Summary: The food and drink of a relationship with God are offered to all. They have to be bought but God has paid for it all himself through the ministry of Jesus. So, come, you who are thirsty!
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!” (55:1).
When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris after WWI with some of his Arab friends, he showed them the wonderful sights of the city; but do you know what impressed them the most? The taps in the hotel bathtub… They spent much of their time turning the taps on and off, on and off. They were amazed that they could get all the water they wanted with just the turn of a knob… As they were preparing to leave the hotel & return to the East, Lawrence found his friends in the bathroom with wrenches trying to disconnect the taps… They thought if they took the taps home with them, they would have all the water they wanted. Lawrence had to explain to them that it wasn’t the taps that provided the water; it was the massive reservoirs to which they were attached.
So it is with the living water that Jesus promised. Unless we’re connected to HIM …simply going through some sort of spiritual motions will not get us anywhere!
In the prophecy of Isaiah the offer of salvation is extended to all people everywhere. The offer of a thirst-quenching (55:1), hunger-satisfying (55:2) banquet that is not just bread and water but also the richest of fare (55:2) is on offer to every person – male and female, young and old, regardless of your country of origin (55:5), and regardless of your past, however chequered your history may be (55:6). This prophecy was written about 700 years before the birth of Jesus; but it points wonderfully to his coming, his birth, his ministry, his teaching, his message and his sacrificial death. The prophecy of Isaiah is very relevant to the 21st century, calling humankind to find satisfaction, fulfilment, spiritual nourishment, mercy and forgiveness from the Lord – from God (55:7).
The offer of water, wine, milk and the richest fare is made – and to those without money the offer stands. Isaiah says, “Come, [and] buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (55:1). The food of heaven has to be bought but the price and the cost have been paid and covered by God himself.
When I go to see my Grandma in Windsor on the train I have to buy a ticket; but the transaction is always without cost to me, because my Grandma not only lays on a fantastic lunch when I go to see her, but she always pays for my train fare. God offers us the riches of his kingdom, including spiritual food and drink that will satisfy us, and he pays for it all Himself. The riches of heaven have been won, bought and paid for by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
So, come, all you who are thirsty for meaning in your life, for tasks to complete day by day that will satisfy, for a covenant relationship with God himself (55:3).
“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (55:7). Repentance means turning away from words and actions that are offensive, turning away from thoughts that are wrong in the eyes of God, turning away from them and turning towards God. It is a 180 degree turn away from sin and towards God’s ways for us. We may need to do that about turn many times a day but it is always accompanied by a promise of pardon. And God pardons us for the things we find hard to forgive. The things we have done and said that we are deeply ashamed of – God offers mercy and a free pardon; and for the things others have done, however extreme or severe – where there is repentance, turning away from sin and turning towards God, the promise of forgiveness holds completely true for the worst of offences, because his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways, thank God (55:8). Let’s pray!