I HEARD THE VOICE OF JESUS SAY
Horatius Bonar, 1808–1889
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the water; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1)
Thy grace first made me feel my sin; it taught me to believe. Then in believing, I found—and now I live, I live!
The heart of the Christian gospel is the gentle word “come.” From the moment of a person’s conversion until he or she is ushered into eternal glory, the Savior beckons with the gracious invitation “come.” This word appears more than 500 times throughout the Scriptures.
The beautiful lines of this hymn by Horatius Bonar fill us with peace and buoyant joy. They calm us as we contemplate walking in the divine light of life that is shed on our ways as we respond in personal faith to the voice of Jesus.
Horatius Bonar was one of Scotland’s most gifted and influential ministers and writers of the 19th century. He wrote more than 600 hymn texts throughout his life. “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” is generally considered to be his finest. Bonar wrote the lines while pastoring the Presbyterian church at Kelso, Scotland. He actually intended the hymn to be used by the children since he was always concerned that they learn the truths of the person and work of Christ. The text with its theme of revived life and joyous rest in Jesus has had universal appeal since its first publication in 1846.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest; lay down, thou weary one, lay down thy head upon My breast.” I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad; I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give the living water—thirsty one, stoop down and drink, and live.” I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream; my thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.
I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light; look unto Me—thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.” I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun; and in that Light of life I’ll walk, till trav’ling days are done.
For Today: Isaiah 55:1–3; Matthew 11:28; John 4:14; 8:12; Revelation 3:20; 22:17
Truly rest and be glad in the love of Jesus no matter what your concerns may be. Thank Him for the “Light of Life” that He has promised to shine on your path. Rejoice in the truth of this musical testimony—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and ye that have no silver, come, buy and eat: come, I say, buy wine and milk without silver and without money. Wherefore do ye lay out silver, and not for bread? and your labor without being satisfied? hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight in fatness. incline your ears, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Isaiah 55:1–3
- Come unto me, all ye that are weary and laden, and I will ease you. Matthew 11:28
- But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never be more athirst: but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14
- Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am that light of the world: he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have that light of life. John 8:12
- Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
- And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come: and let him that is athirst, come: and let whosoever will, take of the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17