Hi everyone. Rob here. It has been a long, dry summer here in New Zealand with drought conditions being declared all over the country. This is very unusual for us! Rain is part of life in New Zealand, and certainly in the Waikato where I live. Rain is our lifeblood; it waters our farms, powers our homes and keeps our bush/forests alive and green. While we often complain about it, we can’t do without it. But here we are, in the middle of a big dry, with little relief in sight. I feel like an Australian!
In the spiritual life we sometimes describe ourselves as feeling dry. This is not a bad thing. Feeling dry makes us thirsty. It makes us seek Living Water. The danger is when we get so used to feeling dry that we think of it as normal and we don’t act on our thirst. We stop seeking and forget how to seek. Scripture loses its significance and we allow it to become insignificant. Church becomes a duty and no longer a source of much-needed refreshment. Remaining dry over a prolonged period of time is like a drought on farmland; it is unhealthy and renders us fruit-less, life-less and hope-less.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:10 after he had asked her for a drink from the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you wold have asked him and he would have given you living water.” He goes on in verse 13, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink 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.” Jesus, it seems, doesn’t want us to be dry. He wants us to be filled with his life. He pours his Spirit into us and invites us to drink liberally. Why then do we feel so thirsty so often? Why do we feel like we’re walking through a desert when we’re being offered an endless spring?
I don’t have the full answer but I suspect it’s because we forget to drink. It’s as if we like walking around the spring or looking at it from a distance, but forget to jump in and take in its contents. We like knowing about Jesus or about the Bible or about the Trinity, but to give up our life for God’s, to surrender totally to him, often feels like a step too far. But we want to and that is where we have to start. We confess our desire for God to God; we admit our thirst and that only God can quench it. We confess our desperate need for Christ’s living water. As the psalmist says:
You God are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1-2)
The fact is we will have our thirst quenched. It won’t last forever, but we are invited on this side of eternity to learn how to drink. The living water of Jesus is available to us now and we need to stop accepting poor imitations. Only Christ’s life in us will do. it is the life that is truly life and we will drink from him forever.
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let those who hear say, ‘Come!’ Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the free gift of the water of life (Revelation 22:17).”