How often we say, “I’m so thirsty!” And yet do we really know thirst? Do we know it like a person who is wandering in the desert without any water to drink or like the soldier on the battlefield? During my season of service in the Hollywood Fire Rescue Department there were times after fighting a fire when I was incredibly thirsty, but it did not rise to the level of thirst Hagar and her son experienced in the wilderness of Beersheba (Genesis 21:14).
When was the last time you thought of thirst as a good thing? Generally we think of thirst as the by-product of a difficult thing like a vigorous workout, a long day of labor, or a hot day at the beach. But in God’s economy, thirst is one of God’s great gifts to His people. You see, when God gives you a thirst, He is the One who delights to quench it.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
In the Bible, the word “thirst” is packed with figurative meaning and a powerful means of communicating spiritual truth to those who have ears to hear. In almost all languages the word thirst speaks of an insatiable craving and desire for an object to be satisfied and filled. To be sure, there are many objects for which we thirst—not just for a cold drink. We thirst for knowledge, power, wealth, and the applause of man, to name just a few. Yet in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear that the one thirst that we should have above all other thirsts is a thirst for righteousness.
To thirst for righteousness is to thirst for the things of God. It is to sip from the fount of every blessing—past, present, and to come. It is God who gives us a thirst for Him and He is the One who satisfies it. God extends His invitation to those who are thirsty that we might come to the living waters and drink our full (Isaiah 55:1). And the deeper we dive into the depths of the Gospel, the more we thirst for Jesus.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)
So . . . what have you been panting for lately? Frequently it seems like we pant for everything but God. We pant for a raise at the office. We pant for the latest advancement in technology. We pant for the day we begin our summer vacation. But do we pant for God? Do we deeply desire to be in the presence of our God more than anything else? When we thirst for anything smaller than God, we thirst for the wrong thing! A. W. Tozer rightly observed:
In the midst of this great coldness toward God there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me thy glory.” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God. I want deliberately to encourage this mighty longing after God. The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long in vain.
“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”’” (John 7:37-38). Those who thirst are invited to come to Him. Does this describe you today? Is your thirst for Jesus and what matters most to Him? Remember, the thirst He gives, He alone can slake. Let’s close with the words of Richard Blanchard in Fill My Cup, Lord.
Like the woman at the well I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy,
And then I heard my Savior speaking:
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”
Fill my cup Lord, I lift it up Lord,
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul,
Bread of heaven, feed me ‘til I want no more,
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!