Summary: The salvation of God, a relationship with Him is free and available to anyone.
All who are thirsty
If you are using the KJV or a number of other versions of the Bible, you will see this word. It is an old and rough English translation of the Hebrew word "Hoy!" which in simple translation into today’s English means:
In NIV they have used the word "Come," but this does not convey the absolute, attention getting, feel of the actual idea:
The only purpose of the word is to get attention. It has no actual meaning, accept, "listen up, pay attention, look over here!" So ...
Hey! all you who are thirsty, come ... (Isaiah 55:1-3 TNIV)
A clear division can be seen between the first part of Isaiah (chapters 1–39) and the second part (chapters 40–66). It is possible that Isaiah compiled these two sections at two different times. For the second section, this passage is the climax.
Isaiah is telling about servants. He is going to great lengths to explain how Israel has been God’s servant. He takes it a step further and shows how a new Servant will come who will go further in serving God than Israel has been able to do. He also talks about how an open invitation is extended to all to be the servant of God.
This is the warmth of the invitation.
• Who can drink God’s water?
• Anyone who is thirsty
• Who can be fed on God’s incredible feast
• Anyone who is hungry, even the poor
Thirst is one of the driving forces of our existence. We tend to down play it, but a person can only live for three days without water.
Dr. William Stidger tells of a conversation with a Filipino man. He asked him, "What is the most useful thing that the Americans have contributed to the Philippines?"
The answer was, "The most wonderful thing that the Americans brought to us in the American occupation of our islands was the artesian well. That has saved our babies from death!"
"Thank God for water!" he said again. " I believe that I have uttered that prayer from the depths of my heart more times than I have uttered any other prayer in my life. You would know what it meant to us if you had been here from the beginning, as some of us have."
"I used to see mothers lean over with their brown babies on their hips, brush away the green scum from stagnant pools along the roads, and let their children drink from those pools of disease and death!"
"Didn’t they know better?" He said.
"They had no better. It wasn’t a matter of knowing any better. See how they use these artesian wells, now that they have them."
Dr. Stidger continues: "He didn’t need to call that to my attention. It was wonderfully apparent. I stood one entire morning photographing people as they came to these wells up in Molodolos. It was one of the most thrilling mornings I ever put in. I saw the miracle of water in action." (2500 Best Modern Illustrations)
What could be a more welcome invitation? What could be kinder than to offer water to a thirsty child or free food to a poor woman? And not just food, fine food, food that nourishes and satisfies.
The smartest beggar I ever met
Dawn and I went to a nice Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, Philadelphia. It was a place we had eaten before when we were working a banquet, and it was so good we wanted to try it again when we were at leisure to order whatever we wanted.
As is almost always the case, when Dawn eats at a Chinese restaurant, she ordered shrimp. As is also often the case at a very good restaurant, they brought her more than she could eat, so we took the rest with us in a doggie bag.
As we left the restaurant, a man sitting on the curb across the street looked up at us and came up to us in a very friendly and non-threatening way. He said,
I am very hungry, could I have your leftovers?
Now here was a man in legitimate need who knew what he was doing. He did not ask for money. If you are like me, you don’t give money directly to beggars, especially in the city where drugs and alcohol are easily available. He also chose a good spot to get what he needed, a restaurant district, near several good places. He also asked for something that we could clearly do without. We had already eaten and were satisfied. Whatever we had eaten was so good that we were taking it along with us, so there was no danger of getting something particularly distasteful. It was packaged carefully, not thrown in a dumpster.