Water for the Thirsty

sb-logo-rfpaFrom the September 15, 2019 issue of the Standard Bearer comes these precious, sovereign grace gospel thoughts from the meditation by Rev. James Slopsema based on Isaiah 55:1, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

Isaiah is speaking about those that thirst for the waters of salvation. We all have need of the waters of salvation. In Adam we all fell so that we are hopelessly lost in sin, headed for eternal destruction. Without the water of salvation in Jesus Christ we will most certainly perish. However, many do not see their need for this water, do not thirst for it and, in fact, despise it. This fact is evident from Isaiah’s rebuke to Judah immediately after the call to the thirsty to come to the water of life. “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?” (Isaiah 55:2) Here Isaiah expands on the idea of water to include also the bread of life. In Judah there were those that labored for and spent their money not in the pursuit of the water and bread of life but on that which satisfied not, namely, the pleasures of this world. This is due to the depravity of sin. It blinds a person to his real needs.

One thirsts for the water of salvation only when God works faith in the heart of a person. Faith gives one eyes to see the reality of sin and the need for the water of salvation. In that faith one also thirsts for these waters.

But those that thirst for the waters of salvation have no money to buy it. Those that bought water from the vendors in Bible lands needed money. The vendors were in business to make money. Without money you could not have their water. But we have no money to purchase the water of salvation. In our fallen state we are spiritually bankrupt and are not capable to purchasing the water of salvation. Neither our money nor our works are sufficient to purchase the water of salvation. Nor are we deserving of it anyway. We deserve to perish in our sin. Those that have the thirst of faith see this clearly. Many think they can earn or merit the salvation of God by their works and efforts. Others think they are deserving of the water of God’s salvation because of their birth, their baptism, or membership in the church. But those that have faith see that they have nothing with which to purchase the water of salvation. They thirst for it. But they are deeply aware that they can bring nothing to God to purchase it.

The call of God!

The Lord calls to these thirsty, bankrupt souls to come anyway to buy water without price.

To buy something without money or price means to receive it free.

Certainly the waters of salvation have a price. In fact, the price is very high. The price of the waters of salvation is twofold. There must be a bearing away of the terrible wrath of God against sin. And there must be a perfect obedience rendered to God that meets His approval. Since we are not able to pay this price, God did it for His people in Jesus Christ. He caused Jesus Christ to bear away the full penalty of sin all His life long but especially at the cross. And during it all Jesus walked in the perfect obedience we did not and could not. In this way God has purchased and secured the waters of salvation for His elect people.

And He freely gives this precious water to His people. He calls out to His people in their thirst to come to Him to receive the waters of salvation freely, without money and without price. This is a call to acknowledge one’s sin and need for the waters of salvation. It is a call to acknowledge that one has nothing with which to pay. It is a call to seek the waters of salvation only on the basis of the perfect work of Jesus Christ.

This is God’s call to all who are thirsty. And this call is effective. It is by this call that God creates faith and thirst in the hearts and lives of His people. And it is by this call that He also brings the thirsty believer to the waters of salvation that are Jesus Christ. And as they come in faith to Him, the Lord gives freely of the waters of salvation. Freely He forgives all their sins. Graciously He strengthens them to turn from sin to the living God in loving obedience. Tenderly He cares for and preserves them as they pass through the valley of the shadow of death. Most amazingly He draws near to them in His loving friendship and fellowship.

Ho, every one that thirsteth!

Come ye to the waters!

You have no money? Come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price! God has already secured it for you in Jesus Christ!

For more information on this Reformed periodical, visit the link at the beginning of this post.