The Great Proclamation
Isaiah 55:1-13
Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat…

I. TO WHOM THIS OFFER IS MAKE. It is to every one thirsty and penniless. That is a melancholy combination, to be needing something infinitely, and to have not a farthing to get it with. But that is the condition in which we all stand, in regard of the highest and best things.

1. "Every one that thirsteth." That means desire. But it means need also. And what is every man but a great bundle of yearnings and necessities? There are thirsts which infallibly point to their true objects. If a man is hungry, he knows that it is food that he wants. We have social instincts; we need love; we need friendship; we need somebody to lean upon; we thirst for some breast to rest our heads upon, for hands to clasp ours; and we know where the creatures and the objects are that will satisfy these desires. And there are higher thirsts of the spirit, and a man knows where and how to gratify the impulse that drives him to seek aider some forms of knowledge and wisdom. But besides all these there come in a whole set of other thirsts that do not in themselves carry the intimation of the place where they can be. slaked. And so you get men restless, dissatisfied, feeling that there is something wanting, yet not knowing what. You remember the old story in the "Arabian Nights," of the man who had a grand palace, and lived in it quite contentedly, until somebody told him that he needed a roc's egg hanging from. the roof to make it complete, and he did not know where to get that, and was miserable accordingly. We build our houses, we fancy that we are satisfied; and then there comes the stinging thought that it is not all complete yet, and we go groping in the dark, to find out what it is. Do you know what it is that you want? It is God! Nothing else, nothing less. There are dormant thirsts. It is no proof of superiority that a savage has fewer wants than you and I have, for the want is the open mouth into which supply comes. And it is no proof that you have not, deep in your nature, desires which unless they are awakened and settled, you will never be blessed, that these desires are all unconscious to yourselves. And yet there are no desires — that is to say, consciousness of necessities — so dormant but that their being ungratified makes a man restless. You do not want forgiveness, but you will never be happy till you get it. You do not want to be good and true and holy men, but you will never be blessed till you are. You do not want God, but you will be restless till you find Him.

2. "And he that hath no money." Who has any? Notice that the persons represented in our text as penniless are, in the next verse, remonstrated with for spending "money." So then the penniless man had some pence away in some corner of his pocket which he could spend. He had the money that would buy shams, "that which is not bread," but he had no money for the true thing. Which, being translated out of parable into fact, is simply this, that our efforts may win, and do win, for us the lower satisfactions which meet the transitory and superficial necessities, but that no effort of ours can secure for us the loftier blessings which slake the diviner thirsts of immortal souls.

II. IN WHAT IT CONSISTS. They tell an old story about the rejoicings at the coronation of some great king, when there was set up in the market-place a triple fountain, from each of whose three lips flowed a different kind of rare liquor which any man who chose to bring a pitcher might fill from, at his choice. Notice my text, "come ye to the waters"... "buy wine and milk. The great fountain is set up in the market-place of the world, and every man may come; and whichever of this glorious trinity of effluents he needs most, there his lip ,may glue itself and there it may drink, be it "water that refreshes, or "wine that gladdens, or "milk" that nourishes. They are all contained in this one great gift that flows out from the deep heart of God to the thirsty lips of parched humanity. And what does that mean? We may say salvation; or we may use many other words to define the nature of the gifts. I venture to take a shorter one, and say, it means Christ. He is the all-sufficient supply of every thirst of every human soul.

III. HOW DO WE GET THE GIFTS? The paradox of' my text needs little explanation. "Buy without money and without price.' The contradiction on the surface is but intended to make emphatic this blessed truth theft the only conditions are a sense of need and a willingness to take — nothing else and nothing more.

(A. Mallard, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: "Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

The Gracious Invitation
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