Debbie Salter Goodwin
We are spoiled with easy water access. It's hard to register thirst unless we are exerting our bodies with exercise or find ourselves without air conditioning on a hot day.
The woman who came to the well to draw water when the middle eastern sun was nearly melting her, probably came with more thirst than we typically experience. The water she collected had to last for a day. She needed water in a way we don’t sense need, unless some catastrophe or negligence dries up our water source.
So when the Bible talks about thirsting for a relationship with God, panting for it like a deer who made haste for the river, where do we identify with our need in our easy water context? What makes us thirsty enough that we make getting to Jesus our priority?
Crisis can, of course. But usually it makes us more demanding than thirsty.
As I look again at the woman who came to draw her daily water supply, I realize she wasn’t thirsty for an encounter with Jesus, either. It was the last thing on her mind . . . until it wasn’t.
What made her thirsty for more than water?
It was the encounter with Christ. She shared conversation with Jesus and followed his lead until it became so intrusively personal that she had to make a choice. She could either leave in a you-have-no-right huff or admit her need of a thirst-quencher she didn’t know about.
What does it take for us to get there with Jesus—to the intrusively personal conversation that we aren’t in charge of? What questions would Jesus ask us so that we stood exposed in the areas we try so hard to hide? Are they questions about pain, wounds, broken dreams, unmet needs?
I’m convinced that when we allow Christ through His Spirit of All Truth to expose our misunderstandings, useless effort, tainted motives, and protective distance ---we’ll find out how thirsty we really are. We’ll put aside what we thought was the most important reason for coming to him and realize that coming itself was not our idea to begin with. It was his whisper, his loving call that we finally heard and it made us thirsty. So thirsty, we would not leave without a long drink.. Quenched in a deeper way than an obligatory glass of water could ever give, we vow to stay thirsty because the quenching is so healing.
How do we get there? Are we asking the wrong questions of Jesus, just like the woman did? She led with spiritual talk that didn’t connect with heart need.
Sit still for a moment and you’ll hear the invitation Jesus offers to you: “Come thirsty. I have what you need.”
Will we live the Christian life with surface spirituality that never heals? Or will we accept the invitation for thirst-quenching, heart-healing time with Jesus where he asks the questions and has all the answers?
Jesus simply asks is that we come thirsty.
Picture--Unsplash: Ray Piedra, Bryn Gillette for Dowd YMCA Prayer Chapel picture