A vessel had been sailing near the northeastern coast of South America , when, due in part to miscalculation and in part to accident, the ship's crew had lost their bearings and did not know where they were. Soon after, they ran out of fresh water. Day after day they had drifted on under the scorching rays of a tropical sun until at last the exhausted sailors lay on the deck totally unable to guide the vessel. When hope had died out of every heart, the sail of a ship appeared on the horizon. It was seen by one of the sailors, who, with supreme effort, shouted "Water, water; give us water; we are dying of thirst!" Quickly and distinctly came back the answer, "Dip it up!" It seemed like a mockery, but they obeyed. The water was fresh! They had been drifting for days within the mouth of the Amazon where the ocean meets the fresh water. They had been dying of thirst while surrounded by fresh water on every side!
The joy, and also the surprise, of these poor sailors bring to mind an experience a friend of mine related to me, as follows:
"You remember," he said, "your visit to me last Friday, and the three chapters you told me to read in Romans? Well, after pondering for a long time the different things you had told me, I read those Scriptures over and over again. With each reading I got more miserable. I felt as if I must surely perish. The words, 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) pierced my conscience.
"Last night I could not close my eyes for a single moment, but lay on my bed in misery. And what misery! Suddenly, while in my despair, my mind was arrested by verses six through eight of Romans chapter five: 'For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.... God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' I can't describe to you the effect of those words! I jumped to my feet and praised God. I saw why Jesus was on the Cross, crying out 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' I understood what He then meant by saying 'It is finished.' I saw my salvation was not of anything from me, but totally from Christ's finished work.
"How blind I had been! Until this morning, my eyes were altogether turned inward - to what I must do. I always thought that Christ has done His part, and I must do mine to be saved. What my part was, however, I never could get anyone to tell me with certainty. I was told I must repent, and earnestly and prayerfully I went at it, but never had the assurance I had fully satisfied God. I was told by many to be very earnest in prayer; and I agonized with God until I could but cry out, 'Lord, if I must go to hell, I will go there praying.' I tried every way told to me, but freedom did not come. But this morning, as I saw my salvation finished - yes, finished by the Lord Jesus - as I saw I was justified freely by God's grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24), an indescribable peace took hold of me. I saw I now had the key to the Scriptures - the key to heaven itself."
Yes, dear reader, "It is finished." The work required to save your soul has been done by the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary . God has now made His salvation available to you right where you are and as you are, and it remains for you simply, as it were, to "Dip it up!" Saving faith in Christ is letting the bucket down for God to fill with the living water of eternal life, without money and without price.
Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (John 7:37; 4:14; Revelation 22:17).