(937) 669-3090 support@cffm.org

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ who satisfies the thirsty soul (John 4:13-14; 6:35; 7:37).

The Bible is an Eastern book, and the terms and descriptions in it were written for the Eastern mind.  The illustrations used by the writers were drawn from their culture and way of life, which is much different from ours.  There will be many truths recorded in the Bible which will remain hidden and obscured from full appreciation without a proper understanding of the customs and manners of the lands and times of the Bible.

One such passage concerns buying without money and without price.

Isaiah 55:1:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

This verse of Scripture certainly sounds strange to the Western mind.  How can one buy anything without money and without price?  To those uninitiated in Eastern culture, this seems to say that the merchandise will be given away because money and price are usually involved in a purchase.  However, this is an example of a biblical custom.  It is the cry of one who sells water, wine, milk, and the like in an Eastern market.

However, this expression is reserved for special situations.  It is an expression of gratitude to God when a milestone is reached in one’s life.  When a person in the Western world has a birthday, he expects kindnesses from his relatives and friends.  It is his day, and he expects kindness to flow to him.  Such is not the custom in the Bible lands in Bible times.  The Eastern custom was that the person who has a birthday would celebrate it to make others happy.  He is taught that on his birthday he must show gratitude to God for sparing his life and allowing him to live another year.  Since God does not need anything, he bestows kindnesses and gifts to others.  The giving of even a cup of cold water to one who is thirsty is considered a gift to God.  (This is the custom to which Jesus is referring in Matthew 10:42.)

The biblical merchant sells his goods to make a living, which he could not do by selling them without money and without price.  Every item, in fact, does have a price.  The water, wine, and milk spoken of in the text must be paid for.  The vendor publicly announces the price much like those who sell at a ball game.  He will cry out the price per gallon of water, wine, or milk.  The shoppers stop, negotiate, and pay the price for whatever they buy.  At certain times, the seller changes his sales “pitch” from so much per gallon to, “come, buy without money and without price.”  But, why the change?

Remember that the birthday celebrant wants to make others happy to show his appreciation to God for His blessings to him.  So, he approaches the vendor in the market place and makes a purchase of his goods.  The seller will then begin to announce, “Come, buy without price.”  The easterner will immediately understand that someone is celebrating.  He will also understand that anyone can come and buy without money and without price.  That which is free to him, in reality, has been paid for.  The people, as they fill their jugs or skins with water, milk, or wine, express their gratitude to the benefactor who stands by the vendor.

Isaiah used this common custom to effectually communicate to those to whom he spoke.  They would recognize not only the custom, but also its spiritual significance.  Man cannot pay the price to satisfy his spiritual thirst, he needs a benefactor.  The Messiah would be the one to pay the price so God’s people could drink freely.  Jesus Christ is the one who brought the living water to quench the thirsting soul.  Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman by the well of this living water.  He is the benefactor who paid the price for us.  He took our place on the cross.  He paid our debt.  The justice of God was satisfied.  Through his sacrificial death, Christ purchased our salvation.  This gift of God of everlasting life is now available to everyone.  Everyone who thirsts can now come and drink freely.  Our benefactor, the Lord Jesus Christ paid the price.  The cost to him was humiliation, rejection, anguish, and death.  Thanks be unto God, through Christ we can drink of those “living waters” without money and without price.  God certainly, graciously provides for us, and why not?  He sees us as His best and certainly abundantly blessed.