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19th August: Thirst

Jesus stood up and proclaimed, 'If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink'. John 7:37

The trouble with us, working in a temperate climate in a developed country, is that we rarely experience severe thirst. I recently travelled in the sparsely populated vast Chaco region of Paraguay with two companions. Even though one of them was a capable Indian guide, we lost our way, spent a night in the open, and for twenty-four hours had no water to drink. I understood thirst in a new way. The longing for a drink grew and grew until it dominated my mind. I didn't dare to think of water anymore as we travelled slowly on through the arid thorn scrub land. When at last we reached human habitation we were given water, we eagerly drank cupful after cupful until the sensation of thirst began to ease off.

Jesus, as always, used a simple illustration of his own nature and of our need to come to him. 'When you are thirsty, come to me', he cried. Our problem is two-fold: usually we aren't thirsty, and, even if we are, we often go to the wrong water supply (Je 2:13). May I suggest that now, or at least some time today, we stop and switch out of the busy routine of the day long enough to think of Christ and of what life would be like without him. Let's remember that without him we should be totally lost and in chaos. Then let's beg him to fill us today and satisfy that thirst which only he can quench.

I'd like to suggest too that today you take a fresh look at the effects of shock or clinical dehydration on patients. Possibly today you will have the opportunity to watch the urgent rehydration of a patient. While he is still dehydrated, look at his dry tongue, his sunken eyes and his inelastic skin. Watch the way he breathes, and the restless anxious look on his face. Then, when he is rehydrated, check him again -- what a difference! 'But', we might say, 'that difference is only because there is more water in him'. Precisely -- but remember that he is meant to be well over 70% water!

So with us -- Jesus has come into our lives, and unless he daily fills us and satisfies us we are spiritually dehydrated and in acute need. How tragic that our spiritual dehydration often escapes our notice! One thing is certain: if we thirst for Jesus and cry out to him with longing -- even with desperation -- he will satisfy us.

Lord Jesus, please make me thirsty for you, and then satisfy that thirst.

Further reading: Ps 63. Jn 4:1-14.


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