37.On the last day. The first thing that ought to be observed here is, that no plots or intrigues of enemies terrified Christ, so as to cause him to desist from his duty; but, on the contrary, his courage rose with dangers, so that he persevered with greater firmness. This is proved by the circumstance of the time, the crowded assembly, and the freedom he used in exclaiming, while he knew that hands were stretched out on all sides to seize him; for it is probable that the officers were at that time ready to execute their commission.
We must next observe, that nothing else than the protection of God, on which he relied, enabled him to stand firm against such violent efforts of those men, who had every thing in their power. For what other reason can be assigned why Christ preached on the most public day of the festival, in the midst of the temple, over which his enemies enjoyed a quiet reign, and after that they had prepared a band of officers, but because God restrained their rage? Yet it is highly useful to us, that the Evangelist introduces Christ exclaiming aloud, Let all who thirst come to me For we infer from it that the invitation was not addressed to one or two persons only, or in a low and gentle whisper, but that this doctrine is proclaimed to all, in such a manner that none may be ignorant of it, but those who, of their own accord shutting their ears, will not receive this loud and distinct cry.
If any man thirst. By this clause he exhorts all to partake of his blessings, provided that, from a conviction of their own poverty, they desire to obtain assistance. For it is true that we are all poor and destitute of every blessing, but it is far from being true that all are roused by a conviction of their poverty to seek relief. Hence it arises that many persons do not stir a foot, but wretchedly wither and decay, and there are even very many who are not affected by a perception of their emptiness, until the Spirit of God, by his own fire, kindle hunger and thirst in their hearts. It belongs to the Spirit, therefore, to cause us to desire his grace.
As to the present passage, we ought to observe, first, that none are called to obtain the riches of the Spirit but those who burn with the desire of them. For we know that the pain of thirst is most acute and tormenting, so that the very strongest men, and those who can endure any amount of toil, are overpowered by thirst. And yet he invites the thirsty rather than the hungry, in order to pursue the metaphor which he afterwards employs in the word water and the word drink, that all the parts of the discourse may agree with each other. And I have no doubt that he alludes to that passage in Isaiah, All that thirst, come to the waters, (Isa_55:1.) For what the Prophet there ascribes to God must have been at length fulfilled in Christ, as also that which the blessed Virgin sung, that
those who are rich and full he sendeth empty away,
He therefore enjoins us to come direct to himself, as if he had said, that it is he alone who can fully satisfy thethirst of all, and that all who seek even the smallest alleviation of their thirst anywhere else are mistaken, and labor in vain.
And let him drink. To the exhortation a promise is added; for though the word — let him drink — conveys an exhortation, still it contains within itself a promise; because Christ testifies that he is not a dry and worn-out cistern, but an inexhaustible fountain, which largely and abundantly supplies all who will come to drink Hence it follows that, if we ask from him what we want, our desire will not be disappointed.