Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat…
This well-known and much-used verse is the model of gospel invitations. "Ho!" as to persons at a distance; beyond the pale, according to Jewish thought. "Wine," that cheers; "water," that refreshes; "milk," that nourishes. "Buy without money" impresses the worth, as well as the freeness, of the thing obtained.
I. THE CRY OF SOULS IS SO VARIED, THEY NEED LARGE AND COMPREHENSIVE INVITATIONS. So various, so large, so intense, so immediate, so urgent.
1. Think of the cry of creation to God, rising day and night for precise blessings, from the world of vegetable and animal life.
2. Then think of the cry of man's bodily nature. How complex are its demands if it is to be kept in vigour! But souls are altogether more wonderful, more mysterious, than bodies, and body-needs do but suggest and illustrate soul-needs. What is the cry of all souls? What is the cry of some souls? It is impossible to press the cries of souls into any one mould. There is difference between men's cry and women's cry; between the cry of the shallow and of the thoughtful; between the cry of the educated and uneducated; between the cry of the moral and the profligate. And yet there is one word in which the deep want of all men everywhere can be expressed - they want God, though so many do not know his Name, or cannot articulate it. If we carefully distinguish the cries of men, we may say,
(1) some cry for light amid the dark perplexities of our time;
(2) some for guidance amid difficulties;
(3) some for earnestness amid frivolities;
(4) some for pardon under pressure of the sense of sin;
(5) some for truth amid the allurements of error; and
(6) some for rest from the weariness of toil and failure; and
(7) some for comfort under woes that press heavily.
What a cry that must be which enters into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth!
IX. NONE BUT GOD CAN MAKE INVITATIONS LARGE ENOUGH AND VARIED ENOUGH, TO MEET THE CRIES. The cry for happiness is too big for the world to meet; the cry for truth is beyond all the skill of science to satisfy. "The fountains of this earth are dried, and I am thirsty still."
1. Human conscience cries for pardon. In Christ is proclaimed "forgiveness of sins."
2. Human affection cries for love. It may spend its uttermost and best on Christ, and be fully satisfied with his response.
3. Human intellect cries for truth. Jesus, by his Spirit, leads into a]! truth.
4. Human will cries for a supreme authority. And Christ is Lord. For every want we can translate into a cry, Christ is the Supply. For every want we can feel, but cannot translate into a cry, Christ is still the infinitely adapted and all-satisfying Supply. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.