And yet, his promise isn't just about some distant happily ever after. Jesus offers fullness of life in the here and now. He says that he has come to give abundance of life. (John 10:10) This seems strange when in many ways his life, and the lives of his first followers, didn't look particularly 'full' by worldly standards. They weren't rich or famous or important. They didn't have security. Many had left family and friends and employment behind: all of the things that we would think necessary to feel full and satisfied.
But Jesus says that he offers a satisfaction, a life-giving fullness, that is distant from circumstance. It is possible to be full of joy even when your world is falling apart. (Philippians 4:12-13) He says that life is about knowing who God is (John 17:3) ; that our emptiness can only be filled up by God himself however hard we might try to cram it full of other things. The deepest longing of the human soul is to know the one we were made for. This is what gives us life. This is what Jesus offers: relationship with the Creator that fills our life now and continues to fill it forever.
Give up your broken cisterns, he says. (Jeremiah 2:13) Give up your striving and your money-making schemes. Give up your anxiety and your consumerism, Give up your relentless pursuit of something new that will make life meaningful. Come to me instead. Stop spending money on what can never satisfy (Isaiah 55:2) What I have doesn't cost anything. Come and receive the free gift of life and watch it well up from inside you and pour into those around you. Come to me and have life - life in all its fullness.
Reflection: Read the words of Isaiah 55. Lay aside what has tried and failed to make you full and ask for what only Jesus can give.
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live." (Isaiah 55:1-3)