They will, and will not, “come”

They will, and will not, “come”

The Feast of Tabernacles.

(The Gospel History, Section 77)

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified.

They will, and will not, “come”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book III Poem XXVIII)

Come unto Me and drink! He stood and cried:
And every man perceived himself athirst;
Each saw as in a vision places green,
With sheltering trees fed by the Well of Life,
Fair fruits and shade and coolness in the heat:
As child makes sudden leap to reach his joy,
(Held fast in nurse’s arm), so each man’s soul
Sprang up within him, buoyant, towards that Well
Of living waters he beheld in Christ!
Not one there failed to apprehend the truth
As it fell from the Lord’s lips. But that old Nurse—
Habit? Nature? How shall we call the crone?—
Held fast the struggling soul—“Nay, honey, still!
With all thy leaping, canst thou catch the moon?
Men travelling in the waste know well enough
This trick of the desert, to show watered spot
Which holds a hidden well; you come, there’s nought!
So, whisht ye, child,—no water is for you,
But here be pretty baubles!”

“Come unto Me!

Prove thou the water real, drink of it:
’Tis delicious in the drinking, renovates;
The man who drinks goes able for his life,—
Treads wilderness ways with springing step, alert,
Nor knows the misery of pining drought:
And more; I show a mystery to you:—
That man who drinks shall be himself a well;
Out from him shall the living waters flow,
Yea, copious rivers, whereat many drink!
Come, then, and drink! if not for thine own thirst,—
Wouldst quicken desert places, faint souls lift?
Lovest thou not thy brethren? Is’t nought to thee
That men be faint? Come, drink, and thou shalt save,
Shalt carry cooling waters where thou go’st:—
The Waters of Life may not be held in the cup
Of any one man’s heart; they overflow,
Gather and spread and reach the furthest shore
Where thirsting wretches cower!”

This spake the Lord

Of the approaching day, when, all things done,
Finished on Calvary, the ascended Lord
Should pour the Spirit forth,—full stream of life
For the quickening of the nations.

St. John vii. 37, 38, 39.

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