Jesus Said, “Drinks on Me!”
By Shawn Barr1
The dusty saloon doors swing open as a cowboy enters. He swaggers to the bar, slaps down a fistful of dollars and says, “Drinks for everyone on me!” People raise their glasses and shout, some clap, and some say, “Three cheers for our new friend”.
What a great deal for those in the saloon that night; a free drink from a stranger. It wasn’t asked for. This cowboy just gave it in honor of something he wanted to celebrate, perhaps a successful trail ride. Whatever his reason, most people gratefully lift their mug and accept the free gift.
But imagine a table in the corner of the room with several whiskered gamblers. Most are getting their refill. But one begins to ask questions. “What is this guy’s motive?” he says. “I wonder what’s in it for him”. “You mean to tell me he’s going to pay for everyone’s drinks?! There must be a hundred people in here. Is there enough money in that fistful of dollars to cover the tab?”
Unconvinced, this skeptic plods out of the building and doesn’t accept his free thirst-quencher. What an unusual reaction.
We’ve viewed the above scene a hundred times on old westerns and reruns of Bonanza. It reminds me of a similar scene in the Bible; one written by John in his Gospel account. In this scene a similar offer was made by Jesus. During a conversation with a woman at a well, Jesus basically said, “Drinks on me!” Well, not quite, but a similar offer that is countless times better. Here’s what He said:
“…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
What a fantastic promise!
It’s fantastic in quality. An offer to live forever! Who makes that kind of offer? Only God.
It’s fantastic in quantity. He said whoever. That means any Samaritan, any Jew, or any Gentile that drinks the living water has everlasting life. That means anyone. As the old hymn put it so well, “Whosoever surely meaneth me.”
Anyone who hears about this great offer and believes that Jesus will deliver on His promise receives the result which is eternal life. What a magnificent gift!
A gift of this quality and quantity would seem to have strings attached. But it doesn’t. Jesus simply said those who believe in Him receive this gift of never-ending life.
What a contrary thought to the American way of receiving great things. People would feel better if Jesus said, “say a dozen prayers, help 100 poor people, be a good girl, finish your chores, don’t kick the dog, and help a few old ladies across the street. Do those things and I’ll give you everlasting life.” We like to have a part in the big things we get. But Jesus didn’t require those things of us (although they are good things!). He said believe.
Many people who hear about this offer believe it. Imagine though, the skeptic above. He would ask a few questions. “How can Jesus offer this? How can belief be all that’s required? Who’s paying for it? Does he have enough money to pay for it?”
Just like the barroom scene where some people cheer the generous offer and some people refuse it, Jesus’ offer brings different reactions. Today His offer is still good. You can believe in Him to give you something none of us can earn, or you can be skeptical. Everyone responds differently.
But to those who believe in Jesus to deliver what He promised, they get the gift: eternal life.
A while after speaking with the woman at the well, Jesus fed 5,000 men plus women and children and then said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me [i.e., whoever drinks of the living water of John 4] shall never thirst” (John 6:36).
In the last chapter in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John picked up on this theme and wrote, “Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17). This is even better than an airline that lets your bags fly free. In that case, you really do pay for the flight. But in this case, Jesus paid it all and we simply believe in Him to receive the gift of everlasting life.
The living water is on the Lord Jesus. Whoever drinks of the free water of life has life that will never end. One drink and you will never thirst again. Jesus guarantees it.
1Shawn is Adult Education Pastor at Antioch Bible Baptist Church in Gladstone, Missouri.