We’re All Thirsty
To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:6
Back in college, when I was wrestling and struggling to make weight every week, I’d always sweat the last five or six pounds off in the two hours before weigh-ins. Then, once I made weight, I’d be off to morning class. First though, I had to stop in the cafeteria to pick up several bottles of my favorite sports drink. I was dehydrated and knew exactly what I needed. Desperately thirsty, there was only one solution to my thirst – to drink a lot of fluid. As I sat in class, I’d pull bottle after bottle out of my backpack, downing one drink after another.
Imagine how foolish it would have been if I’d have tried to fill that need with something else. What if, instead of drinking a sports drink which rehydrated me, I ate sand or drank vodka. Not only would those things not satisfy me, they would make things worse, causing me injury. In my need, there was only one answer. I was dehydrated and it would have been absurd to try and solve my need any other way than with rehydration.
It sounds ridiculous, trying to rehydrate with sand or vodka, but I’ve done worse. When hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, I’ve unfortunately learned to turn to self-destructive immediate gratification for relief and release. Sometimes I get angry, making things worse. Sometimes I overeat, which has never been helpful. I used to use opioids, which made me feel good for a while, but eventually tore my life apart.
We all have something. We all have somewhere we turn when stressed – unhealthy ways of dealing with hurt, loss, and pain. We may know it’s unhealthy, but frankly, it’s the fastest way to feel better right now. The gratification may be fleeting, and it may make things far worse tomorrow, but today, we know it would make us less miserable and so, we indulge.
We all want to know joy and peace. It’s not wrong to desire those things. Where we go wrong is in how we attempt to find them. In today’s passage, God’s expressed his desire to satiate our thirst with the water of life. God made us in such a way that our deepest life needs are met only in him. We try to find satisfaction in food, pornography, money, achievement, or status, but none of those things can truly satisfy because they’re not God. It’s only in daily investing time and effort in a loving relationship with our creator that we may drink this water of life. Everything else we try is like trying to rehydrate with sand.