Empty. Unsatisfied. Restless. Directionless. Unfulfilled. Thirsty. If I’m honest, this is how I often feel with many areas of my life. I get the feeling from talking to other people that I’m not alone in this. Although we look great on the outside and most of us answer the question, “How are you?” with “I’m good!” the truth is, on the inside, many of us don’t really feel like our lives are knocking it out of the park.
In John 4, (click here to read it for yourself), Jesus meets a woman at a well and asks her for a drink. She says, “why are you asking me for a drink?” He responds by telling her that if she knew who he was, she would ask him for “living water.” Continuing to be confused by what Jesus is saying (which appears to be a pattern in the Gospels for many people who talked to Jesus!), she asks him, “How are you going to get ‘living water?’ You don’t even have a bucket!” Then, in John 4:13, Jesus responds by saying this:
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.'”
At this point, I get the feeling Jesus is talking about more than just water. How many times in my life haver I done something, accomplished something, achieved a goal, received a promotion, aced an exam, purchased some great new thing that I’ve always wanted, been excited about it for a short time, and then wanted more? How often do I feel unsatisfied by my house, my car, my clothes, my athletic ability, my job, my checking account, or my amount of popularity/notoriety? Is there any way that I can be fulfilled in this life or is it all just an endless pursuit for more?
According to Jesus, it is possible to reach fulfillment, but there’s only one way: drink the living water he has to offer. He goes on to say in 4:14,
“…but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.”
In other words, stop drinking the kool-aid that bigger is better, money leads to happiness, “going to the right college” will solve all your problems and set you for life, and that you can fill yourself with whatever you choose and be just fine. Every day of my life I’ve drunk that kool-aid, and to this point it hasn’t worked. Why I’m dumb enough to keep returning to the things that just make me thirstier, I don’t know. But maybe someday, maybe today even, I’ll realize all of that is an endless pursuit and I’ll take a swig of the water Jesus is offering.
God, give me the living water Jesus talked about. Nothing else I’m drinking appears to be working.
By the Way…
Our Senior Pastor, Dr. Martin Thielen, started a fantastic sermon series this past week addressing some of the same issues, “The Secrets of a Contented Life.” (Read more about it here.) I told Martin I thought this Sunday was one of his best sermons since he’s been here (listen here), and it was one that challenged me. Anybody within driving range of BUMC should come check out week 2 this Sunday.