Thirsting to be Thirsty

Our Lord Jesus Christ is certainly a master teacher. He knows just how to create teachable moments in the lives of those with whom He interacts. In John 4, we catch a glimpse of our Saviour as He, wearied and thirsty from the journey towards Galilee, sits upon an ancient well and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. In His own moment of thirst, He uses the concept of how water satisfies one’s physical thirst to communicate the two most important spiritual truths that one needs to know. First, there is a “water” that will immediately and eternally satisfy the thirst of one’s soul. Second, Jesus is the only source of that “water.” Jesus alone satisfies because it is He alone who offers salvation to the believing sinner. The account of the Samaritan woman is powerful. As we read the text we observe Christ reaching across the barriers of race, religion, lifestyle and gender as He offers this broken woman “water springing up into everlasting life.”

There are three kinds of spiritual thirst that man can experience. There is the thirst of the empty soul whereby the unsaved may be thirsting for something satisfying, not realizing that only Christ can quench the longing of his soul. This person may be indifferent and even ignorant of God, yet he is thirsty. We need to draw alongside this person, as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman, and point him to the water of life.

There is the thirst of the dry soul whereby a believer may be experiencing a season of spiritual dryness in his life. This dryness may be due to drinking to much from the polluted, stale cisterns of the world (Jeremiah 2:13) or from experiencing distressing times because of fatigue, stress or poor health. Sometimes a believer, because of troubling circumstances, can have difficulty sensing God’s nearness. We need to draw alongside this person, and reassure him of the life giving water that Christ offers. (Psalm 143:6-8)

There is also the thirst of the satisfied soul whereby one has tasted the goodness of the Lord and craves more of it. God has not designed him so that one experience with Christ satiates all future desire. In fact, it’s just the opposite. God has placed His Holy Spirit within this believer, as a spring of living water (John 7:37-39). A spring satisfies thirst – not by removing the need he has for water, but by being there to give him water whenever he gets thirsty, again and again.

The late A.W. Tozer once penned these helpful words: “O God, I have tasted thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, I want thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made thirsty still.”

Post by: Keith McMahon, NBBI Faculty

This article appears in the May 2012 Open Bible Bulletin.

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