Satisfying Our Spiritual Thirst

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 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. (John 7:37-39)

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 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. -Isaiah 55:6-7

Grabbing the attention of His hearers on the most important day of the Feast, Jesus loudly proclaims a wide and full and free invitation to all mankind–establishing with certainty the gospel as being eminently wonderful news. I am reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s words:

“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. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

Apart from Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, mankind remains spiritually thirsty, anxious of soul, in need of pardon before a Holy God, and longing for a lasting peace. God’s perfect law convicts us of our sin. We are in a hopeless state. No one possesses the ability to be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law, for apart from Jesus, we all remain helpless. We will always be found wanting. Paul tells us:

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
-Romans 3:20

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

The Jews were all too familiar with their lack of ability. The sacrificial system served as a constant reminder. God had warned His people through the prophet Jeremiah that they had forsaken Him, the Spring of Living Water and had dug their own pathetic broken cisterns. They had replaced the one true God with false idols which could never satisfy nor meet their needs:

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

When we come to the realization of our sinful state, it is then that we desire the help and relief that comes through forgiveness. This is the idea behind Jesus’ choice of the word “thirsty.” Who has not been thirsty? Who has not been parched and desirous of having their thirst quenched? What we perhaps know all too well in the physical realm, Jesus relates to a spiritual truth. Unfortunately, we often seek to quench our spiritual thirst with almost everything but the Living Water! From money to pleasure to honor to prestige to self indulgence –there is no limit to man’s chase for satisfaction or the careless handling of their own souls. We seem to go to great lengths not to pursue what ultimately satisfies. Jesus tells us:

To feel the sinfulness of sin and to thirst, and really to come to Christ and believe, are the two steps which lead to heaven. But they are mighty steps. Thousands are too proud and careless to take them. Few, alas, think; and still fewer believe!”
-J. C. Ryle

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.(Matthew 5:6)

Take It to Heart

Isaiah prophesized:

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

Peace is only to be had in Christ Jesus who serves as our mediator and substitute. To come to Christ is to believe in Him and to be filled with Him.