Living this Moment in our Thirst

March 15, 2020

How many times do we open the refrigerator door?   How often do we fill our drink bottles?  Thirst drives us.  While our body thirsts for certain things, many times our hearts thirst for something different.  In a simpler time when we were young, our cares and concerns were met by the food on the table, the roof over our heads and usually enough hot water to go around.  So we longed and thirsted for other things.  We might have been hungry for quality time when we could feel we were the only one who mattered in the world.   We were thirsty for a love that was communicated in the warmth of a parent’s affection for a child.  Quality time fulfilled so much longing and it completed our very selves without us even knowing it.

As our journey takes us into more years of life, that for which we thirst changes, gets more complex and complicated.  I think one of the reasons mission trips are so important to me is that they help me to get in touch with the simple, basic thirsts within me and others.  I see in the eyes of the children a joy that comes from a scoop of rice and beans added to their plate.  I see the dancing that takes place when a rain comes after a long drought even though it lasts for only ten minutes.  I can remember being on these trips feeling afraid and wanting to wake up the next morning without cockroaches and lizards covering my body and my bed.  There is a link between fear and thirst.  The woman at the well was afraid of her sinfulness, embarrassed by her way of life.  She avoided the crowd who would go to the well at an earlier time during the day.  She sought to quench her thirst when no one was watching.  Her sin was always before her.  Her basic need of water drew her to the well, but the complications of her life and the fear of confrontation dictated the time.

In a time when she wasn’t prepared, Jesus meets her at the well.  Her dialogue is one of defense.  She points out Jesus has no bucket and that He is breaking the law by talking to a woman.  She mentions to Him that He is not on the right side of town.  Jesus very patiently brings her back to the simplicity of what she is really thirsting for.   Beyond the water, she longs for peace within herself and peace with others.  As He offers her a drink of what she really needs and is afraid to ask for, Jesus transforms her life.

We long to have Jesus transform our lives.  We long to have Jesus offer us life-giving water.  We long so we can thirst no more, so that a wellspring can flow forth from us and just flood the streets of the hearts of all who surround us.  But often times it seems as if the water was cut off, that we forgot to pay the bill.  The source of the wellspring is dry.  Jesus will never turn off the water; the wellspring is not dry and He already paid the bill by dying on the cross.  So why do we not feel it?  Why do we seem to be thirsting for the wrong things at times?

Thirst is simple.  My journey to the wellspring is hard.  I must strip away every false thirst, every deterrent.  I must realize the things of this world cannot and will never satisfy me.  I must touch a thirst within that needs God’s love and I must be willing to make it such a priority that the mirage of thirsting for things of this world – comfort, success, security—fades away.  Living in this moment, drinking up only what Jesus gives as a gift is the wellspring.  The only compass we need to find it is simplicity.

May our thirst lead us to the only true wellspring owned and operated by the Lord.

Reverend  John J. Ouper