Revelation 22:17

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
Say is λέγουσιν [legousin] , present tense: they are saying. The invitation is for the present and is ongoing. Come is ἔρχου [erchou] , a second-person singular imperative command: you [singular] come! The invitation is to an individual.

The invitation is for Christ, the bridegroom, to come and is made by the Church, the bride of this age who is destined to inhabit the New Jerusalem, along with other people of God (Rev. Rev. 19:7+; Rev. 21:2+, Rev. 21:9+). Indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John John 7:39), she makes intercession for the return of Christ according to the will of God (Rom. Rom. 8:26-27). This is seen in the closing invitation by John, a member of the Church, for the return of our Lord: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. Rev. 22:20+). The mention of the Spirit may also refer to the prophets, through whom the Holy Spirit predicted the coming of Christ.

Throughout the centuries, God’s people have waited for, prayed for, hoped for, and watched for Christ’s return. They are weary of the battle against sin and long to see Jesus Christ exalted, glorified, and honored. They long for Him to return and take them to heaven to live with Him forever (John John 14:3; 1Th. 1Th. 4:17). They long for the day when their perishable, mortal bodies will be transformed into their imperishable, immortal resurrection bodies (1Cor. 1Cor. 15:53-54). They know that in that glorious day there will be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more crying, no more pain, and no more death. Rebellion will be swiftly dealt with; God and the Lamb will be glorified and will reign forever over the new heaven and the new earth.1

And let him who hears say, “Come!”
Come!: this invitation is also to an individual. Those who have ears to hear what the Spirit says in the book of Revelation will come to faith. They too will then issue an invitation for Christ’s speedy return.

And let him who thirsts come.
Let him who thirsts come is καὶ ὁ διψῶν ἐρχέσθω [kai ho dipsōn erchesthō] , present tense participle: and the one [presently] thirsting, let him come. This invitation is to those who have not yet come to salvation, both within the church assembly and outside, which thirst for God:

Though this invitation could address the stranger who sometimes attended Christian worship (cf. 1Cor. 1Cor. 14:23-24) (Moffatt), plenty of regular attenders had not yet attained the category of an overcomer, as the seven messages of chapters 1Cor. 2:1-1Cor. 3:1 make very plain.2

Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isa. Isa. 55:1)

The only requirement is thirst . Without thirst, the free water of life will not be attained (Rev. Rev. 21:6+).

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Ps. Ps. 42:1-2)

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Mtt. Mat. 5:6)

Those who thirst for God in the present age, and trust in faith, are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, the Church (1Cor. 1Cor. 12:13):

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John John 7:37-39)

Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Whoever desires is ὁ θέλων [ho thelōn] , present tense participle: the one [presently] desiring. This is essentially the same invitation which the Father made: “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Rev. Rev. 21:6+). See commentary on Revelation 21:6.


1 John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 22:17.

2 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 22:17.