John 7:37-38 ¶ On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
All of us have the same basic needs, everyone gets thirsty, everyone needs to have a drink. From the Pharisee to the street walker, from the rocket scientist to the crack dealer, everyone needs liquid refreshment. That truth is consistent in the natural world as well as in the spiritual world, man is in need of refreshment. David Brainerd recognized this and became one of the first missionaries to the Native Americans. He preached to the European settlers as well as to the Native Americans, he knew everyone needed this living water. Here is a short account of a service he held back in the 1700’s.
“Lord’s Day, February 17 Had a considerable assembly, consisting of people that lived (at least many of them) not less than thirty miles asunder; some of them came near twenty miles. I discoursed to ’em, all day, from John 7:37. “Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst,” etc. In the afternoon it pleased God to grant me great freedom and fervency in my discourse; and I was enabled to imitate the example of Christ in the text, who “stood and cried.” I think I was scarce ever enabled to offer the free grace of God to perishing sinners with more freedom and plainness in my life. And afterwards I was enabled earnestly to invite the children of God to come renewedly, and drink of this fountain of water of life, from whence they have heretofore derived unspeakable satisfaction. It was a very comfortable time to me: There were many tears in the assembly; and I doubt not but that the Spirit of God was there, convincing poor sinners of their need of Christ. In the evening I felt composed and comfortable, though much tired: I had some sweet sense of the excellency and glory of God; and my soul rejoiced that he was “God over all, blessed forever.”
These settlers three hundred years ago were traveling many miles on foot, on horseback, or in wagons because they were thirsty. They were not disappointed. As they gathered at Brainerd’s service, God came down and refreshed their souls. This was true for the farmer and the shop owner, from the primitive American Indians to the professors at nearby Yale University, they were all in need of the outpouring of God’s presence.
Today, we all stand in the same place. Everyone of us need spiritual refreshment. Maybe you are tired from the daily grind at work or school, or maybe overwhelmed by the financial pressures of the day. Maybe you have fallen prey to the temptation to find refreshment from the wells of this world. It makes no difference. The invitation of Brainerd and of Jesus Himself still stands. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”