"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 55: 1-3)
"You all come to the waters!" That is an invitation, gracious and merciful, and it is extended to all who are "thirsty." Further, all men are "thirsty," in the sense of this text, whether they know it or not.
Some Hyper Calvinists say that the "thirsty" mentioned here in the text are they who are already spiritually alive because "thirst" is an evidence of "life." Dead men do not thirst, it is argued. But, an investigation of the scriptures relative to this "thirst" will show them that spiritual death, not spiritual life, is what is alluded to by the descriptive word "thirsty."
"Thirsty" is a term denoting our condition outside of Christ, our condition in sin and death, our condition before coming to Christ. Regeneration, or being born again, on the other hand, is described as a being saved from thirst. Notice these words of Christ:
"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: 14)
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6: 35)
Notice how Jesus associated being made spiritually alive with drinking the water of life, and with being saved from "thirst," or a "thirsty condition." Salvation is to partake of Christ, his flesh and blood, the bread of life, the water of life. And, how does one drink? Is it not when he believes? When he has Christ and truth revealed to him?
This invitation to the thirsty to come and drink Christ is an invitation to salvation. It is a call to those who have not drunk Christ, and who are therefore lost, to come and drink Christ in order that they may have life.
Thirsty land is dry land, land where there is no moisture, and where there is no moisture there is death and barrenness. The heart that is thirsty has not come to the waters and drank. They are parched in heart and soul. Their mental life is a desert wilderness. The spiritually and morally dead sinner dwells, mentally and emotionally, in "a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." Notice these words of the prophet.
"Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst." (Hosea 2: 3)
How are sinners "in the day they are born"? Are they not born children of wrath (Eph. 2: 3) and born in sin (Psalm 51: 3)? Is being naked (unclothed), alone (in a desolate place), dying of hunger and thirst, having no food or water, a picture of regeneration and spiritual life or a picture of non-regeneration and spiritual death? Notice these worthy comments from Albert Barnes.
“There is an outward visible nakedness and an inward, which is invisible. The invisible nakedness is, when the soul within is bared of the glory and the grace of God.”
“as in the day that she was born,” i. e., helpless, defiled, uncleansed, uncared for, unformed, cast out and loathsome. Such she was in Egypt, which is in Holy Scripture spoken of, as her birthplace Ezekiel 16:4; for there she first became a people; thence the God of her fathers called her to be His people. There she was naked of the grace and of the love of God, and of the wisdom of the law; indwelt by an evil spirit, as being an idolatress; without God; and under hard bondage, in works of mire and clay, to Pharaoh, the type of Satan, and her little ones a prey. For when a soul casts off the defense of heavenly grace, it is an easy prey to Satan.
And make her as a wilderness, and set her as a dry land, and slay her with thirst - The outward desolation, which God inflicts, is a picture of the inward. Drought and famine are among the four sore judgments, with which God threatened the land, and our Lord forewarned them, “Your house is left unto you desolate” Matthew 23:38; and Isaiah says, “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee” Isaiah 60:15. But the prophet does not say, make her a wilderness, but make “her as a wilderness.” The soul of the sinner is solitary and desolate, for it has not the presence of God; unfruitful, bearing briars and thorns only, for it is unbedewed by God‘s grace, unwatered by the Fountain of living waters; athirst, “not with thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the Lord,” yet also, burning with desire, which the foul streams of this world‘s pleasure never slake. In contrast with such thirst, Jesus says of the Holy Spirit which He would give to them that believe in Him, “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 4:14; John 7:38-39."
Thirst - Come - Drink - Quench
Thirst = lost condition
Coming to Christ = The means or remedy
Drinking = The means or remedy
Quench = Deliverance or cure