They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. 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. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
~ Isaiah 49:10, Isaiah 55:1-3
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
~ John 4:10-14
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
~ John 7:37-39
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
~ John 6:53-56
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
~ Psalm 36:9, John 1:16
Draw Water with Joy, by Robert Murray M’Cheyne. Sermon LVII.
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
~ Isa. xii., 1-3.
These words do first apply to God’s ancient people, the Jews; but they are no less applicable to ourselves.
1. Observe the time spoken of: “In that day,” the day spoken of in the chapter before: “It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Gush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”—Verses 11, 12. It is in the day when God restores the Jews to their own land, and converts their souls.
2. Observe what they will do: “I will praise thee.” They will then be a praising people. At present they are a melancholy people. There is no joy in their service, they are like a company of dry bones; but in that day their voices will- be loud in God’s praise.
3. Observe the ground of it: “Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” The ground of their joy is, that God’s anger is turned away from them, they have found a divine Saviour: “Behold, God is my salvation.” They have found a divine Sanctifier: “The Lord Jehovah is my strength and song.” Ah! this is the truest ground of joy and praise in the whole world.
4. Observe the consequences: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”—Verse 3. The wells of salvation appear to be the divine ordinances, God’s Word and sacraments. The saved Jews will now find all their springs in Zion, they will be joyful hearers of God’s Word, they will be joyful partakers in the Lord’s supper. With joy shall they draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Doctrine. Saved souls draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation. Many among ourselves find no joy in ordinances. Some despise them altogether. They come not at all. They spend the Sabbath morning in their bed—the Sabbath evening in the pleasures of idleness. The most in this parish have no joy in drawing water. Some come to the house of God; but, oh! it is a weariness—when will it be over? If it were a game of cards, or a merry company, you would not weary; but you know not what it is to have joy in drawing water. Multitudes come to the Lord’s table for a name, for custom, for decency, or to obtain baptism to their children. Alas! alas! they are strangers to drawing water with joy. Some weary souls, anxious about their eternity, go from sermon to sermon, from sacrament to sacrament, seeking rest, but finding none. They go to one well, but they find it bitter—to another, but it is dry—to another, but it is deep, and they cannot draw. These are always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They never draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation. Here is the error: in one and all of these, they do not come as saved souls—they do not come to Christ to get God’s anger away. Saved souls alone draw water with joy.
I. State of the unconverted: “Thou wast angry with me.” Every redeemed soul can look back to a time when they were under the anger of God. God is at present angry with every unconverted soul. Observe—
1. Whose anger it is: “Thou.” It is the anger of God. If all the men in the world were angry with a soul, it would be in a sad condition. If every man you met were full of rage and anger against you, the rich and the poor, kings and captains, you would think yourself in a bad case. If all the wild beasts of the forest, the lions, and wolves, and tigers, were to be enraged against you, and you were in their power, you would be in a desperate case. But these are but creatures. Every unconverted soul among you is under the wrath of the Creator. He that made you is angry with you.
2. He is always angry:— “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Whatever day of the week it be, week-day or Sabbath-day, God is angry with unconverted souls. Their sins are continually before him, and, therefore, he is continually provoked by them. The smoke of their sins is continually rising into his nostrils. He that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him. Not only is God angry every day, but every moment of the day. There is not a moment of an unconverted man’s life, but God’s wrath abideth on him. When he is at his work or at his play, sleeping or waking, in church or at market, the sword of God’s wrath is over his head. Unconverted souls walk and sleep over hell.
3. It is increasing anger.—Unconverted men are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. Some unconverted persons think they wipe off many sins by coming to the Lord’s table, whereas, if they knew the truth, they would see that they are heaping up wrath. God’s anger is like a river dammed up. It is getting higher and higher, fuller and deeper, every day against every soul that is out of Christ. Every Sabbath your cup is getting fuller; it will soon be full.
4. It is insufferable.—Unconverted men sometimes say that if they must go to hell, they will just bear it; but it cannot be borne. If you saw a spider about to be crushed under a great rock, and it should swell out its body in order to bear the shock, it would be miserable folly. Such is the folly of unconverted men saying they will bear the anger of God. How can you bear the anger of your Maker? How can you bear the heel of Omnipotence? “Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the day that I shall deal with thee?”
Learn from this to flee from the wrath to come. Oh! sirs, if ye but knew your condition, you would rise and flee. I declare to you that I sometimes think myself an Infidel, from the cold manner in which I speak to unconverted souls. This is the state of every one of you who is unborn again. However amiable, and gentle, and irreproachable in the sight of man; whatever experiences you have gone through; though you may have attended ordinances and kept up prayer; yet, if you are unconverted, God is angry with you every day.
Learn that anxious souls should be ten thousand times more anxious than they are. This is the day of grace, this is saving time. God has infinite pity for you. His anger is infinite against you, and yet his compassion is also infinite. The more ‘he is angry with you the more he has pity for you. Although his justice cries out for vengeance, sword and bow on your soul; although his holiness demands that you should be cast out of his sight into the blackness of darkness; yet his compassion cries, Let him alone this year also. There is still room for you under the wings of Christ: “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
II. The way of salvation:— “Thine anger is turned away.” 1. Pardon. (1.) There is abundant provision for the pardon and peace of the sinner; for God’s anger is turned away on the head of Christ. The thing which troubles the conscience of awakened souls is the anger of God. It is this which makes them tremble, by night and by day, in public and in secret. An awakened soul feels that he has broken God’s law, and is exposed every moment to his wrath. He can find no rest in his bed, no peace at his meals, no joy in his friends; the heavens are black above his head, the earth is ready iv open and devour him. If God be a just and holy God, he will pour out his anger. If he- be a true God, he will fulfil all his threatenings., If such a soul would take Christ as his surety, he would find abundant peace. The anger of God has already been turned away on the head of Christ. All the clouds of wrath have been directed, like a water-spout, upon that one head. If you are willing that Christ be your surety, you do not need to fear.
The law has had its course, and God dues not demand a second punishment. There is no reason for your standing trembling, when there is such a glorious way of pardon. Christ offers himself as a surety to every one of you; and if you accept of him, your wrath is past, it will never fall on you to all eternity. (2.) This will be still more evident, if you consider that Christ is a divine person: “Behold, God is nay salvation.” If trembling sinners only knew the person who has undertaken to be a Saviour, it would dispel all their fears. He is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of his person. He is the peerless, matchless Son of God that has undertaken to stand for us. He is the maker of the world, he that sees the end from the beginning. “By him were all things made.” He made the sun, moon, and stars; he made the solid earth; he upholds all things by the word of his power. Do you think he would fail in any undertaking? Do you think, if he engages to be a shield for sinners, that he will not be enough to cover them? Oh! be ashamed of your unbelief, and come under this infinite Shield. “Behold, God is my salvation,” “I will trust and not be afraid.” Come, trembling soul, under this divine Shield, and you will find divine peace. Come under this Rock, and you will find rest for your weary souls. It matters not what sins you have; if you come under Christ, you shall have peace.
2. Holiness. “Thou comfortedst me.”— “The Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song.” When a sour comes first to Christ, he does not know that he needs any more comfort he feels such joy, he thinks he shall never be sad again. Soon he is made to feel his wants. He feels innumerable enemies within and without. His heart he feels to be a very hell within him; corruptions whose black faces he never saw before, now raise their heads; his breast appears full of hissing serpents. The man shudders at himself; he feels on the brink of a precipice; the smallest breath of temptation he feels will throw him down. In despair of help, he looks above; to Jesus at the right hand of God, able to save to the uttermost. In Jesus it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell. He sends the Comforter; the Holy Spirit comes into the heart of the trembling, tempted one. “I will trust and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song.”
Ah! do you know anything of this Comforter, of this strength, of this song? Tell me what do you rest on for holiness. Do you rest on your good thoughts of yourself? Ah I this is like Hazael: “Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?” and yet he was the very dog he so much disclaimed. “A haughty spirit goeth before a fall.” Do you rest on your promises to man, or your vows to God? Ah! this is like Peter: “Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I;” and yet his promise was like a breath of wind. No. nothing short of Jehovah can be the strength of thy soul—nothing short of the Lord Jehovah. Creatures cannot hold up creatures. The hand that guides the stars alone can hold thy feet from falling. Is he your strength? Then he is able to keep you from falling. Though the world had ten thousand times more temptation than it has; though your heart wen; ten thousand times more full of lusts; though Satan and his angels had ten million times their power; they cannot cast down the soul that leans upon Jehovah. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart. The same hand that holds the sun in his journey holds up the soul of his people. Sing, then, weak, trembling, tempted disciple—sing aloud: “I will trust, and not be afraid.”
III. Joy in ordinances: “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”—Verse 3. How changed are all the wells of salvation to a poor sinner come to Christ!
1. The Bible. Once it was a dull, wearisome book; you looked to the end of the chapter when you began it, to see when it would be done. But have you come to Christ ?—now the well is a well of salvation—a well of living water.
2. Prayer. Once it was wholly neglected by you, or a cold form, which you hurried over; how it is a sweet well of delight. Ah! there is no better test of the soul than delight in secret prayer, unobserved and unknown by man.
3. The house of prayer. Once you despised it, or came for show—to show your best clothes, or to see your companions; now you can say: “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
4. The Lord’s Supper. Once you sat there, another Judas, with stony heart and dry eyes; now you find it a well of salvation indeed. It is a pledge that Christ is yours. When you see the elements, your heart begins to burn; when you touch them, your bands are loosed; when you taste them, your eyes are enlightened; when you eat them, your whole soul is strengthened. As surely as that bread and wine are yours, you feel that Christ is yours. Oh! come, then, with simple faith, sinners that have come to Christ, and then you will draw water with joy out of this well of salvation. But, ah! have you no saving change in your heart; no faith in Christ; no union to him; no Comforter? Ah! then it will be a sad day to you. You will sit down at the table with the wrath of God abiding on you; the well of salvation will be a poisoned well to you; the bread of life be the bread of death to you; the cup of blessing be the cup of cursing.