Adapted from a Tract By
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. (38) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38
In order to see the whole force and beauty of the text, we must remember the place, the time, and occasion when it comes in.
The PLACE, then, was Jerusalem, the centre of Judaism, and the stronghold of priests and scribes, of Pharisees and Sadducees.—The OCCASION was the Feast of Booths, one of those great annual feasts when every Jew, if he could, went up to the temple according to the law.—The TIME was “the last day of the feast,” when all the ceremonies were drawing to a close, when the water drawn from the fountain of Siloam had been solemnly poured on the altar, and nothing remained for worshippers but to return home.
At this critical moment our Lord Jesus Christ “stood up” on a prominent place, and spoke to the assembled crowds. No doubt not He read their hearts. He saw them going away with aching consciences and unsatisfied minds, having got nothing from their blind teachers the Pharisees and Sadducees, and carrying away nothing but a empty recollection of pompous forms.
He saw and pitied them and cried aloud, like a herald, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”—He probably said much more on this memorable occasion, this only being the keynote of His address. But this, we are told, was the first sentence that fell from His lips: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me .” If anyone wants living satisfying water, let him come to me.
And let us notice, in passing, that no prophet or apostle ever took on himself to use such language as this. “Come with us,” said Moses to Hobab (Num. 10:29); “Come to the waters,” says Isaiah (Isa. 55:1); “Behold the Lamb,” says John the Baptist (John 1:29); “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” says the Apostle Paul (Acts 16:31). But no one except Jesus of Nazareth ever said, “Come to Me.” That is a central fact. He that said, “Come to Me,” knew and felt, when He said it, that He was the Eternal Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world.
There are three points in this great saying of our Lord’s to which I would like to draw our attention.
I. We have a case supposed: “If anyone thirsts.”
II. We have a remedy proposed: “let him come to me and drink.”
III. We have a promise held out: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water..”
Each of these points concerns everyone in this room.
I. In the first place, then, we have a case supposed. Our Lord says, “If anyone thirsts.”
Bodily thirst is one of the most painful sensation which we can have. Read of those who have travelled over desert plains under a tropical sun; of the cries of the wounded on a battle field; of the survivors of the crews of ships lost in mid-ocean. Mark the awful words of the rich man in the parable: “Send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame”(Luke 16:24.) There is nothing so terrible and hard to bear as thirst.
But if bodily thirst is so painful, how much more painful is thirst of soul! Physical suffering is not the worst part of eternal punishment. It is a light thing, even in this world, compared to the suffering of the mind and inward man.
To see the value of our souls, and find out they are in danger of eternal ruin, to feel the burden of unforgiven sin, and not to know where to turn for help,—to have a conscience sick and ill at ease, and to have nowhere to turn to,—to discover that we are dying, dying daily, and yet unprepared to meet God,—to have some clear view of our own guilt and wickedness, and yet to be in utter darkness about forgiveness, this is the highest degree of pain,—the pain which drinks up soul and spirit, and pierces joints and marrow!
And this no doubt is the thirst of which our Lord is speaking. It is thirst after pardon, forgiveness, and peace with God. It is the craving of a really awakened conscience, wanting relief and not knowing where to find it, walking through dry places, and unable to get rest.
This is the thirst which the Jews felt, when Peter preached to them on the day of Pentecost. It is written that they were “cut to the heart, and said … ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37.)
This is the thirst which the Philippian jailor felt, when he awoke to his spiritual danger, and felt the earthquake making the prison shake under his feet. It is written that he “rushed in, and trembling with fear … fell down before Paul and Silas … and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”(Acts 16:31.)
This is the thirst which many of the greatest servants of God seem to have felt, when light first broke in on their minds. Augustine seeking rest among the Manichean heretics and finding none, Luther groping after truth among monks in a monastery, John Bunyan agonising amidst doubts and conflicts in his cottage,—George Whitefield groaning under self-imposed austerities, for lack of clear teaching, when an undergraduate at Oxford,—all have left on record their experience. They all appear to have known what our Lord meant when He spoke of “thirst.”
And, surely, it is not too much to say that all of us ought to know something of this thirst, if not as much as Augustine, Luther, Bunyan, or Whitefield. Living as we do in a dying world; knowing, as we must do, if we will confess it, that there is a world beyond the grave, and that after death comes the judgment; feeling, as we must do in our better moments, what poor, weak, unstable, defective creatures we all are, and how unfit to meet God; conscious as we must be in our inmost heart of hearts, that our place in eternity depends on how we use our time: we ought to feel and to realise something like “thirst” for a sense of peace with our living God.
But sadly, nothing proves so conclusively the fallen nature of man as the general, common lack of spiritual appetite. For money, for power, for pleasure, for honour, for distinction; for all these the vast majority are now intensely thirsting. For success in business, politics, for the next big thing on the internet, for all these objects there is no lack of adventurers and volunteers. Fierce and unceasing is the competition for these corruptible crowns. But few indeed, by comparison, are those who thirst after eternal life.
No wonder that the natural man is called in Scripture “dead,” and “sleeping,” and “blind,” and “deaf.” No wonder that he is said to need a second birth and a new creation. There is no surer symptom of death in the body than insensibility. There is no more painful sign of an unhealthy state of soul than an utter absence of spiritual thirst. Woe to that man of whom the Saviour can say, you do not realize “that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17)
Now is there anyone among us that really feels the burden of sin, and longs for peace with God?
You are one that ought to thank God. A sense of sin, guilt, and poverty of soul, is the first stone laid by the Holy Spirit, when He builds a spiritual temple. He convinces of sin: Light was the first thing called into being in the material creation. (Gen. 1:3.) Light about our own state is the first work in the new creation.
If you feel your thirst, you are the person that ought to thank God. The kingdom of God is near you. It is not when we begin to feel good, but when we feel bad, that we take the first step towards heaven. Who taught you that you were naked? From where did this inward light come? Who opened your eyes and made you see and feel? Know this day that flesh and blood has not revealed these things to you, but our Father who is in heaven.
Universities may award degrees, and schools may impart knowledge of all the sciences, but they cannot make men feel sin. To realise our spiritual need, and feel true spiritual thirst, is the beginning of saving Christianity. Let the one that knows anything of spiritual “thirst” not be ashamed. Rather let him lift up his head and begin to hope. Let him pray that God would carry on the work He has begun, and make him feel even more.
II. We pass in the second place, from the case supposed to the remedy proposed. “If anyone thirsts,” says our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, “let him come to me and drink.”
There is a striking and wonderful simplicity about this little sentence. There is not a word in it of which the literal meaning is not plain to a child. Yet, simple as it appears, it is rich in spiritual meaning. It solves that mighty problem which all the philosophers of Greece and Rome could never solve,—“How can man have peace with God?”
Place it in your memory side by side with six other golden sayings of your Lord. “I am the bread of life.”—“I am the light of the world.”—“I am the Door.”—“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”— “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”—“whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”—Add to these six texts the one before us today. Memorise each one of them. Rivet them down in your mind, and never let them go. When your feet touch the cold river, on the bed of sickness and in the hour of death, you will find these seven texts beyond price. (John 6:35, 7:12, 10:9, 14:6; Matt. 11:28; John 6:37.)
For what is the meaning of these simple words? It is this. Christ is that Fountain of living water which God has graciously provided for thirsting souls. From Him, as out of the rock struck by Moses, there flows an abundant stream for all who travel through the wilderness of this world. In Him, as our Redeemer and Substitute, crucified for our sins and raised again for our justification, there is an endless supply of all that men can need,—pardon, mercy, grace, peace, rest, relief, comfort, and hope.
This rich provision Christ has bought for us at the price of His own precious blood. To open this amazing fountain He suffered for sin, the righteous for the unrighteous, and bore our sins in His own body on the tree. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21.)
And now He is sealed and appointed to be the Reliever of all who are labouring and heavy laden, and the Giver of living water to all who thirst. It is His office to receive sinners. It is His pleasure to give them pardon, life, and peace. And the words of the text are a proclamation He makes to all mankind,—“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink.”
Now the effectiveness of a medicine depends in great measure on the manner in which it is used. The best prescription of the best physician is useless if we refuse to follow the directions which come with it. Here is a word of exhortation of caution and advice about the Fountain of living water.
(i) The one who thirsts and wants relief must come to Christ Himself.
He must not be content with coming to His Church and His ordinances, or to the assemblies of His people for prayer and praise. He must not stop short even at the Lord’s table, or rest satisfied with privately opening his heart to His ordained minister. No, whoever is content with only drinking their waters “will be thirsty again.” (John 4:13.)
He must go higher, further, much further than this. He must have personal dealings with Christ Himself: all else in religion is worthless without Him. The King’s palace, the attendant servants, the richly furnished banqueting house, the very banquet itself, are all nothing unless we speak with the King. His hand alone can take the burden off our backs and make us feel free. The hand of man may take the stone from the tomb and show the dead; but none but Jesus can say to the dead, “Lazarus, come out.” (John 11:41-43.) We must deal directly with Christ.
(ii) Again: he that thirsts and wants relief from Christ must actually come to Him.
It is not enough to wish, and talk, and mean, and intend, and resolve, and hope. Hell, that awful reality, is truly said to be paved with good intentions. Thousands are lost every year in this way, and perish miserably just outside the harbour. Meaning and intending they live; meaning and intending they die.
No, we must ‘arise and come!’ If the prodigal son had been content with saying, “How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!! I hope some day to return home,” he might have remained forever among the swine. It was when he “arose and came to his father” that his father ran to meet him, and said, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him.—let us eat and celebrate.” (Luke 15:17-23.) Like him we must not only “come to ourselves” and think, but we must actually come to the High Priest, to Christ. We must come to the Physician.
(iii) Once again: he that thirsts and wants to come to Christ must remember that simple faith is the one thing required.
By all means let him come with a penitent, broken, and contrite heart; but let him not dream of resting on that for acceptance. Faith is the only hand that can carry the living water to our lips. Faith is the hinge on which all turns in the matter of our justification. It is written again and again that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness” (Rom. 4:5.)
This remedy seems so simple at first! But how hard it is to persuade some persons to receive it! Tell them to do some great thing, to mortify their bodies, to go on pilgrimage, to give all their goods to feed the poor, and so to merit salvation, and they will try to do as they are told.
Tell them to throw overboard all idea of merit, working, or doing, and to come to Christ as empty sinners, with nothing in their hands, and, like Naaman, they are ready to turn away in disgust. (2 Kings 5:12) Human nature is always the same in every age. There are still some people just like the Jews, and some like the Greeks. To the Jews, Christ crucified is still a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. Their succession, at any rate, has never ceased! Our Lord’s words are as true today as they were then when He spoke to the proud unbelieving Jews,—“you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:40.)
But, simple as this remedy for thirst appears, it is the only one for man’s spiritual disease, and the only bridge from earth to heaven. Kings and their subjects, preachers and hearers, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, all must drink of this water of life, and drink in the same way.
For twenty-one centuries men have laboured to find some other medicine for weary consciences; but they have laboured in vain. Thousands after blistering their hands, and growing grey in hewing out “broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13); have been forced to come back at last to the old Fountain, and have confessed in the end that here, in Christ alone, is true peace.
And simple as the old remedy for thirst may appear, it is the root of the inward life of all God’s greatest servants in all ages. What have the saints and martyrs been in every era of Church history, but men who came to Christ daily by faith, and found His flesh food indeed and His blood drink indeed. (John 6:55.) What have they all been but men who lived the life of faith in the Son of God, and all drank daily out of the fulness there is in Him (Gal. 2:20.)
Here, at all events, the truest and best Christians, who have made a mark on the world, have been of one mind. They have all in their best moments testified to the value of the Fountain of life. Separated and contentious as they may sometimes have been in their lives, in their deaths they have not been divided. In their last struggle with the king of terrors they have simply clung to the cross of Christ, and gloried in nothing but the “precious blood,” and the Fountain open for all sin and uncleanness.
III. We turn, in the last place, to the promise held out to all who come to Christ. “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
The subject of Scripture promises is a vast and most interesting one which we would do well to give more attention. Few Christians realise the number, and length, and breadth, and depth, and height, and variety of the precious “shalls” and “wills” laid up in the Bible for the special benefit and encouragement of all who will use them.
Yet promise lies at the bottom of nearly all the transactions of man with man in the affairs of this life. The vast majority of men in every civilised country are acting every day on the faith of promises. The labourer on the land works hard all week, because he believes that at the end he will receive his promised wages.
In business, among merchants, and bankers, and tradesmen, nothing could be done without continuous faith in promises. We take for granted that cheques, and bills are essential to the carrying out of the vast majority of business. Men of business are compelled to act by faith and not by sight. They believe promises, and expect to be believed themselves. In short, promises, and faith in promises, and actions springing from faith in promises, are the backbone of nine-tenths of all the dealings of man with his fellow-creatures throughout the world.
Now promises, in the same way, in the religion of the Bible, are one grand means by which God is pleased to approach the soul of man. The careful student of Scripture cannot fail but see that God is continually holding out inducement to man to listen to Him, obey Him, and serve Him; and undertaking to do great things, if man will only listen and believe.
In short, as the Apostle Peter says, “He has granted to us his precious and very great promises.” (2 Pet. 1:4.) He who has mercifully caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, has shown His perfect knowledge of human nature, by spreading over the Book a perfect wealth of promises, suitable to every kind of experience and every condition of life. He seems to say, “Would you know” what I undertake to do for you? Do you want to hear my terms? Take up the Bible and read.”
But there is one big difference between the promises of man and the promises of God, which ought never to be forgotten. The promises of man are not sure to be fulfilled. With the best wishes and intentions, he cannot always keep his word. Disease and death may step in like an armed man, and take the one who promises away from this world. War, or epidemic, or famine, or failure in business, or hurricanes, may strip him of his property, and make it impossible for him to fulfil his engagements.
The promises of God, on the contrary, are certain to be kept. He is Almighty: nothing can prevent His doing what He has said. “He is unchangeable,” and with Him there is “no variation or shadow due to change.”—(Job 23:13; James 1:17.) He will always keep His word. There is One thing which, as the writer to the Hebrews tells us, God cannot do: “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Heb. 6:18.) The most unlikely and improbable things, when God has once said He will do them, have always come to pass.
The destruction of the old world by a flood, and the preservation of Noah in the ark, the birth of Isaac, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, the raising of David to the throne of Saul, the miraculous birth of Christ, the resurrection of Christ—who could imagine events more unlikely and improbable than these? Yet God said they should be, and in due time they all came to pass. In short, with God it is just as easy to do a thing as to say it. Whatever He promises, He is certain to perform.
Concerning the variety and riches of Scripture promises the subject is almost inexhaustible. There is hardly a step in man’s life, from childhood to old age, hardly any position in which man can be placed, for which the Bible has not held out encouragement to everyone who desires to do right in the sight of God.
There are “shalls” and “wills” in God’s treasury for every condition. About God’s infinite mercy and compassion,—about His reasonings to receive all who repent and believe,—about His kindness to forgive, pardon, and absolve the greatest sinner—about His power to change hearts and change our corrupt nature,—about the encouragements to pray, and hear the Gospel, and draw near to the throne of grace,—about strength for duty, comfort in trouble, guidance in perplexity, help in sickness, consolation in death, support under bereavement, happiness beyond the grave, reward in glory,—about all these things there is an abundant supply of promises in the Lord.
No one can form an idea of its abundance unless he carefully searches the Scriptures, keeping the subject steadily in view. If anyone doubts it, the encouragement is to, “Come and see.” (John 1:46) Like the Queen of Sheba at Solomon’s Court, we will soon say, “the half was not told me.” (1 Kings 10:7.)
The promise of our Lord Jesus Christ in our verses this morning, is somewhat unusual. It is especially rich in encouragement to all who feel spiritual thirst, and come to Him for relief, and therefore it deserves special attention.
Most of our Lord’s promises refer specially to the benefit of the person to whom they are addressed. The promise before us takes a far wider range. It seems to refer to many others beside those to whom He spoke. For what does He say?—“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said” (and everywhere teaches), “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.” These words are undoubtedly figurative,—figurative, like the earlier words of the sentence,—figurative, like “thirst” and “drinking.” But all the figures of Scripture contain great truths; and what the figure before us was meant to convey we will now try to look into.
(1) For one thing he who comes to Him by faith will receive an abundant supply of everything that he can desire for the relief of his own soul.
The Spirit will convey to him such a deep sense of pardon, peace, and hope, that it will be in his inward man like a well-spring never dry. He will feel so satisfied with ‘the things of Christ,’ (John 15:15) which the Spirit will show Him, that he will no longer feel spiritual anxiety about death, judgment, and eternity. He may have his seasons of darkness and doubt, through his own infirmities or the temptations of the devil but, speaking generally, when he has once come to Christ by faith he will find in his heart of hearts an unfailing fountain of consolation.
This, let us understand, is the first thing which the promise before us contains. “Only come to Me, poor anxious soul,” our Lord seems to say,—“Only come to Me, and your spiritual anxiety will be relieved. I will place in your heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, such a sense of pardon and peace, through my atonement and intercession, that you will never completely thirst again. You may have your doubts, and fears, and conflicts, while you are in the body. But once having come to Me, and taken Me for your Saviour, you will never feel yourself entirely hopeless. The condition of your inward man will be so thoroughly changed, that you will feel as if there was within you an ever-flowing spring of water.”
And whenever a man or woman really comes to Christ by faith, he finds this promise fulfilled. He may possibly be weak in grace, and have many misgivings about his own condition. He may possibly not dare to say that he is converted, justified, sanctified, and qualified for the inheritance of the saints in light. But for all that, the humblest and feeblest believer in Christ has got something within him which he could not part with, though he may not yet fully understand it. And what is that “something?” It is just that “river of living water” which begins to run in the heart of every person as soon as he comes to Christ and drinks. This is one sense in which this wonderful promise of Christ is always fulfilled.
(2) But is this all that is contained in the promise of these verses? By no means. There is yet much more. He who comes to the Lord by faith will not only have an abundant supply of everything which he needs for his own soul, but will also become a source of blessing to the souls of others. The Spirit who dwells in him will make him a fountain of good to his fellow-men, so that at the last day there will be found to have flowed from him “rivers of living water.”
This is a most important part of our Lord’s promise, and opens up a subject which is seldom realised and grasped by many Christians. But it is deeply interesting, and deserves far more attention than it receives. As Paul states in Romans that “none of us lives to himself” (Rom. 7:7), so also no man is converted only for himself; and that the conversion of one man or woman always leads on, in God’s wonderful providence, to the conversion of others. This is not to say for a moment that all believers know it. It is far more likely that many live and die in the faith, who are not aware that they have done good to any soul.
But it is likely that the resurrection morning and the judgment day, when the secret history of all Christians is revealed, will prove that the full meaning of the promise before us has never failed. There likely will not be one believer who will not have been to someone or other a “river of living water,”—a channel through whom the Spirit has come by saving grace. Even the penitent thief, short as his time was after he repented, has been a source of blessing to thousands of souls!
(a) Some believers are “rivers of living water” while they live. Their words, their conversation, their preaching, their teaching, are all means by which the water of life has flowed into the hearts of their fellow-men. Such, for example, were the apostles, who wrote Epistles and only preached the Word. Such were Luther, and Whitefield, and Calvin, and thousands of others.
(b) Some believers are “rivers of living water” when they die. Their courage in facing the king of terrors, their boldness in the most painful sufferings, their unswerving faithfulness to Christ’s truth even at the stake, their manifest peace on the edge of the grave,—all this has set thousands thinking, and led hundreds to repent and believe. Such, for example, were the primitive martyrs, whom the Roman Emperors persecuted. Such were Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Hooper, and many other martyrs. The work that they did at their deaths, like Samson, was far greater than the work done in their lives.
(c) Some believers are “rivers of living water” long after they die. They do good by their books and writings in every part of the world, long after their hands which held the pen have turned to dust. Such men were Bunyan, and Baxter, and Davies, and Owen. These blessed servants of God do more good probably by their books at this moment, than they did by their tongues when they were alive. ‘though they died, they still speak.’ (Heb. 11:4.)
(d) Finally, there are some believers who are “rivers of living water” by the beauty of their daily conduct and behaviour. There are many quiet, gentle, consistent Christians, who make no show and no noise in the world, and yet insensibly exercise a deep influence for good on all around them. They win “without a word.” (1 Peter 3:1) Their love, their kindness, their patience, their unselfishness, have a wide influence, and sow seeds of thought and self-inquiry in many minds.
Let us remember this view of our Lord’s promise, and never forget it. Do not think for a moment that your own soul is the only soul that will be saved if you come to Christ by faith and follow Him. Think of the blessedness of being a “river of living water” to others. Who can tell that you may not be the means of bringing many others to Christ? Live, and act, and speak, and pray, and work, keeping this continually in mind. Let us take courage and hope on, believing Christ’s promise.
And now, as we close, let me ask a few plain questions.
(1) Do you know anything of spiritual thirst?
Have you ever felt anything of genuine deep concern about your soul. To many this is a foreign idea. People may go on for years attending Church, and yet never feel their sins, or desire to be saved. The cares of this world, the love of pleasure, the “lust of other things” choke the good seed every Sunday, and make it unfruitful.
They come to church with hearts as cold as the stone pavement on which they walk. They go away as thoughtless and unmoved as the trees and gates in the yard.
Now, at the height of health and strength, in the hurry and whirl of business, it may be that the voice of your conscience is often stifled, and you cannot hear it. But the day may come when the powerful voice of conscience will make itself heard, whether you like it or not. The time may come when, laid aside in quietness, and brought by illness to sit still, you may be forced to look within, and consider your soul’s concerns. And then when awakened conscience is sounding in your ears, who knows that you may hear the voice of God and repent; may learn to thirst, and learn to come to Christ for relief. May God grant that you may yet be taught to feel before it be too late!
(2) But are you one who feels anything at this very moment?
Is your conscience awake and working? Are you aware of spiritual thirst, and longing for relief? Then hear the invitation which I bring you in the Lord’s name today—“If anyone,” no matter who he may be,—If anyone, high or low, rich or poor, learned or unlearned,—If anyone thirsts, let him come to Christ and drink.
You can hear and accept that invitation this very moment. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Who can tell that you may not wait for “a convenient season” till it is too late. The hand of a living Redeemer is now held out from heaven; but it may be withdrawn. The Fountain is open now; but it may soon be closed for ever. “If anyone thirsts, let him come and drink” without delay.
Though you have been a great sinner, and have resisted warnings, counsel, and sermons; yet come.—Though you have sinned against light and knowledge, against a father’s advice, and a mother’s tears, though you have lived for years without prayer, yet come.—Do not say that you do not know how to come, that you do not understand what it is to believe, that you must wait for more light.
Will a tired man say that he is too tired to lie down? or a drowning man, that he does not know how to lay hold on the hand stretched out to help him? Reject these vain excuses! Arise, and come! The door is not shut. The fountain is not yet closed. The Lord Jesus invites you. It is enough that you feel thirsting, and desire to be saved. Just come to Christ without delay. No one who has ever come to him ever went away unsatisfied.
(3) But are you one who has you come to Christ already, and found relief?
Then come nearer, nearer still. The closer your communion with Christ the more comfort you will feel. The more you live each day by the side of the Fountain, the more you will feel in yourself “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) You will not only be blessed yourself, but be a source of blessing to others.
In this evil world you may not perhaps feel all the comfort you could desire. But remember you cannot have two heavens. Perfect happiness is yet to come. The devil is not yet bound. There is “a good time coming” for all who feel their sins and come to Christ, and commit their thirsting soul to His keeping.
When He comes again they will be completely satisfied. They will remember all the ways by which they were led, and see how everything that befell them was necessary. Above all, they will wonder that they could ever live so long without Christ, and hesitate about coming to Him.
Here, in this world, our sense of rest in Christ is at best is feeble and partial. We hardly seem at times to taste fully the “living water.” But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is imperfect will be pass away. We will finally drink out of the river of his pleasures, and never thirst again.