The Bare Soul
August 8, 2010
Thirsting for God
John 7:37 - Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, " If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink."
Thirst can compel a person to go to great lengths to quench its desire. I have been struck lately by the juxtaposition of extreme thirst and once it is satisfied. The summer temperatures have been well into the 90s Fahrenheit here in the heartland of America for the past couple of weeks. Upon finishing a 10 mile run, I am struck how grateful I am for cold, clear water. There is an appreciation wrought by the need that makes it that much more satisfying. The body goes into a state of relief once this vital need has been fulfilled. Those who have been rescued from near death dehydration often describe their liberation as a state of euphoria. Often their tears of gratitude and embracing of their rescuers will continue for some time as they express their intense emotion of being delivered from death. A person can go without food for weeks, but water is different. In extreme environments of hot or cold, the body will start shutting down many times within three days if not properly hydrated. There is nothing more important to life, other than the very air we breathe. Physical laws of nature such as the need for water often have a spiritual counterpart, and this is no exception. It is not a coincidence that the scripture is full of references to water and its life giving power. There are probably no greater instances of these in scripture other than John the fourth and seventh chapters.
The implication of John 4:14 is Jesus proclaiming a place of eternal relief from thirst of a spiritual nature. He tells us that ...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. The satisfaction of quenched thirst will always be the heritage of those who come to Jesus. The problem for so many is a lack of understanding that their thirst is something that will either be quenched in this lifetime, once and for all, or it will never be fulfilled. As long as we attempt to satisfy our craving with those things of this world, we will never quench the REAL thirst in the physical and most importantly in the spiritual. Jesus gives us an example of a man who sought to relieve his physical appetites throughout his life on earth. As told by Jesus, a rich man once lived opulently , "joyously living in splendor every day" (Luke 16:19). Conversely, a poor man named Lazarus begged alms at the rich man's gate. Apparently, Lazarus was very poor in the eyes of the world but he did not thirst, for God had quenched his thirst with his presence. Hence, he was carried away to Abraham's Bosom when he died and the rich man was taken to hell for eternity. You see, one had an encounter with the One who gave Living Water where he would never thirst again. However, the rich man invariably found that the same thirst that he was never able to satisfy in life, was now his for eternity. Luke 16:24 states: And he cried out and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame." The eternal flames that never say "enough" (Proverbs 30:16) continue to torment this man even to this day. While some may believe Jesus was telling a figurative story about figurative people, I respectively disagree. I believe that Jesus spoke from an all knowing, all seeing place of omniscient omnipresence that allowed Him to see those suffering eternal damnation. I am certain that this rich man, this very moment, is suffering excruciating torment in the same way as he did when Jesus told his sad story. There will never be relief for this man or countless others who chose not to quench their thirst in this lifetime by the Water of Life.
There is no hope for those who have rejected Christ, as we see from the life and death of the rich man. Too many of us believe that we can live the life that we choose, seeking to quench that eternal thirst within by the things of this world. It will never happen. Jeremiah spoke poignantly in prophecy against the nation of Israel: For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13). Like Israel, those who choose to satisfy their thirst with the things of this world have two indictments against them. First of all, they have forsaken God. Secondly, they have embraced other gods such as worldly pleasure, sensuality, sexuality, and greed which amounts to idolatry (Colossians 3:5). They have delivered themselves to their father the devil to thirst forever after the things that could never satisfy them in this lifetime, nor can in eternity. If only they had longed for God during their short stay on earth, for now they will experience nothing but "distress and sorrow" in its bowels for eternity! (Psalm 116:3) Better to seek God in a "dry and a weary land where there is no water" (Psalm 63:1), knowing that there is the hope and the promise of His deliverance. Beloved, He will answer us if we continually cry out to Him to fill us with His life-giving river. The alternative will be worse than the most terrifying horror film that we might conceive. To be hopeless, knowing that salvation is no longer an option will be the fate of far too many.
When a person experiences severe dehydration from extreme temperatures, there is always the hope of relief that only water can give. As aforementioned, the senses react with profound gratitude once the rehydration process begins. How much more should we know, that if we do not know Christ, we are languishing in bodies that are dead while we live? His streams are there for us to imbibe, if we will but only "come". Isaiah saw the Messianic beckoning of Christ years before the incarnate Son walked the earth. The prophet writes: Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1) We can either continue to seek those things in this lifetime that will never satisfy our thirst, or we can admit that what we truly long for is God and His Living Water. Beloved, we will either thirst now in this short life span for God's redemption, or we will thirst forevermore like the rich man. The torment of that rejection will be diametric in comparison of the glory to be revealed to those who accept His invitation to drink deeply of the free gift of salvation. May all who read this be those of the latter, choosing never to thirst again either in this life or the one to come.
Lord Jesus, we accept Your invitation to come and to drink of Your Living Water. Lord, we confess that we have tried to quench our thirst with the things of this world. But truly, these have just made us more thirsty. Give us the fortitude and the humility to continue "coming" to you and to always drink from Your life giving fountain. In Your Name we pray, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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