Stay thirsty my friend


I’ve been thinking about thirst and being thirsty. Hydration has become ubiquitous in American culture. For example, I’ve watched athletics change from my high school football days where water breaks were minimized because it meant you were soft to watching current college players carry around gallon jugs of water or sports drink during the day to replace fluids lost during practice.

The very meaning of “thirsty” has even changed. According to The Awl, it now means that you are seeking attention through social media, particularly if you are a male inflicting uninvited attention on a female to get a response. The girl may reply that you are thirsty, at which point you should be embarrassed. When I asked my 17-year-old son for a definition last night, he said simply, “It means you want a girlfriend.”

Jesus also spoke a great deal about thirst. This has me wondering, “Are they all the same?” What if our body’s daily need for water points to our fundamental biological requirement for daily communion with our creator? What if God made us this way to continually remind us of him? What if he desires relationship with us so much that he programmed us with a physical reminder of our reliance on his provision? What if our perpetual desire for attention and our constant striving for… whatever… the thing that never quite satisfies is a doomed attempt to replace our loving father? What if thirst is thirst is thirst and it all points to God?

Are you thirsty? How about during those quiet moments just before sleep or just after waking? Do you sense something missing? Do you feel like there is something… more?

Let’s go to the Bible and follow the arc of thirst from the beginning to the never-end. It starts at the creation story and water.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah points forward in time to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. This is what God proclaimed through Isaiah about the arrival of his son and the deliverance of his people from the bondage of sin.

They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them beside springs of water. (Isaiah 49:10)

When Jesus began his ministry, he taught us who he is and how to live seeking him through the sermon on the mount. He began this comprehensive teaching by sharing characteristics that would be rewarded, the beatitudes. The fourth is:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

Jesus told us that, in him, our thirst can finally be quenched. In John 4 we hear the same message through Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

In Revelation, we are given a picture of the future of the church, the family of believers in Jesus as the one and only savior. Here’s what we are promised:

16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ (Revelation 7:16-17)

You were born with a basic need for Jesus. He is calling to you in every way possible throughout each day to join in intimate relationship with him. Stay thirsty my friend. Jesus desires to share his living water with you!


About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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