Come, buy wine and milk
without silver and without cost!
Why do you spend silver on what is not food,
and your wages on what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and you will enjoy the choicest of foods.
Pay attention and come to me;
listen, so that you will live.
I will make a permanent covenant with you
on the basis of the faithful kindnesses of David.
Since I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples,
so you will summon a nation you do not know,
and nations who do not know you will run to you.
For the Lord your God,
even the Holy One of Israel,
has glorified you.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call to him while he is near.
Let the wicked one abandon his way
and the sinful one his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord,
so he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will freely forgive.
The imagery that Isaiah uses in this prophecy is amazing. With a vivid description common to their culture, he draws his readers in to show them the compassionate heart of God for their deepest longings. The image is of a water vendor in the market selling water and other beverages to satisfy the thirst of weary travelers. So many things that the traveler may find in the market to spend money on will not satisfy their deep longings, yet they choose to spend their silver on the unsatisfactory things. In spite of that, the water vendor offers his water without cost. Apparently, the price has been paid by someone else.
Jesus uses similar imagery to point to Himself throughout His public ministry on earth. In John 6, Jesus describes Himself as the bread from Heaven that will satisfy their hunger. In John 7, He calls out in the temple courts and invites anyone who thirsts to come to Him to find water that will satisfy their deepest thirst. Still, many people rejected this offer and chose to spend their wealth and resources on things that would never truly satisfy them.
We are not much different from those days. Often we seek to fill our lives with things and experiences that never satisfy our longings. Still, Jesus offers us the things that will satisfy our souls more deeply for free. The choice is ours to receive His offer or reject it. The Gray Havens capture this picture well in their song “Train Station.” The imagery is of a train station where people wait to catch trains to escape the drudgery of their current existence. One conductor stands out because he offers free rides on his train. This disturbs those who want to maintain the status quo. Still, others flock to this conductor to see what he has to offer. You can watch an animation video of this song here. Take a moment to watch it as you ponder our passage today.
- In what ways have you tried to satisfy your deepest longings with things that will never provide complete fulfillment?