“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelations 22:17
I was going in the seventh grade and did not have a camp to attend that summer, so I was excited when a sister church invited some of us to attend camp with them. That church was a rival of our church, so I anticipated we would compete with them at the camp. When I showed up at the church, I did not see anyone I recognized. There were 25-30 kids meandering outside the church bus and some were pretty rough-looking characters. I was going in the junior high, so a lot of the kids were older and bigger than me.
My cousin and my two friends from church I knew really well, but everyone else was new to me. We boarded the bus and started our trip and I soon realized this was not a typical bus ride to church camp. The kids were quite rowdy on the bus and the words they were using were vulgar and foul. There was one church worker on the bus who did his best to corral the group, but it was like trying to hold a gallon of water in your hands. I scratched my head as I never knew this sister church had these types of characters. I was usually considered to be one of the “bad” kids, but I was like an angel compared to my fellow campers. In classic church bus fashion, we broke down on the way there and did not arrive at camp until later in the night. We were led to a cabin in the dark and told to go straight to bed.
They kept the four of us together and we were put into a cabin with another group of teenagers. We woke the next day and headed to breakfast when I noticed a big banner located above the entrance to the camp. It read, “Welcome to Inner City Week”, and I started to realize why the bus riders were so rowdy. I found a flyer discussing the week of camp and it said all types of people were welcome to the camp free of charge. There were no restrictions on who could attend and 95% of the campers were definitely not weekly church goers. There were some rough characters that week, but I saw God do a work in the lives of those who seemed to be hardened and hopeless.
As the week progressed, the language cleaned up and the attitudes changed, although there were some who refused to change and kept up in their shenanigans and disobedience. The camp brought in kids at no charge to the campers as they knew how God could miraculously transform a heart and life. I am not sure what become of those who made decisions that week, but I am thankful the camp had a burden for all kids, and not just the ones who grew up in church.
I think of this verse and I am grateful for a God who knew all my faults but still beckoned me to Himself. A God who said to me, “Come” and I listened to the call and came. A God who calls to those who are lost and a God who is not willing that any should perish. A God who does not hold back and a God who gives the water of life freely to all who are thirsty.
Have you heeded the call of God for salvation? Are you actively listening for His call or do you continue to put it off for another day? Have you partaken freely in the water of life or are you trying to quench your thirst with things that will never satisfy? How about you Christian? Are you leading others to the water of life? Are you grateful for the call of the Savior? May we drink freely from the water of Life and may we beckon others to heed the call of our great Savior.
Stay in the fight!