Without thirst, you would be dead.
As I type this, I am eating some delicious, salty pretzels, and these pretzels are making me thirsty! And that is how it should be. God made our bodies with a complex system to balance the sodium and the water in our cells and blood, primarily through our urge to drink. Long before Dr. Oz and our Facebook friends were around to tell us to drink water, God wired us with that longing to ensure our survival.
Have you ever noticed, though, that sometimes you can misinterpret the thirst desire? Sometimes when I am thirsty I will reach for a snack, thinking I am hungry. Some people have found that they can lose weight if they drink a glass of water when then feel hungry, because they have simply misinterpreted their body’s thirst and thought that it was hunger.
But sin took thirst and twisted it. People let thirst run their life. Coffee, beer, Diet Coke – like a toddler with a Sippy Cup, we reach out for our one little shot of happiness to get us through the next hour. One more coffee to get us through the next meeting. One glass of wine to get us through the evening.
Thirst is a deep longing to fill a need. But sometimes we quench our thirst with other things – pictures online or flirting or people-pleasing or bullying or TV or Facebook or shopping. We go far beyond our natural thirst and continue to crave, even after all natural thirst has been quenched. The thirst we feel is a spiritual thirst! This thirst is no less real than our physical thirst. We are spirit, soul, and body, and all three areas interact more than we know or understand.
When you feel that thirst, that longing, you are craving God. No more, no less. God put a thirst for Himself inside every heart – a longing that has been unquenched since Eden. When we feel that desire for God, when we are compelled by this inner urge, people turn to drink and sex and ambition, as CS Lewis put it. We flip on the TV, when all we really need to do is flip open the Bible. We ask, seek, and knock…but we are asking for the wrong things, seeking in the wrong places, knocking at the wrong doors.
Don’t get down on yourself – thirst is a normal part of life. David said that his soul thirsts for God the way a deer thirsts for water. And even Jesus experienced this physical longing for a spiritual connection. Jesus had walked the earth in full fellowship with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in a perfect unity that has never been matched. But as He hung on the cross, that fellowship was broken and He was separated from His Father’s presence. And like each one of us, he looked up to Heaven, then looked down to earth in anguish, and said, “I thirst.”
Our thirst comes when we turn our backs on God. So the only way to quench that thirst is to turn around.
The next time you are thirsty or hungry or lustful or restless, don’t turn to Facebook or calories. Turn your face to heaven and say “Abba, I thirst! I am thirsty, and only you can satisfy me!” God has not forsaken you, and in him you will find the comfort that you seek.
Remember friends, your suffering is real. Your longing is real. Your thirst is real. Without your spiritual thirst, you would be as good as dead! But do not be deceived – you thirst for God! Reach out to Him, and in Him you will find what you need.