It doesn’t take much to remind us we are thirsty and to find the means to quench it. Whether we snuggle up with a steaming mug of coffee, hot chocolate or herbal tea on a cold winter’s day, or gulp down cool, refreshing glasses of water, juice or lemonade in reaction to increasing heat, we can easily satiate that need.
But we might be less aware of our inner soul thirst. Not just the drives and desires, the passions that fuel and fire our activities, but a gnawing spiritual awareness of our emptiness and how to fill it.
Even if our eyes are opened, we might choose to satisfy the insatiable thirst inside with physical things or with compulsive behaviour that could end up harming us, if not our purse.
During my recent stint in the soul desert wilderness, it took me a while to register my need to reach out to God and to realise how thirsty I was. At first, I was too lost in my thoughts. Too pulverised by fatigue, weakness and pain, and too discouraged to see light at the end of the tunnel.
A voice calls across the desert
sitting in our souls,
encouraging us to listen,
to pause and bend down low,
prepare ourselves to drink
as much as we might need
from a Well that never dries out,
from the Fountain of Life himself,
from a place where all must kneel
in order to receive
because we thirst for more
than life’s bare necessities.
And we come as life’s lost
and lonely wounded ones,
the broken people
who are depleted and undone,
barren, empty and incomplete
and dying on our feet,
because our souls have shrunk
to fit the world we’re in
instead of being wholly
comfortable in our own skin,
as it stretches to the heavens
and back again.
In the desert of depression and ditches of discouragement we get into, we can be slow to cotton on to the fact that God is already present with us in our struggles. He tries to attract our attention in numerous ways, yet we can be too self-preoccupied or stressed to notice. We thirst, but we don’t always know what for.
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – Jeremiah 31:25 NIV
God might lead us into the desert for some necessary soul maintenance work, as He did with me, but He won’t abandon us to our fate. Rather, He stays, encourages, whispers hope and healing to our hearts and gently leads us out again when the time is ripe.
Then when we emerge from the desert, from our painful places, we discover our thirst for God’s presence has grown. We thirst for His Word and His voice. He is the Well we keep searching for, and it never runs dry.