The Italian Market

Monday, September 1, 2014
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Forth In Thy Name"1 (Lyrics)

Isaiah 55:1-2 – 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. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. (NKJV)

When I was a young boy, my grandfather often took me to Ninth Street in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, popularly known as The Italian Market. Vendors would openly sell meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, and especially holiday specialty foods associated with the different festivals of the Roman Catholic Church. As the street flourished commercially, I was in awe hearing the overwhelming noise of the crowds as the merchants peddled their wares.

In a different place, time, and culture, this scene was very similar to today's text, as Jews from all over would flock to the marketplace in Jerusalem, buying and selling goods for the Sabbath and special feast days. I imagine that the noise of the crowds would make individual conversations indistinguishable.

In the booth of salvation the Lord is hollering, "Ho, everyone who thirsts, come!" Our equivalent to "Ho" is "Hey" or "Hey You". The Lord in this passage is speaking to a spiritually bankrupt Israel whose spiritual supplies are in abundance. He is offering hope, deliverance, and salvation free to anyone who would come, because He knows that there comes a point in everyone's life when they become thirsty and hungry.

But the offer applies to us as well. Jesus invites us to join Him:

John 4:14 – Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (NKJV)

John 6:48,51a – I am the bread of life. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. (NKJV)

Therefore, if "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23b NKJV), and it is free, then how could anyone reasonably refuse?

Prayer: Father God, may Your name be glorified in heaven and on earth. We are thankful to You for sending Your Son Jesus, the well of living waters and the bread of life. We acknowledge Your free, abundant provisions. Keep us in Your care until Christ returns, we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Lou Ciccanti <>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing Lou.

    Hi Lou,
    Your devotionals are always meaningful.

    Lou beautifully done. I really appreciate how you related your story to Jesus’ invitation for us.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Lou – Thanks for a this clear message of our Lord’s provision both physically and spiritually for each of us. May those who haven’t experienced these benefits accept Him today.

    Thank you Lou!
    We had the pleasure of exploring Philadelphia this past May. How wonderful that you use the gift of inspiration to turn your childhood experiences into great devotionals.

    What a nice memory to have of time spent with your grandfather…and how well relating it introduced your devotional. One could almost hear the market sounds of your boyhood as well as in Jesus’ time, and imagine the bustle on the streets!
    Do continue to write.
    God bless!

    Thank you very much, Lou.
    Yes, I can understand & appreciate your mention of the Italian market, for many of my dearest friends are Italian and Italy is my favourite country in Europe. I have visited Europe many times, and Italy is still my favourite country because of it’s people, history, culture and food etc.

    Hello on this Labor Day Monday!
    Funny you should write about market place.
    I go to Farmers Market weekly and enjoy seeing the smiling crowd of people out for daily bread….
    Even more so when meeting a Christian in the crowd who knows of the free Bread of Life.
    Or using an opportunity to say “God bless you!”
    Who wouldn’t want to be blessed by Jesus!
    I would and want!
    Thanks for the uplifting message!

    Hi Lou, I really enjoyed this devotional. And that it came from you.

    Very cool analogy! I love it!

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