What do you reach for when you are thirsty? Your answer may reveal where you live. Is it sweet tea? Welcome to the south! Do you get a “soda” or a “pop”? Years ago I discovered that there are parts of the country that call every type of soda “Coke”. Speaking for this Yankee, that is super confusing. For a lot of us, the day can’t even start until we’ve had that first-in-the-morning mug of hot coffee. A few Sundays ago, I watched a friend react to a sermon where the preacher talked about giving up coffee for Lent. She looked like a giant rat had just run across her feet. I shared in her horror.
Our beautiful passage today comes from Isaiah. Isaiah is my favorite book in the Bible, and this Scripture is one of the reasons I love it so much. It is lush in imagery, full of hope, rich in content, and offers a bottomless cup of cool water to our parched souls today:
Isaiah 55 (New International Version)
“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.
The invitation is to come and partake of the waters that the Lord is offering. Jesus may have been referencing this passage in John 7 when he said “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” It makes sense that we are invited to buy wine and milk at no cost … Jesus has already paid the price. He offers us the waters of salvation, wholeness, forgiveness, and LIFE.
2 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 you will delight in the richest of fare.
Isaiah reminds us that too often we thirst after things that can never satisfy. Wealth. Status. Popularity. Beauty. Power. God offers us the richest of fare if we come thirsting after his righteousness. Will we accept?
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Isaiah reminds Israel that they have thirsted after the wrong things in their pursuit of unholy allies. The better alliance is found with the Lord, who endows Israel with splendor.
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
In the end, we have to remember that God knows what we need and he will provide for us. But we need to hunger and thirst only for him … otherwise, we will continue to fill ourselves up with the empty calories of worldly living.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
What do you thirst after today? Be sure to drink a cup of Jesus. What a blessing it is to know that when we seek the Lord, he will be found. God is near to us when we call out for him. Do you need his help? Call out! God will hear you and respond with mercy and pardon.
Jesus invites us to come to the waters, where we will never be thirsty again.