22 February 2021

Isaiah 55:1-13

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (v. 1)

Psalm 87


The book of Isaiah forms part of the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Prophets were people who spoke for God: not to predict the future, but to speak to the current situation. Their messages were often harsh but they were also messages of hope.

 Isaiah 55 comes at the end of the second part of Isaiah within the context of a people who were about to return from several decades of captivity in a foreign land. The preceding chapter speaks about God’s presence and assures the people that God has not abandoned them. Chapter 55 continues this theme. The invitation in verse 1 would have resonated with the people, as many of them would return to their homeland without any money or possessions. But this invitation goes much deeper than basic sustenance. It is inclusive and offers hope, without a catch. The remainder of the chapter reinforces God’s assurance of God’s continued presence. In verse 3 the prophet speaks of an everlasting covenant. The meaning of the word is literally a coming together, in which God promises a relationship with humans and humans promise to have a relationship with God.

This passage speaks powerfully in our current situation, which is a kind of exile. Many people are in a form of captivity; with little or no social contact with others; experiencing loneliness, isolation and fear. Many people may have a thirst for human company and reassurance. There may even be questions regarding God’s presence; many people may feel abandoned by God in the current situation. The promises in verses 12 and 13 are not that everything will be fixed instantly. Instead, they offer hope that things will get better. In our own context, the hope that vaccines offer may be an example of such promises.


To Ponder:

  • What is your greatest thirst: for a job, or for companionship?
  • How does the invitation in verse 6 to “seek the Lord” resonate with you in your present situation?

Bible notes author

The Revd Lynita Conradie

Lynita Conradie was ordained in 2005 in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and worked part-time as a minister and also as a human rights lawyer and editor of the Namibian Law Reports, in Namibia. Lynita came to Britain in September 2013 and served as a presbyter in the Nottingham (North) Circuit until August 2018. She is currently in the Harrow and Hillingdon Circuit. In her spare time, Lynita follows cricket and rugby and likes reading and travelling.

Share this