The Bible begins with “the Spirit of God hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2) and concludes with the Holy Spirit inviting those who are thirsty to receive “the water of life.”
The Apostle John writes, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).
The Scottish Baptist minister Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910) wrote, “The last verses of this last book of Scripture are like the final movement of some great concerto, in which we hear all the instruments of the orchestra swelling the flood of triumph.”
MacLaren adds: “Christ delays his coming … that all the world may hear his gracious invitation.”
This loving offer goes out from the Holy Spirit, who extends it through Christ’s bride, the Church, which is the worldwide body of believers in Jesus (see Ephesians 5:31-32).
No invitation can even begin to compare with what God offers to all who are thirsty. Sadly, many do not thirst for the Lord's free gift of the water of life. They have no desire for it. They see no need for it. And so, they go on chasing after the things of the world, while being oblivious to the condition of their soul and the horror that awaits all who reject the Savior’s kind invitation.
Man assumes that nothing of any value could actually be free of charge. What man by nature fails to understand is that it cost the Father the brutal and agonizing death of His only Son in order to make the “indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15) available to us. And Jesus “endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2) so that sinners like you and I could be saved and live with God forever in Heaven.
Sadly, many people do not realize how much their soul desperately needs God’s water of life. MacLaren comments: “When a man is thirsty, he knows that he is. But it is quite possible that your soul’s lips may be cracking and black with thirst, and you may be unconscious of it.”
Does that describe you my friend? Are you unaware that your soul is cracking and black with thirst? Are you unconscious of your need for Christ? Perhaps you are too distracted by the sins of others to consider the serious nature of your own spiritual condition.
The 19th-century evangelist D.L. Moody observed how some people justify their rejection of Christ:
“‘I won’t accept this invitation because of those hypocrites in the churches.’ My friend, you will find very few there if you get to Heaven. There won’t be a hypocrite in the next world, and if you don’t want to be associated with hypocrites in the next world, you will take this invitation. Why, you will find hypocrites everywhere. One of the apostles was himself the very prince of hypocrites, but he didn’t get to Heaven. You will find plenty of hypocrites in the church. They have been there for the last 1,800 years, and will probably remain there. But what is that to you? This is an individual matter between you and your God.”
Many unbelievers go to their grave justifying their rejection of Christ because of the sins of others. They make the tragic decision to reject the free gift of everlasting life in Heaven after observing people who do not practice what they preach. I suspect you know exactly what I mean. Many people in Hell today allowed themselves to be terribly distracted while on Earth by those who were not living up to the Savior’s call. But why should you miss out on Heaven just because some people say one thing and do another?
If you have been focused on the sins of others, it is time to “fix your thoughts on Jesus” (Hebrews 3:1). Only Christ can forgive your sins and save your soul. But if you remain obsessed with the sins of others, you will miss out on what Jesus would have gladly given you if only you had repented of your sins and believed the good news of the Gospel.
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
This free gift has been accepted by millions of believers but rejected by millions of unbelievers. No one who rejects Jesus and the free gift of salvation has any idea what they are passing up. If they did, they would immediately run into the arms of the Savior. They would believe in Jesus and begin to drink the living water that only God can provide for man’s thirsty soul.
Jesus said, “If a man 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” (John 7:37).
A Slovakian proverb states: “Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” And that fact is multiplied exponentially when it comes to medicine for the soul. The only water that can heal your soul is God’s living water.
Those who gain a thirst for God can relate to Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
Many people deprive themselves of spiritual strength by not turning to Scripture. Likewise, many people deprive themselves of eternal salvation by not accepting God’s invitation to drink the Lord’s living water and be saved.
Will you insist on rejecting God’s offer, or will you humble yourself and come to the Lord today? Will you repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Savior? Come and “take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17). If you do, your soul will be satisfied today, tomorrow and forever.
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.