Each of us can go for days without food but not without water.
Thirsts of all kinds steer our lives, sending us here and there for some relief, some refreshing satisfaction, no matter how brief, that slakes the thirst within.
The Psalmist captures the desperation of thirst in the image of a deer, pursued by predators crashing through the underbrush of a forest, using its vital moisture internally in a flight from danger. So thirsty is the deer it pants for water, not a stagnant supply caught in a hollow stump, but clean, running water fresh from a spring, the hidden source of life for the forest itself.
And so are we; pursued by our soul’s predator, aching and dry within but unable to rest from the chase, dreaming of, longing for, the water-brooks. Panting in prayer for a taste of strength from the spring we know to be somewhere in these woods.
And so was Jesus in His passion,
- pursued by the sins of mankind,
- hounded by nasty little demons at His every step,
- secure in His own soul, the outcome never in doubt, but
- submitted to the mission.
The mission demanded that He experience the terrible thirst of being human. He who made all deer must know the terrible thirst of the panting prey crashing through the underbrush.
All during his earthly life, Jesus had known thirst
- from the breast of Mary,
- to the cool drink of water in the heat of the day in the carpenter’s shop,
- to the mid-day water break at the well in Samaria.
Spiritually though, He always knew where to find the Spring. Faithfully the record tells His story: He arose a great while before day to find a solitary place of prayer—that’s where the living water was found—in the Father’s presence. Each day’s Messiah-work demanded a fresh supply of this Living Water, flowing freely in prayer with His Father.
When the Water Ran Dry
His passion brought Him to the place where, like the prophet’s brook, the Divine supply dried up. On the cross, His Father somehow had to leave Him thirsting.
- “Why have You forsaken Me?” was the cry of a parched soul.
- “I thirst.”
And the soldiers gave Him what they had—wine spoiled and bitter. He tasted and then refused the rest. He had had enough. Bowing His head He committed His soul to the Father, dying from our thirst for life.
That was not the end of course. He now promises to each of us that if we will but hunger and thirst, we will be filled. “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink.”
And we do. We come to Him this morning and He pours us another cup of life, sufficient for whatever the day may bring.
John 7:37-39 NIV
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 19:28-30 NKJV
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Psalm 42 NIV
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, … Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Lord Jesus, my thirst is deep. By your provision my storehouse is full; there is nothing my body needs that You have not provided. Yet within me still is a thirst, a thirst for You—for Your kindness, forgiveness, and continuing grace. This thirst itself is a great gift from Your heart to mine. Save me from other thirsts, those sweet-tasting things that end up bitter on my tongue and sick in my soul. Righteousness—that is my thirst and my hunger, so here I am at the Spring. Fill me now, Dear Lord!
Fill Me Now
Words: Elwood Stokes; Music: John Sweeny
1. Hover o’er me, Holy Spirit, Bathe my trembling heart and brow;
Fill me with Thy Hallowed presence, Come, O come and fill me now.
Fill me now, Fill me now, Jesus come and fill me now;
Fill me with Thy hallowed presence, Come, O come and fill me now
2. Thou cans fill me, gracious Spirit, Though I cannot tell Thee How;
But I need Thee, greatly need Thee, Come, O Come and fill me now.
3.I am weakness, full of weakness, At Thy sacred feet I bow;
Blest, divine, eternal Spirit, Fill with power and fill me now.
4. Cleanse and comfort, bless and save me, Bathe my heart and brow;
Thou art comforting and saving, Thou are sweetly, filling now.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved