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.…
I. MAN AS A THIRSTY CREATURE. Every man thirsts.
1. Constitutionally. Not as accidentally excited, but as made by God to thirst. It is in our nature to thirst.
(1) For life. In deep sorrow we may cry, "O that Thou wouldst hide me in the grave!" In unrest we may say, "I would not live alway." With heaven opened, we may desire to depart and be with Christ. But Satan spake truly, "All that a man hath will he give for his life."(2) For pleasure; according to our idea of felicity and our capacity for bliss. Man is not naturally a lover of misery.
(3) For activity. Men are net naturally lazy.
(4) For society. The results of the solitary system in our prisons show that the desire for association is constitutional.
(5) For knowledge. The subjects upon which we seek information vary; but all men desire to know.
(6) For power, from the moment in which we seize and shake the rattle to the hour in which we dispose of our property.
(7) For the esteem and love of others.
(8) For the possession of objects of beauty.
(9) For God. That this thirst is natural is proved by the fact that religion of some kind is universal. There is not a nation of Atheists.
2. There are derived thirsts, dependent upon the particular condition of the individual, and grafted on the natural thirst. Thus a desire for wealth may arise from a thirst for enjoyment, or power, or honour, or social connections. A thirst for freedom may arise from desire for activity, and for religious unity by desire for religious enjoyment. Any natural thirst creates others.
3. The natural, and many of the artificial, thirsts would have existed had man kept his first estate; but the entrance of sin has produced depraved thirsts. Sin itself is a morbid thirst, and actual sin is the offspring of such thirst (James 1:14, 15). Covetousness, envy, etc., are depraved thirsts.
4. The return of man to God and his salvation by Christ involve new thirsts. There is the thirst —
(1) Of the quickened spirit for particular religious knowledge.
(2) Of the penitent for pardon.
(3) Of the new born for righteousness.
(4) Of the child of God for being filled with all the fulness of God.
5. There are a few facts connected with these thirsts that we may not overlook.
(1) Those thirsts which are natural cannot be evil in themselves; and those which, being artificial, are lawful expansions of the natural are equally good.
(2) The influence of our thirsts is most extensive and important. In some cases our thirst is a ruling passion; but in all cases they govern thought, prompt the imagination, affect the judgment, awaken or quiet the emotions, guide the will, lead to action, and form our characters.
(3) Most potent, therefore, are they. A man is raised or cast down, destroyed or built up by his thirsts.
(4) When a man is sick, he needs not medicine irrespective of its nature, but the specific for his particular disease. Poisoned food is more dangerous than continued hunger. He is blessed, not whose thirsts are for the moment slaked, but whose thirsts are slaked at Divine fountains.
II. JESUS CHRIST AS THE FOUNTAIN OF SUPPLY. Take the invitation in connection —
1. With our lawful natural thirsts. We thirst —
(1) For continued life, and Jesus says, "Come unto Me and drink" (1 Corinthians 15:21-22; John 11:25, 26).
(2) For activity, and Jesus says, "Come," etc. (John 14:12).
(3) For enjoyment, and Christ gives joy in every gift, and promises it in every promise, and makes every duty its instrument (Matthew 5:1-8; John 16:24; 1 Peter 1:8).
(4) For power, and Jesus makes His disciples the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and kings and priests unto God.
(5) For society, and Christ satisfies it (Hebrews 12:22, 231.
(6) For the love of others, and Christ directs streams of kindness to every one who comes to Him by means of His new commandment (John 13:34, 35).
(7) For knowledge, and Jesus is Himself the Truth, in the knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life (John 17:3).
(8) For God, and He manifests God's name to us, and shows us the Father.
2. If we here speak of depraved tastes, it must be to say that they who thirst morbidly cannot come to Christ and drink; but they may come to Him and be cured of their evil craving. As the thirst of a fever may be removed by a physician, so sinful thirsts may be removed by our Saviour.
3. The thirsts of the returning prodigal and repentant sinner are specially recognized in these words (Psalm 51:1, 8, 9; Luke 18:18; Mark 2:5; Mark 5:34; John 8:11).
4. All the thirsts of the God-born spirit are here recognized.Conclusion: From these words —
1. We might preach humanity, and show what is in man. We might exhibit him as a dependent, receptive, desiring being; that he is not like his Maker, self-sufficient.
2. But we will rather preach Christ. Here we see —
(1) The know. ledge which He had of human nature. He knew the thirsts of the multitude in whose midst He spake.
(2) His recognition of all that pertains to man. His words and works meet most entirely all human needs. They are not like flowers given to the starving,.or gauze raiment to the naked in winter; but like bread to the hungry and clothes to the beggar.
(3) But what must be the resources of one who is justified in speaking thus? Can any individual be a fountain of supply to every man? There is One continually named by the sacred writers who is a Sun, Fire, Door, Rock, Bread, Fountain. To Him, who can be represented by these figures, any man may surely come and drink. No creature imparts all, or even many, kinds of good; but God is the spring of all that is beneficial, and Christ is the manifested God. To how few of our thirsty fellows can any of us say, "Come to me and drink"? But Jesus says that, and standing in the centre of all time, as in the midst of all men. Did we need proof of the Deity of Jesus Christ we have it here.
(4) But what shall we say of His love? "Any man." The man may be Atheist or idolater, broken-hearted because all his cisterns are broken, be conscious that he deserves only to die with thirst; yet Jesus means him.
(5) But the thirsty have to come. The sole condition is coming, and the only limit to the ministrations of the Saviour is our receptivity.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.