God. The Messiah is standing in their midst, and He is the fulfillment of this great feast, though they don't yet realize it.
Imagine what it would have been like, to hear that invitation from Jesus; imagine being there at the celebration, and hearing His words. He is not seated, as when He has been teaching, but is standing up and proclaiming His invitation to all. His voice is probably not soft, as when speaking to a few, but louder and full of emotion -- reaching out to the crowd. Would you have thought to yourself, "Who would dare to speak at this holy moment of our ceremony?"
Ah, but it's the Lord of Glory Who is speaking -- all of the ceremony points to Him, and it is all fulfilled in Him!
It's no wonder that some of the people respond as they do; they understand His claim. They know that only the Christ could make this claim.
"If anyone is thirsty . . ."
Who is He talking to?
No one is excluded.
So, everyone is included.
Have you ever been at the ocean and seen a person casting out one of those circular nets with weights around the edge? They throw it in such a way that they can pull on a cord and the net will close, trapping fish and other sea creatures inside it, and then they pull it in. Sometimes they get fish that they can clean and cook and eat. Sometimes they get something that doesn't seem usable, and it's thrown back into the sea.
God casts a very broad net when He calls people to Himself -- He says "anyone." God loves us all, and He has a way of taking common things and everyday people and confounding the folks who think themselves wise!
Remember in the Old Testament, when the prophet Samuel went to the house of Jesse? God told him he was going to anoint a king. The last person that anyone (including Samuel) saw as qualified for the calling was a young shepherd boy named David.
Moses told the Lord God that he couldn't speak well, but God used him to lead His people out of bondage and to deliver His Law to them.
Dwight L. Moody was a clerk in his uncle's shoe store, and could scarcely read well, but God saved him and used him to conduct great meetings where many souls were saved.
God sees things in people that others cannot see. And He loves what He sees. He "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (I Timothy 2:4)
God created us with a built in need for Him. Some say there's a "God-shaped hole inside of man" and that nothing else can even begin to fill it! We all have a thirst for God, and we long to know Him. It's that thirst that Jesus is addressing here.
How do we quench our thirst? What must we do?
Jesus is very specific as to how we should respond:
"come to me."There's only one place we can go, that will satisfy the thirst in our souls. Not to religion, not to human relationships, not drugs, alcohol, greed or materialism . . .
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Did this crowd, who heard this invitation, respond or reject Him?
They would later call for His crucifixion.
Israel had a history of turning to the wrong places, the wrong "watering holes" to quench their thirst. They looked to other gods and idols; they insisted on having a king; they indulged in every sin they could . . .
I Corinthians 10 lets us know that Israel's history is recorded for our benefit -- to warn us not to follow that example.
But we do.
We have our own sins, our own idols, our practices and puny, human efforts. But they don't fill that longing, that thirst.
Jesus is offering . . . Himself. He is our peace, our joy, our hope. He's provided everything that we need for life and godliness. We don't have to live a meager, miserable existence in spiritual poverty and depression. He is our limitless Resource. But we have to come to Him. All we have to do is want it bad enough to come to Christ and receive His gift.
Jesus didn't tell us to come after we'd tried everything else (although sometimes that is what we do). He didn't say come when you are good enough. He simply said "Come."
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:3)There is joy, peace and love available to all who will come.