Lenten Reader -- Day 36
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:1-3, 9-11) ----------
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:7, 9a, 10-11, 13-14)
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38)
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)
The Old Testament poets had far less knowledge about the person and promises of God than we enjoy through the fullness of New Testament revelation. Yet they seem to have a much better grasp on what it is to thirst for God than we do.
That thirst, so necessary to true discipleship, is usually dulled in us by worry and the desire for other things.
But Jesus called that hunger and thirst for true righteousness (which can only be found in him) “blessed.” It is this longing that leads us to the realization that we are meant to live for more than the things we see and strive for. This thirst leads us into deeper relationship with Jesus and becomes a spring that overflows from us to the lives of others.
What do you want more than anything in the world?
The question calls for a decision: to follow hard after God or to chase after everything else. One path leads to intimacy, the other to idolatry.
For the Samaritan woman, there was no question. The future hope she desired was standing right in front of her asking for a drink. And what Jesus wanted more than anything was coming to completion just before he spoke those words.
Like a distance runner at a finish line, Jesus has only the strength and breath to say, “I am thirsty,” and then he commits his finished work and his spirit to the Father, so that we will never have to thirst again.
God of grace, I live in a dry and weary land. I have tasted how good you are, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more of you. I so desperately need what only you can provide, and yet I confess that I often search in other places. I do not desire you as much as I ought, but I want to want you more. I long to be filled with a holy longing. Show me a glimpse of your glory, and my thirst will be quickened again. You sent your Son to pour out his life for me. Show me how I may find utter satisfaction as I pour out my life now in service to you and to others. And when I am tempted to seek satisfaction in other places, discipline me gently back to you as my only true source of strength. Amen.