And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price (Revelation 22:17b).
In the first half of this verse, which we looked at yesterday, we said that the cry of a true believer is for Jesus to come. He promises his coming three times in this chapter (verses 7, 12, 20). Yet that should not be the only longing of a follower of Jesus. We not only should desire for Jesus to come again, but we should also long for the lost to come to him. It is this second desire that is given voice in this part of Revelation 22:17.
Here the call goes out to the “thirsty” and to “the one who desires.” This is surely a description of the people of this world apart from Jesus. They thirst and desire for things that promise to deliver meaning, purpose, and delight, but they fail. Sex, wealth, and fame all promised but they never deliver in a way that lasts.
Here we find an invitation for something that truly lasts. The thirsty and those who desire are called to come to Jesus and find not just water but the water of life. Anyone familiar with the gospel of John will no doubt think of the words of Jesus spoken in that gospel. Who can forget the winsome scene of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4? There Jesus offers this thirsty woman “living water,” telling her that the water he gives “will become…a spring of water welling up to eternal life (John 4:14).” Or we might also think of Jesus as he stood on the last and greatest day of the Feast of Tabernacles and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38). ’”
Precious water of life sounds so valuable, and yet we are told that it is ours “without price.” Everything we’ve ever really longed for is ours at no cost. Jesus has done the work for us. He has paid the cost. The call, then, is for the thirsty to come.