The Thirst of Humanity Anticipated and Met
John 7:37-52
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink.…

On the last day of the feast of tabernacles the priests stood near the altar and poured water over it copiously from large capacious vessels. Perhaps the day took its name "the great day" from that circumstance. It was a symbolical act intended to connect itself with the predictions that in the days of the Messiah God would pour out His Spirit, and was something like a prayer that they might live to see those days and share that blessing. It was our Lord's custom to connect His teaching with occurrences before Him, and so, perhaps pointing to that act, He said, "If any man," etc., proclaiming His Messiahship.

I. HUMANITY IS THE .SUBJECT OF INTENSE SPIRITUAL DESIRES. We know how intense the animal appetite of "thirst" may become. How terrible it has been in the burning desert or the besieged city i That is here taken to indicate the character of spiritual desire, and is an ordinary rhetorical figure used by our poets and philosophers when they speak of the thirst of gold, ambition, etc. But Christ offers no drink for the appetites or passions.

1. There is the thirst of the intellect — the desire for truth. It is very wonderful how soon the mind of a child will begin to speculate about the mystery of life, of death, of God, and the soul.

2. There is the thirst of conscience in two forms.

(1) There is the consciousness of moral weakness. A man feels the moral obligation he is under, sees the beauty of duty, has a conviction of right, but a sense of infirmity of purpose — makes his strong resolutions and scatters them the next day. And so the moral nature thirsts for strength to perform.

(2) The conscience is burdened by a sense of sin, and yearns for its forgiveness and removal. This has given rise to priests. The people create the priests. No priesthood ever yet originated itself for the purpose of trampling on the people.

3. There is the thirst of the heart: not merely a desire for happiness. You are made for something greater than that. There is a thirst in looking at the dislocation of things around us. What tears of soul bereavement and pain let out the waters of bitterness in times of darkness I So the soul wants something to rest upon, to feel that we are not in a neglected and fatherless world.


1. Christianity professes to be a revelation of spiritual truth. It interprets nature and adds communications of its own about all that it is necessary for us to know.

2. Christianity meets the thirst of conscience in a special way.

(1) By the revelation of the Person of Christ. The gospel does not come as a system of thought, nor are its preachers philosophers; it presents a Saviour, through whom we may obtain forgiveness of sins.

(2) Connected with this is the mission of the Spirit to renew, to strengthen the will, to purify the affections, to make duty a delight, and bring the whole man into harmony with duty and God (Romans 8:3-4).

3. Christianity meets the thirst of the heart by providing a large measure of rational and manly happiness, and that in two ways.

(1) By the life of faith — faith as a daily habit, looking to God in all things; and along with that it gives spiritual consolation and grace.

(2) By the character it creates and sustains, delivering us from the torments which attend passion, sin, disharmony with God.

III. CHRIST NOT ONLY MEETS THE THIRST OF HUMANITY, BUT IS URGENT TO MEET IT. "Let Him come." Do not mystify yourselves with the metaphysics of the Divine decrees. Take Christ in His plain utterances and remember that secret things belong unto God. He says, "if any man will, let Him come" — believe in His honesty of purpose, and that He means what He says, "It is not the will of my Father that one of these little ones should perish." "You may perish, but that will be from your own acts, not God's."


(T. Binney.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

WEB: Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink!

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