After losing a son to illness and having to send his three other children back to England for health and safety; needing to care for several very sick members of his mission; in the midst of riots and rumors of anti-foreign rumblings in China , in a letter to his sister, Hudson Taylor wrote:
And now, my dear sister, I have the very passage for you, and God has so blessed it to my own soul! John 7:37-39: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.” Who does not thirst? Who does not have mind-thirsts or heart-thirsts, soul-thirsts or body-thirsts? Well, no matter which, or whether I have them all – “come unto Me and” remain thirsty? Ah, no! “Come unto Me and drink.”
What, can Jesus meet my need? Yes, and more than meet it. No matter how intricate my path, how difficult my service, no matter how sad my bereavement, how far away my loved ones, no matter how helpless I am, how hopeless I am, how deep are my soul-yearnings – Jesus can meet all, and more than meet. He not only promises me rest (Matt.: 11:28-30) – ah, how welcome that would be were it all, and what an ‘all’ that one word embraces! He not only promises me drink to alleviate my thirst. No, better than that!
“He who trusts Me in this matter (who believes in Me – takes Me at My word) out of him shall flow…”
Can it be so? Can the dry and thirsty one not only be refreshed, the parched soil moistened, the arid places cooled, but the land be so saturated that springs well up, streams flow down from it? Even so! And mere mountain torrents, full while the rains last, then dry again… but “out of his belly shall flow rivers” – rivers like the mighty Yangtze, ever deep, ever full. In times of drought brooks may fail, often do; canals may be pumped dry, often are; but the Yangtze never. Always a mighty stream, always flowing, deep and irresistible!...
“Come unto Me and drink.” Not, come and take hasty draft; not, come and slightly alleviate, or for a short time remove one’s thirst. No! ‘Drink”” or “be drinking” constantly; habitually. The cause of thirst may be irremediable. One coming, one drinking may refresh and comfort, but we are to be ever coming, ever drinking. No fear of emptying the fountain or exhausting the river!
Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission, Volume Two, 164-165.