Sometimes, I struggle to reconcile the Jesus of the Bible with the image/persona I carry around in my assumptions. I'm a first-born, a true perfectionist and performer. I have no problem imagining God as a righteous, just, holy God. And it's 100% true about Him -- He is all the way good, and there is no darkness in Him.
However, despite all of the years I've spent with Him, I still get surprised by the fierceness of His tenderness and comfort and love.
In the verse above, it says that He shouted (and when Jesus shouts, we should probably pay attention). Before looking at what He said, though, what Jesus didn't shout:
"If you're messy, work hard to clean yourself up!
If you're dry and weary, it's because of your own sin!
If you'd just do better, I'd approve of you."
That was what their world shouted already. It's what our world still shouts today.
Do better. Try harder. Get it together. You're a mess.
Instead, Jesus turned our expectation on its head, and He called them and He calls us. He shouted it because He meant it, and He wanted it to be heard. Anyone, He said. Anyone.
That's me, and it's you.
Are you thirsty? John uses a word here that applies to "those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened."
Do you need refreshment? Support? Strength?
Then you qualify. He was talking, no, shouting, at you.
Come, he says. Don't stop along the way to fix your face. Forget the lie that says you have to work for it, get it together on your own. Bring whatever you have, whether it be exhaustion, shame, fear, confusion, loss of passion. He can take it. And in return, rivers of water, living water, flow from Him for us.
One last thing -- I've been saying it a lot, writing it often, it seems like, but I just feel that it's so important:
Put these things into practice. Come to Him today. And come to Him tomorrow. And come to Him when you don't feel it. And come to Him when you do. Just keep coming.