The Gift of Spiritual Thirst (And Nine Ways to Find Your Well)
According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, up to 60% of the human adult body is water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and bones are 31%.
We are made of water.
We need water to sustain us.
This truth complements what we know about our spiritual selves. Like the invisible water in our bodies––
We are made of spirit.
We need God’s Spirit to sustain us.
God gave us a physical and psychological mechanism to help us with our water intake. He gave us the finely regulated gift of thirst.
He also gives us the gift of spiritual thirst. Most of us know what it’s like to feel “spiritually dry.” In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”
David knew the feeling too.
“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
But there’s good news (because there’s always good news).
Thirst has a purpose.
God designed us to thirst so that we would not perish. Thirst reminds our bodies of what they need to live–– primarily water. Other things may try to disguise themselves as adequate hydration. But the sugar in some beverages and the caffeine in others is not what our bodies need. They need WATER.
And so it is with our souls. We need God and Him alone. When David wrote Psalm sixty-three, he was in the desert. But he wasn’t just in a geographical desert. He was in a desert of the soul. King Saul and his army were after him. He was living in isolation, away from family, trying to survive.
Sometimes our days feel like we’re trying to survive. Today’s enemy may not be carrying a sword, but just because it’s more subtle doesn’t mean it’s less real.
Pressured to perform.
The world is big, and we’re painfully aware of how little control we have over it.
We. Are. Thirsty.
And yet, what if we saw our thirst as a gift? Our parched souls help us realize that satisfaction and true refreshment can only be found in God. The desert brings clarity.
So, we know we’re thirsty, and we need a figurative drink. What next?
We find a well.
It’s a good thing Scripture tells exactly where to find one. In John 7:37-39 of the Amplified Bible we hear these words of Jesus:
“If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, from his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.”
When we go to Jesus… cling to Him, trust Him, rely on Him…He promises that we will never be thirsty again. Somehow, in a way that is a mystery, He places living water inside us.
As the Message version puts it:
“Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me….”
Metaphors and figurative language like “wells” and “rivers” paint beautiful word pictures. But they’re not always helpful when it comes to application.
How do we really cleave to Jesus?
Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Pathways: Nine Ways to Connect with God proposes that we each have different ways of connecting with God.
Naturalists- feel close to God in nature.
Activists- love God through action (working for justice, interceding with prayer.)
Caregivers- love God by tangibly tending to others’ needs.
Enthusiasts- love God through mystery and celebration.
Contemplatives- meditate on God and adore Him.
Intellectuals- feel close to God as they engage their minds in study.
Sensates- love God with their senses.
Traditionalists- draw near to God through ritual and symbols (liturgical prayer, fasting.)
No one pathway is more sacred than another. Each one is unique because God designed each of us uniquely. Pursuing these pathways is a concrete step toward the well when we are thirsty.
What is your sacred pathway? If you’re not sure, ask Him. Then, experiment! Try one or a combination of things.
My favorite pathway is to combine time in His word with music while I’m outside (or looking outside.) Those three things are the perfect trifecta for me.
May we passionately pursue our sacred pathway(s). If we do, we will avoid the natural dehydration that happens daily, and we’ll have a tall, long drink ready for when life takes us through the desert.
Would you pray with me?