05/03/97 and 08/31/08
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The Greek word for water is “hudor” (), from which we get our English prefix “hydro.” Thus, a hydro-electric dam is a place where water power is turned into electricity. To a desert people such as those of the Middle East, water represents life. In the Bible, it often represents spiritual life. Without this this water of Jesus Christ, we are totally ruined and undone. Spiritually speaking, we are lost in a desert. We wander in the harsh, dry wilderness of the world and find no comfort for our souls. Is there then no hope for us? Must our souls shrivel up and die far from God? No, for the verse declares that we have a fountain.
It is the fountain of the Son of God. By his death, he descended to the lowest depth, and broke a passage by which the grace of God may well up and overflow to quench the thirst of dying souls. The Son has commanded that this fountain shall flow freely. He has removed the rocks and mud that kept it back. He has now ascended on high. He sits at the right hand of God and makes certain that his fountain shall never cease to flow.
The water of this fountain is living water because it saves from death. The most horrible truth that anyone can ever learn is that we are all sinners doomed to the second death in the lake of fire. Thus, we cannot rejoice in the presence of our creator; rather, we stand before God knowing that we are lost.
What joy it is to our ears then when our Lord says to us, “Come.” Jesus says, “Come to me all of you who know that you are sinners.” He says, “Come and drink of the water that I will give you, for this water can wash away your sins.” This water can purge us from the blackness of sin and make us whiter than driven snow.
This is the water of life for the soul because this water brings pardon, and pardon is the condition of the soul’s life in God. Unpardoned we die; we perish; we sink to the depths of hell. Pardoned we live, we rise, we ascend to the heights of heaven.
Here then is life indeed. Here is favor, grace, and love. Do you have within you some longing that the world cannot satisfy? Have you sought the pleasures of this world and the rewards of this world and found them lacking? Come and drink of the living water of Jesus Christ, and you shall be satisfied. You will find enough in Jesus both now and forever. For Christians, the world is not a boring, dull, tiresome place. Christians are not people whose days are weary and whose nights are long. Rather, they are people who find in Jesus Christ such a spring of joy, such a fountain of consolation, that they are content wherever they may be.
I can honestly say, from my own experience in Jesus, that there is something in this water of Christ that I would not change for all the world. I never knew what happiness was until I knew Jesus. I thought I did. I thought I was happy, but once I tasted the savior’s love I realized what true happiness is.
Now some Christians, having been forgiven of their past sins, worry that they may sin again and lose their salvation. That is a kind of works salvation. They think their salvation depends upon them not sinning. That is a misunderstanding of the water of life. This is the living water of God’s everlasting love. It will quench our thirst for sin. Entering into our souls, it will overcome our desire to commit sin. It cover those evil desires at first, later, it will drown them, and at last, it will utterly carry them away. This fountain of gospel grace can so wash our hearts that we no longer love sin. Rather, we love Jesus so much that we strive everyday for a closer communion with him.
Furthermore, those who drink of this living water never die. Their bodies see corruption, but their souls rise up to heaven to be with Christ, and they walk in majesty and glory with the Lord.
That is good news, and notice to whom this good news is addressed: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This is a universal invitation, which is offered to every sinner of every kind and every stripe. The one question I must ask of you then is: Are you willing? If so, Jesus offers you the water of life.
Now someone will say, “Well, I do not really understand the Bible and theology,” but understanding is not a condition to receiving the water of life. You do not need a degree in theology, you do not need to be a Bible scholar. If you are willing to come to Jesus, he is willing to accept you. It does not say, “Whosoever understandeth let him come.” It says, “Whosoever will.”
Many people, when they first come to Jesus have little understanding of the way and the spirit, but they still come. The Holy Spirit makes them willing to come, so they come, and they are saved. After that, they may grow in grace and learn about spiritual things, but that comes later.
Then there was a woman who said she did not know if she could be saved because she could not cry and grieve over her sins. She felt that she was really a great sinner, and she felt that she ought to weep about her great sins, but she did not cry, and so she felt that something was wrong, but notice the invitation is not for “whosoever sheds real tears.” It is for “whosoever wills.” Are you willing? Then tears or no tears, you are saved.
There was a man who thought also that he was a great sinner. He said, “My sins are too many and too great to be forgiven.” I do not know what his sins were, but I know that the Scripture does not say, “Whosoever has been very very good all their lives.” It says, “Whosoever wills.”
Are you willing? This question is addressed to you personally. Are you willing to forsake sin? Are you willing to take Jesus Christ to be your master from this day forth and forever? Are you willing to escape hell and come home to heaven? If so, then no matter how worthless or bad or undeserving you think you are, you are invited this day to drink of the water of life.
Of course, the devil likes to use hindrances of one kind or another to prevent people from accepting this living water. Anything that prevents a sinner from accepting Jesus comes from the devil. No matter how plausible or reasonable it may seem, if it prevents a sinner from drinking the water of life, it is from the devil.
The devil uses people to hinder other people from serving Jesus, but if God is willing to accept sinners are they are, it follows that no person should hinder them. No one should add what God has not added. God has made his invitation as wide as possible. Ministers then should present the invitation in the same way. We have no right to say to anyone, “You are dead in your sins, you cannot be saved.” God has not revealed to the human mind who will be saved, and so we present the gospel to everyone, and “whosoever wills” let that person come.
I went to a meeting once where they had a door prize. At the conclusion of the meeting, they read out the winning number, and a woman won the prize. There must have been a thousand people there, and as you might guess this woman was at the very back; however, she held up her ticket, and said, “I won, I won, let me through,” and people cleared a way for her and in a matter of minutes, she made it through and claimed her prize.
Two lessons stand out in this little story. The people were willing to let her through. We should make certain that we are not hindrances to sinners seeking to get through to Jesus. This reminds me of an old saying of my father’s. He would say, “If you are not working, at least get out of the way.” And so we should get out of the way of those who are seeking the Lord.
The second lesson is: If we will seek Jesus half so willingly as that woman sought her prize, then no obstacle or hindrance can stop us.
In the book of Exodus, when Moses fled Egypt to escape the wrath of Pharaoh, he came to a well in the land of Midian. He saw there the daughters of Jethro bringing the sheep of their father to the well for water. But a gang of thugs prevented the daughters from getting to the well. Moses was outraged by this. He went forth and drove off the gang and watered the sheep. We are the sheep, and Moses represents Jesus. The lesson is that if we are willing to drink of the water of life, Jesus will drive away all hindrances and obstacles, and we will be saved.
But let us return to our verse. It says that we are to take this water “freely.” God has set no conditions on his grace. This is almost too much for us. The human reaction is to say, “I want to be saved, and therefore I will do all I can to be worthy of being saved.” We think that is the way God ought to do it, and it boggles our mind that God has not done it that way. We think that we ought to be allowed to buy ourselves into heaven. Oh, not with money of course, but we think that by thinking good thoughts and doing good deeds and saying good words, that somehow we are going to become worthy of heaven.
In one form or another, this is what all the other religions teach. Judaism says keep the law, and God will accept you. Islam says pray and fast and give alms and make your pilgrimage to Mecca, and God will accept you. Hinduism and Buddhism teach that you should live a good life so that you can be reincarnated into a better life the next time around. They are all religions of works. They are all ways of justifying ourselves before God. Christianity is unique in that Christianity says that we cannot justify ourselves, but God will justify us through Jesus Christ.
We cannot set certain conditions and say when I have met these conditions, I am a righteous person. That is what we would like to do because that strokes our ego. It says we are, or can be, pretty good folks. But the Bible says that perfect holy God is the only standard for entry into heaven, and we are not perfectly nor holy, none of us. Nevertheless, God has chosen, through Jesus, to attribute his holiness and righteousness to us, and thus to accept us anyway. We cannot buy his acceptance. He accepts us for free.
This sort of reminds me of a public water fountain. When we come to drink at a public fountain, we do not take out our money, and says, “How much do I owe for this?” Of course not. It is free. Anyone who wishes, however poor or however rich, may drink there. The only people who are prevented from drinking are those great ladies and gentlemen who are so bound up in their pride that they consider it beneath themselves to drink at a public fountain. They may be very thirsty, but they are not going to be so vulgar as to drink from a common water fountain. And so they continue to thirst, because they are not willing to drink.
The fountain of Jesus is the same. Many people are so bound up in their pride that they cannot come to Jesus. The water of life is offered freely and the scripture says, “Whosoever wills shall have it,” but they do not will to have it, and so they do not have it.
Let us conclude then. You have heard God’s invitation. Will you accept it? If you chose not to drink of the water offered to you by Jesus, then you will end in the lake of fire, where not one drop of water will cool your tongue. If you would be delivered from that end, then I urge you now to turn back to God and accept the salvation that he so graciously offers. Jesus Christ says, “Come.” What do you say?
If you have questions or comments, email Tony Grant
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