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Devotion 7 - 18 Nov 2012

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Revelation 21:6 - “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Nothing is Really 'Free'

We’ve probably all heard or even used the popular cynical phrase that “there is nothing ‘free’ in this world”. Everything comes at a cost and if we’re not paying for it, it simply means that someone else is! Especially in our country (beautiful and abundant in opportunity as it is) we have become all too used to price hikes in essential services like electricity, fuel, etc. so we have a very real appreciation for the cynical truth in the statement that “nothing is free”.

And yet today a well-known verse from that rather scary last book of the Bible, Revelation, caught my eye and it put this cynical truth statement in perspective for me. In chapter 21 and verse 6 of Revelation we read: “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

“Without cost” now there’s something we find difficult to believe in this day and age… So what to make of this particular promise? How do we understand the words of this verse if our experience in this world tends to tell us that there is nothing that comes without cost?

Perhaps the truth and wonder of this verse will make more sense to us if we include a word or two as a type of clause… “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost to himself from the spring of the water of life.” Now here we begin to move closer to the reality of this promise. See, it is not that the privilege of coming to drink at the spring of the water of life comes at no cost at all – in this sense the cynical wisdom of this age is quite apt – rather, it comes at a tremendously high cost. A cost that none of us would ever be able to afford, regardless of our economic station in life. A cost so high that it had to be paid for us… a cost paid by none other than Jesus himself.

There is nothing that is really free, whether in this world or the next, everything comes at a cost and if we’re not paying for it ourselves then it simply means someone else is (or has). In the case of the water of life that you and I are invited to come and drink of, that beautiful life-giving spring we have access to, it came at an exceptionally high cost. Though it may be free to you and me, it cost Jesus everything.

The question is this; how do we respond to the fact that we have access and invitation to share in something so costly, so precious, without having to pay for it ourselves? Do we respond with gratitude, or a sense of entitlement? Are we mindful of the privilege, or do we take it for granted? Do we come with humble and thankful hearts to receive a gift that we could never have afforded ourselves, yet we needed so desperately?

Perhaps today is a good day to reflect on this verse through the looking glass of popular cynicism, and realize that though the water of life which God gives may come at no cost to ourselves, it came at great cost to God – the very life of his Son, Jesus Christ. So let us then come and drink freely, yet mindful that it is not free, grateful that the cost has been paid for us by our outrageously generous and loving God.

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