I apologize for not writing last week. I was on the sick and shut-in list with a nasty flu-like bug. Thank God I’m back in the swing of things this week.
When I was a kid, I loved soda. I mean I REALLY loved soda. I mean, if I could have had a Sprite IV installed on my left side. I would have done it in a heartbeat! I really loved soda.
One day I was working in my uncle’s yard and grew thirsty. I asked him if he had any soda to drink. He laughed at me and asked “have you noticed the more soda you drink, the more soda you want? It never quenches your thirst does it? What you need is water.”
He was right. I was really thirsty that day in his yard. If he’d have brought me some soda, I would’ve only wanted more and more. My thirst wouldn’t have been quenched. Water wasn’t what I wanted to taste, but it was what I needed to drink.
In American popular culture these days, “thirst” has taken on a slightly different connotation. In pop culture “thirst” indicates a lust for something - an insatiable desire. The term is applied to lusts for attention, sex, money, and the list goes on and on.
In John chapter 4, we find Jesus dealing with a woman who probably would have been labeled as “thirsty,” by our cultural standards today. Reading the story, it is rather clear that Jesus intentionally positioned himself to encounter the thirsty woman as she came to draw water at the well that day. When she arrived Jesus made her an offer - the same offer he makes to you and I:
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.
You and I aren’t much different from that woman. We all have our own individual thirsts. Just like when I was a kid in my uncle’s backyard, we think the objects of our thirsty desires will fulfill us. The truth about these kinds of thirst is a lot like what my uncle said in his backyard that day. The things we have thirsty tastes for aren't often able to satiate our thirsts. In fact, the more we get of what we think we want, the more of it we need. We're never satisfied. We need living water - the kind Jesus promised. We need the kind of water that quenches our thirsts once and for all!
Jesus knew this woman’s particular thirst just as he knows ours. He knew she had been moving from man to man searching for something. He also knew that no man would ever be able to satisfy her soul’s deepest desires. He knew her soul needed water. Nothing else would suffice.
As we set out into this week, let’s do some self-examination and find our own thirsts. As we uncover these areas of desire in our lives, let us pray that God will teach us not to rely on our emotions and thoughts to drive us toward the salty, syrupy, dehydrating substances the world offers up. Let us pray that God will continually develop in us a taste for the purity of his living water. Let’s ask God to develop in us a taste for that which completely satisfies. Let’s ask him to pour out in us the pure and refreshing water he promised that woman all those years ago!
A strange thing happens when we pray prayers like these. Not only do we find ourselves fulfilled, but we also find ourselves glorifying God in the process of being fulfilled. One of my favorite theologians, John Piper, puts it this way:
“God is most glorified in us when we are more satisfied in him!”
Questions for this week
- What is an area in my life where I am thirsty - where I’m making questionable decisions or cutting spiritual or moral corners to get my way?
- What is the root of my desire? Is merely that I desire this thing or person really bad, or is it something deeper than the object of my desire, itself?
- Do I believe this desire of mine is outside the will of God? If not, why have I considered cutting spiritual or moral corners?
- How can I look to God to fulfill me in this space of desire in my life?
BONUS THIS WEEK!!! Here's a song by Phil Wickham that helps in meditation and prayer on this week's subject. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. "Thirst" by Phil Wickham