Take a second and think about your last really frustrating day. Maybe the test you took didn’t go as planned or you forgot something very important. And then you burned your finger on your flat iron, said something rude to your mom, or got a speeding ticket on your way home.
On the worst of days, I tend to crave something to fix my feelings. I tell myself: “I deserve a Starbucks run. I NEED a new shirt from Target. When was the last time I treated myself to a pedicure? I bet I would feel better if I posted a photo to Instagram and then waited for the likes to pour in.”
I start hunting for something to dull the ache inside of my chest. There’s no denying it; my soul feels thirsty. But just like physical thirst, I can often misinterpret my soul thirst to be a host of other things. We want entertainment, rest, hunger, change, relationships, and more stuff to fix the longing. My soul cries out for water and yet I fail to identify what would actually quench and fill it!
C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity says, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
Like a car built to run on oil, we were created to thirst for God. We aren’t meant to find our satisfaction in this life. In fact, God loves us too much to allow us to find satisfaction in anything else.
God freely offers His presence and Word for our nourishment and rest! He says (through the prophet Isaiah) to come to Him and listen so that we may live. Read for yourself:
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.” Isaiah 55:1-3, NIV
Not only is the water free and filling, but Jesus takes it a step further and says that if we believe, we will have streams of living water within us!
In John 7:37-38, Jesus says to a crowd in Jerusalem, “…If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
So if our souls are thirsty and God offers Himself as the living water, why don’t we drink?
I don’t know about you, but I can keep the excuses coming.
“I just don’t have the time.” Sound like a familiar excuse?
Our culture has an obsession with being busy. We’ve made busyness admirable. It gives us a sense of importance. We fill our days to the brim. Any spare moment is used to digest stories and photos in our newsfeeds. Where does time with God fit in? A wise mentor once told me that it is better to be anything deprived rather than God deprived.
Start simply. What are you already doing on a consistent basis that allows for you to read your Bible or pray within that space? Do you wait for a ride every day? What about waiting rooms, homeroom, or the lunch room? I started reading my Bible with breakfast every morning when I was in college and the habit has stuck. I rarely miss breakfast, so time with God has become a regular part of my day.
We can throw out busyness as an excuse or we can commit to giving God the time, even if it starts with just 5 minutes over breakfast. God will be faithful to accomplish His purposes if we are willing to come to the waters and listen.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV
When you open the Word, ask God to let the Spirit gush out, as if turning on the faucet full blast. Do your part to prepare your heart and then give Him the time to quench your thirst.
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10, NIV
Drink up, my friends. Our souls are thirsty!