Thirst (Lent #19)

thirstA marathon day of recess at school.  A dry, hot summer day spent working outside.  A walk/jog/run that stretches for kilometers.  A night spent snacking on pretzels and chips and nuts.

What are the times you find yourself thirsty?

Not just a bit dry, but those times when you’d think about giving your firstborn for a big gulp of pure, cold, fresh water?

Have you been thirsty like that?

I suspect most of us have.  Whether from work or play or sickness or circumstance, most can think of a time when the only thing in the world that mattered was getting something to drink.  Something to quench the thirst.

In City on a Hill’s dvd-based small group study, H2O, Kyle Idleman talks about being thirsty.  Not a physical thirst, but a spiritual thirst.  A deep need we all experience that can be satisfied in only one way; by drinking deep of the Spirit.

Could it be that our physical thirst is meant to help us understand this spiritual need?

We thirst.

And like our physical thirst we can try all sorts of things to dull the sensation or to eliminate the desire to be refreshed.

Some while drinking alcohol will become dehydrated (part of what alcohol does in our bodies).  Experiencing this thirst, they drink more alcohol.  It’s cold, wet, seems like it would satisfy, but it only results in a deeper thirst.

Some drink soda (or pop or soda pop or sodie pop, depending on where you live).  Most sodas have a similar effect as alcohol, leaving us thirstier after consuming them.  This is part of how alcohol and soda is sold.  Promoted as thirst-quenchers, those that partake find themselves thirstier than before and are thereby encouraged to consume more.  It’s a cycle of consumption that benefits the producers of these products.

It’s not a big stretch to see how this works in our spiritual lives.  We thirst for relationship – intimacy, trust, value, love.  Some become convinced this thirst can be satisfied by consuming stuff.  Some try people.  Some try career.  All of these (and so many others we try), may seem to quench the thirst, but most leave us drier than before.  At best, they only provide temporary relief.  We begin a cycle.

So, here we are wilderness-wandering.  We are thirsty.  Is there a cure for the thirst?

One of my favorite scriptures asks and answers this same question.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:7-15)

So will we continue to thirst until we drink the water Jesus offers?  Will our souls remain parched until we allow Jesus to become a spring within us?

Friends, I do believe so.

At least that’s how it’s worked in my life.  When I got to the end of all those other things, I was still thirsty.  Still deeply unsatisfied.  When I allowed the well to being bubbling up in me – I began to study and learn, to talk with others, to serve – only then did I find my thirst lessened.

I still thirst, but I now know the source of the purest, coolest, most refreshing water available.  And I can drink freely and I can drink my fill.  This water doesn’t run out.  It’s always available.

And it’s meant to be shared.

Life is better together,


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