They found themselves dry. Bitter. Broken. Hurting. They were spiritually hungry. Spiritually thirsty. The Hebrew people had found themselves in a bad way after worshipping idol after idol. In exile, they longed for God’s voice in their lives. They just wanted to hear words of life again.
And Isaiah, a bearer of God’s voice, extends an incredible invitation from God to the people.
If you’re thirsty, God will offer you life-giving water. God can quench the dryness you suffer from.
If you’re hungry, God invites you to feast. Not on junk food but on the best food and the best part about it, it’s all free of charge. You don’t have to pay for your seat at this banquet invitation. All you have to do is show up.
If you need to hear something more than the language of exile around you, God invites you to listen. His words are life giving.
And God’s words, they are an expression of his love. And God’s love? It’s eternal. Everlasting. Never changing. Always pursuing. Never failing.
God invites the people, and invites us, into a faithful covenant of love that can’t be overpowered by darkness or evil. Nothing can rob God of his love and the forgiveness he extends to us.
The prophet goes on to say that God’s word, which perfectly expresses his love, goes out like rain on the land causing seed to grow for the sower and bread for the eater.
When God speaks, he’s speaking a resurrection love into the world. It rescues people from exile. It causes joy and peace. It causes a celebration of life instead of a mourning from death.
God has made a promise. You don’t have to live in exile. You can live in the covenant of love that never ends. God is inviting us to more.
Reflections based on Isaiah 55:1-13; John 4:13-14
Why did people find this important to write down? There was more to life than the exile the people were living in. God had made a promise of love and was going to keep it. The prophet knew the people needed to know that God hadn’t abandoned them and still had them in mind.
Why did this passage endure? This poem extends an incredible invitation. God is offering us a feast free of charge. It doesn’t cost us money to attend. God is freely offering his love. All we have to do is turn ourselves towards it and accept. It’s a timeless truth that proves itself over and over again.
What is true for them then that is still true for us today? God is still extending a covenant promise of love to us today that’s eternal. The word of God is Jesus and Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s love for us.
What is the good news in this passage? That God invites us in. Even though the Israelites were in exile because they had turned from God, God was still offering an invite out of the cold, out of the darkness, out of an exile that was stealing life away from them.
How does this help me love God more? None of us are perfect. God doesn’t have to extend anything to us but chooses to do so anyway. Receiving undeserved love always bubbles up a love-based response in the receiver.
How does this help me love people more? God is providing the banquet. The thing that makes the banquet, the feast, better is more people. I can love people better by making sure they know they’re invited too.