When my friend (the heroine of my previous blog story) told me she had a word for the year, I thought maybe I’d like one, too. She said I’d know my word when I found it. She said it would spring naturally from time spent with God.
She didn’t tell me I might not like my word.
My word jumped out at me with a clarity I couldn’t deny. There it was, on the cover of one of the journals an artist named Bethany King had crafted from a discarded book. Shining silver letters on royal blue fabric: Thirsty.
Who wants to be thirsty?
Now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I do.
Just let me be the right kind of thirsty.
What kind of thirsty are you?
Empty thirsty was me as a newborn baby. Feeling a longing, feeling an emptiness, lacking a word for it. And clueless about how to get my needs met. I wailed and flailed and knew not why.
I meet a lot of people who are empty thirsty. Unable to understand their thirst, they stagger from one watering hole to another, seeking something to satisfy this painful emptiness.
They’re like children licking icicles dripping off a dirty roof, or caffeine addicts who drink coffee ‘til they’re dehydrated. Slaking their thirst in all the wrong places.
Dry thirsty is me on the hottest day of our Boundary Waters trip. I knew exactly what I needed: clean, filtered water. But I didn’t have any more. Now I was dry. Maybe it was my fault; maybe it was just the lay of the land.
True, I didn’t want to take time to filter water from the waterfall we passed. No, no; let’s hurry on to get that last campsite before someone beats us to it. (They beat us to it anyway.)
However, at the point along the trail where I drank my last drops, we were too far away from that cool, clear, oh-so-watery waterfall. I couldn’t make water materialize wherever I wanted it.
This is the thirst of those who have often known true satisfaction, but are traveling through a desert of the soul. Maybe they made a choice to try to hurry on without taking fresh sips from the spring at every opportunity. Or maybe being stretched beyond previous endurance just comes with the path they’re on.
Satisfied thirsty is me after the dry spell. It’s me after drinking my fill of freshly filtered lake water— beside the campsite we finally found. It’s me so delighted with the taste of that water that I’m filling my bottle with more. Not because the first drink wasn’t good enough or filling enough. But because it was so delicious, so perfectly satiating, I want to make sure I get more soon. I’m filling bottles as fast as I can, because I want everybody nearby to have plenty.
Thankfully, that’s where I find myself right now. Found the water, camped by the lake. Not cluelessly longing. Not passing through desert wastelands. Just satisfied thirsty.
I’m thirsty for righteousness. I want to see evil die and good reign—in my world, and in my heart. I have it on good authority that this thirst will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
I’m thirsty for purpose. I love how my life has meaning because it’s a life given by God. It’s a marvelous adventure of faith, lived out in moments both mundane and remarkable. My significance isn’t tied to my possessions or my success/failure rate. It’s anchored in Jesus Christ.
I’m thirsty for more of Jesus.
Now, that’s the real reason I’m satisfied thirsty. Years ago, I learned that the empty longing I felt was thirst for God. I missed Him, and He missed me. My sins had ruined our relationship. But He made a way for me to be washed clean and to belong with Him forever. He did it all through the life and death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
In Him I’m satisfied thirsty. I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good. In Him I’ve found the spring from which all my thirsts can be supplied. Love, belonging, life, meaning, freedom, immortality, hope, peace . . . It’s all in Him. He’s the Living Water we’ve all been thirsting for.
So that’s why I wrote this today: I’m passing out water.
If you’re empty thirsty, here’s Good News about how you can find satisfaction for your deepest thirst in Jesus Christ. Don’t settle for anything less than Him anymore.
If you’re dry thirsty, take this as one little sign that God hasn’t left you to wither on the road. He’s walking with you even when it’s high noon and He’s casting no shadow. Water is up ahead. Keep going, my friend. (Hab. 3:17-19)
And if you’re satisfied thirsty, dance in the fountain!
Celebrate this place on your trail where the lake is deep and wide, where the peace you know in your soul matches the peace you feel in your heart.
Then start filling water bottles and pass ‘em on.