August 16, 2019
Thirsty? Beware What You Drink
This summer’s annual escape to the Jersey shore had a special twist as we are now annual summer residents of Ocean City, NJ. What a blessing to have all our kids celebrate our new summer house with us. We all love the ocean and have our favorite places, activities, and memories. So many of the fun pictures in the scrapbook of our minds are from those carefree summer beach adventures. On a typical day, we have a great time in the ocean and on the beach. Then after showers, a belly-busting dinner and family devotions, we play some board games or cards together or stroll on the boardwalk for desserts. Childhood stories entertain our kids as we all fancy ourselves as comedians, inserting funny comments and observations from our different perspectives and little secrets from growing up in our “interesting” family. Everyone chimes in for laughs and a time to connect and bond. Martine and I can’t wait to introduce the future grandkids to this tradition.
But by the end of the night, I am so bloated. Why? Because I drank too much limeade and soda. Martine always nags me because I rarely hydrate, so why now am I drinking so much? After playing and sweating on the beach and being in the ocean all day, mixed with a bunch of salty snacks and a large highly seasoned dinner, I was dehydrated and didn’t even know it. Being so thirsty, over the course of a couple hours, I progressively and unintentionally guzzled so much that I was actually physically uncomfortable.
I’ve noticed this is how our spiritual life often plays out. The world around us is super active, always speeding up and full of exciting, challenging options. As we get older, activities require more time, attention, and energy, and grow more complex and pressure-filled. We become so engaged in them that all activities, enjoyable ones and unpleasant ones, can be draining and suck some of the juice out of us.
As a result, without realizing it, we get spiritually thirsty for purpose, value, connection, attention, achievement, peace, love, and direction, among other things. Unfortunately, this world offers more distractions than we can fit into one lifetime. We are thirsty, and at times, due to distractions, we don’t even realize we are dehydrated. To quench this thirst, we unconsciously start to look to the world’s nectar and juices, drinking from unsatisfying options … idols. These idols provide temporary relief, like those I found for my thirst. In a short time, we get bloated and very uncomfortable. Yet the thirst remains because the idol never fulfills the actual need.
Satan and this world offer so many options to take in, and every one of them will make us sick. Unfortunately, a knee-jerk assessment of our choices overlooks lasting satiation … the real Living water.
Today, when those difficult moments bleed into your day, identify what you grab when you are spiritually thirsty. Stop and ask yourself why you are grabbing it. Will it really meet your need without a downside? Try to understand that your deepest desire and drive is for a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Only His joy and peace will satisfy your thirst. When you are “thirsty” and need something, take a look at some of the attitudes or objects you turn to … food, alcohol, caffeine, attention, gossip, isolation, control, anger, shopping, status, money, health, kids, spouse, work, sex, or productivity. You are drinking for sure. But drinking the wrong thing will eventually poison and kill you. Drinking the Living Water will bring all you could ever desire. Whether you drink from the abundant cup of Living Water to quench your spiritual thirst, or you guzzle the toxic elixir of this world in trying to quench your spiritual thirst, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I am so thirsty … my soul is parched. At times, I confuse this thirst with just being tired or stressed out. So, I start searching for relief and distraction. I know that all the while You are standing next to me … ready to quench my thirst. My soul thirsts for You, Lord. Allow Your gifts of Joy and Peace to enhance my awareness of You. I pray this in the name the only One who can quench my thirst, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah Psalm 143:6
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2
Jesus said to her, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14