"So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." Matthew 9:38
One of the most motivating needs known to man is that of thirst. It is a need that must be met, an urge that must be satisfied, and if we are thirsty enough, we will do almost anything to satisfy this lack of hydration within us. The fact that we thirst is the realization of what dependent creatures we really are. Even the most atheistic person in his running and denial of God is humbled in the daily needs of his own body that require sustenance from God. But not all liquid is satisfying as it pertains to the quenching of thirst. Ill give you an example from my adolescent years.
I had just gotten done playing a very intense game of recreational football with a few friends one hot, summer afternoon. And as we always did, we ran to the nearest gas station down the road to grab something to quench our thirst. A buddy of mine went to the cooler in the store and grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk. As delicious as chocolate milk is, it is not a drink you want to drink when you are hot, tired, and exhausted, as was proved when my friend chugged his milk and immediately got sick. The chocolate milk looked enticing to him, but provided no real relief or satisfaction.
I grabbed a Gatorade and after paying, consumed the green liquid as fast as I could get it down. However, as I was walking home with empty bottle in hand, I realized that not only was I still thirsty, but I was even more thirsty than I had been before drinking the Gatorade. I may be the only person that Gatorade has this effect on, but to this day the stuff still has the opposite effect on me. Instead of quenching that deep down body thirst that its advertisements boast of, it increases my thirst.
I busted into my house and headed straight towards the refrigerator. Yanking it open, I pulled out the first cold beverage that I saw, that being a Diet Coke. But all the soda seemed to do was give me an after taste in my mouth that still left me feeling thirsty. I glanced over at the milk jug but quickly remembered the little experiment I had just witnessed in the gas station parking lot with my buddy who bought the chocolate milk and how fast it was expelled out of his body. I made a quick mental note to self…milk and hot do NOT mix! Milk was out of the question, Gatorade didn’t work, and even Diet Coke, which has been said to cure anything in some Northern states, could not quench my thirst! So I resorted to the last thing that I could think of in order to satisfy this deep thirst in my body. And ironically enough, it was not a manufactured, man made beverage!
It was a glass of cold water.
You would think that common sense would have enlightened me to realize this as a first choice of thirst quenchers. After all, our bodies are made up mostly of water, so shouldn’t it have made sense that I probably would receive the most satisfaction from putting back into my body what I had just sweated out? Maybe it was the neon green liquid that glistened in the gas station cooler that caught my eye. Just as I’m sure the little brown cartoon bunny rabbit with a straw on the bottle of chocolate milk deceived my sick friend. What ever was the case, the fact of the matter is that the true, natural liquid that is known to quench thirst in our bodies which is water was the last thing I tried. And it proved to be the only thing that did the trick in satisfying what my body needed.
In our world today, we are constantly on a never ending search for fulfillment, happiness, and satisfaction. Money, cars, houses, alcohol, relationships, sex, electronics…you name it, we want it. This constant need for satisfaction within us has been capitalized on by businesses and Hollywood. The world tells us so many things that are sure fire cures to us finding our joy in life. Just turn on your television for proof of this.
The world will say, “If you are down, then you just need to go to the bar and have a few drinks.”
But the reality of that situation is that although it may satisfy you for a few hours, you wake up the next morning feeling worse than you did with the same problems you had when you decided to have a few.
The world will say, “You need to find your happiness and satisfaction in sexual fulfillment or in a relationship.”
But the reality of that is just as fleeting as a person who looks for fulfillment in drinking. Pursuing sex or a relationship as a means to make a person happy will provide a temporary pleasure that will leave you longing for more.
The world will say, “If you only had more money, you would be happier.”
But ask anyone who has alot of money if they are satisfied. They may tell you they are, but their constant need to consume more and more things proves that they are not satisfied. Just as with drinking and pursuits of sex, the are left wanting more.
They are left still feeling……thirsty.
So why is it that we are never satisfied? You may be wondering, “It there anything on this planet that can satisfy the deep longings of my soul? Humanity is never satisfied. We try to fill this void within all of us by looking to the world to meet this need. Sex, money, relationships, alcohol…regardless of what it is, we jump from vice to vice in hopes that finally we will find something to fill the emptiness within our soul. Its like we we keep digging out these water wells that are made by the world to quench our thirst, but that thirst can never be quenched. Because no matter how attractive the wells may seem, they are all broken and cracked. The hold no life giving water for long, so we are left to satisfy ourselves with tiny drops of water at the bottom. Never quenching our thirst and always leaving us wanting more.
But there is a well that is life giving, and that will quench our deep thirsts. The sad thing is, we forsake this beautiful well, full of water, and instead remain insistent on doing things our way. Digging our own wells, and constantly being disappointed. And the Lord pointed this very sin out to Jeremiah….
“for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:12-13.
One of the central messages through out scripture is that Jesus is enough. The Bible practically screams this truth to us. Yet God says that all of our sins and lack of satisfaction in this world can be boiled down to two reasons. That we have forsaken or ignored him, and instead of finding our joy in him that is eternal, we try to create our own happiness, like broken cisterns or wells that never satisfy.
CS Lewis summed this scripture up best;
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”- C.S. Lewis
He compares the human race to a kid who has grown up living in the getto, who had no toy so he had to amuse himself with making mud pies. To this kid who all he has ever known is the getto, making mud pies is a treat. But he has never known the riches of one who could take a vacation at sea, for if he did, he would realize how futile making mud pies was.
An example from my life was seen about three years ago. My son Andy loved his tinker toys and little match box cars. He said that was all he wanted for Christmas. Easy on mom and dad. However, Andy saw a commercial for a video game system and those tinker toys which he so loved were immediately a thing of the past. He had never known or seen anything like this before.
I submit to you that if the Lord Jesus simply pulled back the curtain and we were able to just get a short glimpse of the wonders awaiting us in Heaven in his glory, things like money, sex, and drugs would be like staring at a pile of mud pies. We would no longer thirst after the empty, fleeting pleasures of this world because we would see the joy found in Christ. But God doesn’t pull back that curtian, because we are called to live on this earth by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Consider the story of Jesus meeting the woman drawing water at the well:
“Now he (Jesus) had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.
10 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.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 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.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
The woman in the story was seeking out the world to fulfill her needs. She was looking to the world instead of God to meet her satisfaction. And Jesus used the analogy of water to make his point because she was drawing water. I find it so amazing that Jesus meets people where they are, and explains himself as God to them in ways they can relate to! This encounter recorded in scripture is amazing and drives home the point of what I am getting at. Lets look at some things you may not notice right off hand about his story.
Notice in verse 6 that it tells us something very interesting. The verse gives us the time of day, “about noon”. This seems like an inconsequential fact. Why would this be included? What at all does the time of day have to do with this story? Jesus met the woman, who was drawing water from the well, at about noon. Noon is the hottest part of the day. Back in this time, most all of the women went early in the morning before the sun was at its peak to draw their water for the day so that they didn’t have to stand in the intense heat. But for some reason, this woman whom Jesus met was drawing water alone at the hottest part of the day.
Jesus goes on to ask her for some water. To which she is perplexed, because she is a Samaritan woman, and Jesus was a Jewish man. And Jews were known not to associate with Samaritan’s. As you can read in the verse, their conversation continues and Jesus points out to her that people will continue to return to the well daily, because they will continue to be thirsty. But Jesus tells her that if she would only drink the water he was offering, she would never thirst again.
Jesus wasn’t literally speaking of a new water that is better than Gatorade in quenching thirst. He was speaking of the woman finding her satisfaction in God rather than in the things of this world, which he proved she was doing. Jesus asked her to go and bring her husband to meet Jesus, to which she replied that she had no husband. Jesus through their conversation walked her into bringing her mind to the broken well she was seeking after in a means to find happiness, yet she found none.
Jesus, without her even telling him, told her of her sin. That she was right when she said she had no husband currently, but she had previously been married five different times and each marriage failed. And further more, currently she was living with a man out of wedlock. She was seeking ,with all that she had, happiness from relationships and sex. And each time she was left disappointed and hurt.
The reason she was drawing water at noon was because of her terrible reputation of sleeping with men around town. So she did not draw her water with the other women in the morning so she wouldn’t be sneered at. Instead, she avoided the harshness of others by going to get her water at a time when she would see no one.
Towards the end of their conversation, the woman thinks Jesus must be a prophet, and acknowledges that she knows some about the scriptures and that she knows that the Messiah is coming one day. And Jesus responds to her, “I am he.”
Jesus was telling her that the water she was drinking would always leave her thirsty. But that if she replaced the sins which she sought after with seeking after God, then the deepest thirsts of her heart would be quenched eternally!
In John 6:35, Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life. Again, addressing the fact that those who hunger and thirst after the things of this world will ultimately be left wanting, and that He was the only thing under the sun that will bring lasting contentment.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35.
In Isaiah, the Lord makes again this same comparison to Jesus being the true giver of joy:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”Isaiah 55:1-2.
That question should ring out in our ears. Why, as is addressed in Isaiah, do we continue to spend our time and money on the things of this world that have been proven not to satisfy and only leave us wanting and thirsting for more? The Lord offers nourishment for our souls with no cost. Only that of our faith and obedience is required. Yet people will continue to seek their fulfillment in the fleeting pleasures of this world. John Piper put it best when he once said that its like we are eating dirt and trying to suck the nutrients out of the filth of the ground when all the while we are surrounded by beautiful fruit trees ripe for the picking. God is all around, and he offers so much more than any alcoholic beverage, relationship, or wealth could ever offers. He offers something this world cannot; that is contentment.
Why do we do this? Why do we continue to yearn after things and remain unsatisfied? We all know deep down that we are searching for something. We know that we all have this void within us. Yet we dont know how to fill it! So we try out all the worldly pleasures that can only satisfy temporarily before leaving us empty again. But we all know that our souls seek something. You may now find yourself seeking it in the company of another person, or in a quick buzz or high, or maybe something else. But it never lasts. What is it that our souls are craving?
I think it goes all the way back to Genesis…to the beginning. When the Lord created the Garden of Eden as a perfect paradise. There was yet to be any sin in the world. Just creation, and Adam and Eve. There in the garden, all was perfect and untarnished by sin. There were relationships without lust, there was drink without drunkenness, there was no jealousy, no strife, no pain, no sin, and they walked with God daily in close, personal relationship. But when sin was brought into the Garden by their rebellion against God, it shattered everything.
And at some very deep level…….our souls remember this. And we are desperately trying to get back to the Paradise we lost.
Listen to the words of the Psalmist…..
“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2.
Are you thirsty right now in the midst of your life? Have you constantly been seeking after happiness and cannot figure out why your pursuits yield no fruit? Pin point the well from which you have been drinking? What is the name of your fountain? Relationships? Family? The party lifestyle? Or maybe money? You cannot satisfy the deep longings of your soul with that which is sinful. You cannot fill the eternal void within you with something that is not eternal! There is a void…a chasm within all of us that can only be filled by a relationship with Jesus. He is the bread that will fill us. He is the water that will quench us. He is the answer to the emptiness that haunts us daily. Following Jesus doesn’t mean we will never experience hardships. But rather, he promises that when they come, we can face them with joy, because we have found our treasure in Him despite this broken would.
What Can Wash Away My Sin, Nothing But The Blood of Jesus,
What Can Make Me Whole Again, Nothing But The Blood of Jesus.