Lenten Reflection by Lauren Wright Pittman
on Isaiah 55:1-9 (posted below)
Who among us does not thirst? Who among us does not feel hunger? We all thirst, and we all hunger, but some of us are so caught up in our busyness that we do not realize it. We may look long down our noses at those who are begging for a morsel to eat—a necessity of life—while we question the sincerity of their pleas and ignore the glaring spiritual thirst and hunger in our own lives. The words of Isaiah image a different world where all who are thirsty have water, and all who are hungry have all they need. This is a great leveling of the status. This is the haves and have nots coming eye to eye and recognizing what makes us the same. We need water, we need food, and we need the loving embrace of God.
These words of Isaiah come to a people exiled from their home land. In a lot of ways they thirst and hunger because they feel they have been altogether abandoned by God. They have been ripped from their places of worship, God’s dwelling place, and exist in a place where they do not belong. The prophet calls on the exiled to seek God, because God is near. That in and of itself must have been a miraculous shift in perspective, because they must have felt God was far away back in their homeland.
If these words can penetrate an exiled nation, allow these words to break through your distracted, overwhelmed day-to-day grind. Incline your ear, return to God, and join in the work of bringing hope to the hopeless—the work of preparing a great feast for all.
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.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.