June 5, 2012
Our family was at the beach last week. We all love to be there and have our favorite places, activities, and memories. We will go again later this month with my parents, brother and sister, and their families. Here is a typical day. We have a great time in the ocean and on the beach. Then after showers, a belly-busting dinner and some family devotions, we play some board games or cards together. Childhood stories entertain our kids. We’re all comedians inserting funny comments and observations from our different perspectives and little secrets from growing up in our “interesting” family. Everyone from kids to grandparents chime in for laughs.
But by the end of the night, I’m often bloated. Why? Because I drank so much limeade and soda. I hardly ever drink very much, so why now? After playing and sweating on the beach and being in the ocean all day, then eating a bunch of salty snacks and a huge salty 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 so active, always speeding up and full of options. As we get older, activities require more time, attention, and energy, and become more complex and pressure-filled. We become so engaged in them that all activities, enjoyable ones and unpleasant ones, can be draining.
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, because of distractions, we don’t even realize we are dehydrated. So, to unknowingly quench this thirst, we start to unconsciously look to the world’s nectar and juices … idols. These idols provide some temporary relief – like I found for my thirst. But 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. But our knee-jerk assessment of our choices is superficial and uninterested in lasting satiation or 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, 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. What you drink is 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