Thirsting Heart

I was thirsty. So, so thirsty.

Despite my daily prayer and bible study, I was dehydrated. I was in need a good long soak in scripture, not mere sips.

In seasons of spiritual dryness, I find my own struggle never stems from having had a break from daily prayer and bible study.

Instead, I realise I’m in a drought when I set aside time for these two key things, yet still come away dry.

Is it me? I always wonder.

Typing this now I can see my foolishness in thinking my thirst correlates to my own shortcomings. Whenever the focus is turned to me, it becomes about my own efforts to secure my salvation. But when I strive I do not quench what is inside. On the contrary it is when I die, putting to death my own way to surrender to the cross of Christ, that I find myself alive.

For through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit gives life (Romans 8:2).

How long I sip or soak in scripture does not affect my relationship with God.

My relationship with God is established in Christ righteousness, not my own. I cannot do ‘right’ or make myself ‘right’ with God by following rules. Similarly, my shortcomings do not write me off as a wrongdoer too far gone to be redeemed by Jesus blood. In Christ sin has no power over me, and cannot separate me from the love of God.

A season of feeling dry and empty is not God punishing you or me for our sin.

Instead, it is a cry for mercy. A plea for grace.

Jesus, come.
Spirit, fall afresh. 
Father, have mercy.
Living water, flow!
Come wake me from my sleep.
Stir me. Shape me. Fill me. Sustain me.
Lord, I am thirsty.
To you I come to drink.
Thank you for your blood offering.
That in your mercy I am free.
I am filled.
I therefore cannot be threatened by thirst, nor defeated by dehydration.
You are all I need. Thank you Jesus. 

I mistakingly have thought spiritual dryness, by analogy, has to do with temperature – ‘Am I a lukewarm Christian?

But I realise now that as we transition through this temporal world, the seasons we encounter affect us spiritually.

In certain circumstances our spirits may demand more to drink. Maybe it is a time where we need to grow in trusting. Maybe it is a time where certain desires and pleasures are tempting. I have come to see how external changes can cause a spiritual drought. It is not necessarily our faith walks or internal wars that hinder our hydration in him. It may just be that a season is demanding more dependence on God than we’ve ever had before. I have come to see changing seasons as a reminder to dwell in Christ’s death and life, not mine. I cannot combat my thirst, but I can commit to trusting. 

When we come to the cross of Christ, choosing to surrender no matter our current season or the state our spirit, we find life.

When we start with him, end with him, and fill the rest in with him; there is no room for thirsting.

Spiritual dryness does not demand us to do anything to satisfy our souls. God is constant, unchanging, and his call is to come to be satisfied. I find it fascinating that this call to come, reflected in John 7:37, is spoken by Jesus on the last day of a feast. The ESV literally articulates this as the great day. 

It got me thinking. How often do we find ourselves feasting, mistaking our thirst for hunger? How often do we eat to fill our emptiness? How often do we engage in love feasts, what scripture uses as a term to capture how our hearts idolatries, turning to other things to satisfy our cravings?

Praise be to God, for He knows our tendencies, and He knows what we really need. While we may mistake our cravings, seeking to settle our appetites by turning to other things instead of Him – He extends his cup of suffering to His Son and extends to us the offering to come, drink.

See, it starts with thirst.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” – Jesus (37)

Our thirst is an expression of our longing to believe. 

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,‘” – Jesus (38)

And that is the remarkable thing! The gift God has given us in His Spirit is this stream of steady access – a love poured from his heart to ours. His word is the water our thirsty hearts so desperately need! “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment” (Revelation 21:6)

Lord, we invite you into our seasons of droughts and doubts.
Thank you that we can come to you thirsty, and that we do not walk away empty, because we do not walk away. 
In your presence we remain.
We desire this water of life that only you provide. 
Meet us in our hour of need.
You are the Alpha and Omega. You are coming. 
From your throne and from the Lamb
the water flows
the river of life
– wow –
Let us worship you alone.
Love you alone.
Thirst for you alone.
Drink from you alone. 

Respond from the Heart