Three Promises for Those Who Thirst at the Well.
Isaiah 55:1 New International Version (NIV)
Invitation to the Thirsty
55 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
God’s invitation to his great banquet cuts across ethnic and socioeconomic lines — to “everyone who thirsts” — and appeals to two groups: one has money and one does not.
To those who are thirsty and impoverished (Isaiah 55:1), come to the waters. And to those spending what they have on all the wrong things (Isaiah 55:2), listen to this offer, turn from your folly, and come to the waters. One group is spiritually poor and empty, and acknowledges it. The other is pretending as if human effort and expenditures can secure lasting satisfaction. Maybe even a third group had money, spent it poorly, and now has none.
Whatever the circumstances of the summoned, the good news in this great invitation is that God offers a true banquet to the human soul — and it is provided, remarkably, without a monetary price. But there is a price to pay!
The Gospel given by God and spoken by Jesus to His audience stated you must return to God and keep his commandments. That’s the price. You must turn from your wicked ways and return to God’s Way and for some people, especially rich ones, that’s more price than they can emotionally bear.
The true Gospel was not a story about the life and times of Jesus! It was this message he said he came to deliver. It’s extremely important for you to look through your 4-gospels and search to find this because your future depends upon doing as God commands us to do!
Free of Charge, at Great Cost
God offers his feast free of charge, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Providing such rich fare is costly, and that cost, as Isaiah has foretold, will be borne by God’s Servant (take a look at Isaiah 53:4–6, 12). This banquet, with its promise to truly satisfy, comes to all who are willing to admit their poverty and powerlessness, and come humbly to receive. Some of our world’s high and mighty cannot force themselves to become humble until they see God and by then it will be too late to rewrite their life’s story!
Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)
4Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Three times God beckons all who will hear, “Come.” Three times he entreats, “Listen.” He pours three promises for the thirsty: an everlasting covenant, a benevolent king, and finally himself (verses 3–5). And he compares this true satisfaction of soul he offers to the substance and sweetness of three beverages: water, milk, and wine.
Water for Life
First, God offers water, to quench the thirst of body and soul. “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.” He appeals to those with the most basic of human needs unmet, those dying from dehydration, to come receive the refreshment for which they pant.
For those wasting away of thirst in the desert, all they can think of is water. And so God’s offer begins with the most essential need: life. His water revives the faint. His water restores the weary. The good shepherd “leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2–3). This implies he restores both the body and the spirit that animates the body. (This is based on my own opinion of the correct definition of this word “soul” which is certainly debated.)
When God’s long-awaited Servant arrives on the scene, he will announce that the water he gives is “living water.” Not only will he quench our body’s thirst in the moment, but “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again and thus the soul is also satisfied. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). [Women are also included in this form of English usage.]
Milk for Strength
But our Lord and God not only offers life and refreshment. He will provide nourishment and strength to carry on doing His good work. We feed babies an endless diet of milk to help them grow, to give them the nutrients needed to develop and be healthy and stable.
A hungry newborn may try to latch onto anything close enough to its mouth. In Christ, God offers to gratify the appetite for such growth and goodness.
1 Peter 2:2-3 New International Version (NIV) 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2–3).
Our Lord not only gives us life but growth, health, stability, and strength.
Wine for Joy
Third, then, is the sparkling offer of wine. Throughout the Scriptures, wine is associated with joy (1 Chronicles 12:40; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 4:7; Isaiah 16:10; 22:13; 24:11; Jeremiah 48:33; Zechariah 10:7).
God made “wine to gladden the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15). Wine is a powerful image, an exhilarating beverage that is God’s idea — and like others of his best gifts, not without its serious and documented dangers in the hands of sinners. It’s difficult to abuse water. Some abuse milk (and cream). Many abuse wine. And yet God incurs the risk to make his point.
Wine, in all its perils and pleasantness, has something to tell us about the one who offers this feast. God’s offer of water, milk, and wine shows us not just the life he gives but the God he is. John Piper writes,
God is not just for emergencies and mountain peaks. He is teaching how to have a healthy body, a healthy family, a healthy community, a healthy society, a healthy world and finally your own grown-up spiritual life which leads to you becoming Like God!!!
When the world is finally at peace and God’s wisdom is heard and known to all the world’s people, we all will have peace, prosperity, and happy, healthy lives!
But that is not all we need in life. No matter how stoic, unemotional, phlegmatic, or casual and silly we may seem to be to others, there is a child inside of every one of us that God made for exhilaration — for shouting and singing and dancing and playing and skipping and running and jumping and laughing. . . .
God’s “living water will give us endless and ever-fresh exhilaration.
Alive, Strong, Exhilarated
When the poor and powerless incline their ear to this humbling and wonderful invitation and come, they find God is lavishly generous. He offers abundance, and his abundance demonstrates the largeness of his heart. And as he invites us to enjoy his bounty, he woos us to delight in his person.
Even now, in these difficult final years, he offers to refresh your soul. He offers to strengthen your heart in his Son. He offers to thrill your spirit in his Spirit.
Come to the only True and Living God and his Living Word to meet your physical and spiritual needs, quench your thirst, satisfy your longing and hunger, set your feet on a successful life path and make your future bright. But, understand right now, you must give yourself, your life to God. You can’t say you will and then continue attempting to control everything.
Can you imagine a marriage. The couple says, “I do” and then they don’t? She still wants to live her life apart and her way, and he still wants to be the playboy. It’s a disaster before the beginning! So, in the same way, you cannot say to God that you’ll accept His offer and then continue in your sinful ways. You must change to follow God’s Way! When you do, you’ll see that doors of better opportunity in the physical open to you, and new spiritual understandings come to you. Then, you’ll realize His promises are not empty. They are being fulfilled for you when the timing is right, and when you are ready to receive them.
“In that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk,
and all the streambeds of Judah
shall flow with water.” (Joel 3:18)
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