THIRST: Psalm 63:1; Matthew 5:6
Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”
Most of us have no idea what it means to be really thirsty. When your tongue swells until you choke on it, your throat closes making it almost impossible to breathe, your head aches, your lungs hurt, and you feel you will surely die if you cannot find water, even a thimble full would be adequate. In Luke 16, the rich man is experiencing real thirst when he calls for Father Abraham to send Lazarus with some water. And he is not so presumptuous as to ask for a cup full. Just the amount of moisture Lazarus can get on the tip of his finger to cool his tongue. That’s real thirst!
The story is told of a man walking down a lonely path in India when he meets a holy man, “How can I find God,” he asked. Whereupon the holy man grabbed him and plunged his head under water in a nearby stream. He held his head under water until he was fighting with all his might for a breath of air. Pulling him of the water, the holy man said, “When you want God as much as you wanted breath, then you will find him.”
How thirsty are you? How much do you want to be “filled with all the fullness of God?” (Ephesians 3:19).
Water is not a luxury, it is an absolute necessity. In Jesus day, and most likely it is still true today, people in the Middle East guarded their wells with their lives, because their wells meant life or death for an entire village or city. Every town was built around a well. Oftentimes walls were built around the well before they walled the city, protecting their water above even their own safety.
Bible people experienced real thirst:
The drought at Rephidim. “And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’” (Exodus 17:3).
The drought of unbelief. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you” (Deuteronomy 28:47,48).
During a siege. “Does not Hezekiah persuade you to give yourselves over to die by famine and by thirst, saying, ‘The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria’? Has not the same Hezekiah taken away His high places and His altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You shall worship before one altar and burn incense on it’? Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands in any way able to deliver their lands out of my hand?” (2 Chronicles 32:11-13).
During Paul’s journeys. “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless” (1 Corinthians 4:11).
“In weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting’s often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:27).
Jesus on the cross. “I thirst” (John 19:18).
In John 4:1-26 Jesus is talking with a woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria. He is thirsty from His long journey, so He asks this woman for a drink, in doing so He is breaking a powerful social barrier that stood between men and women, as well as Jews and Samaritans. “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’ The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’”
Jesus links thirst with righteousness in Matthew 5:6, ”Blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting for being right with God, for they and they alone are the ones who are being filled” (My paraphrase). Like water, righteousness is not a luxury it is a necessity! Our physical life depends on food and water to maintain our physical strength. Our spiritual life depends on righteousness to maintain out spiritual strength. We are “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).
THE INNER MAN:
The inner man has a sense of sight. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). Our LORD lamented in Mark 8:18, that his disciples had “eyes, but they could not see.” The Lord’s counsel for the church at Laodicea was, “anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). Remember there are none so blind than those who will not see. Jesus said, “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13) And, “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not…”(Jeremiah 5:21).
The inner man has a sense of hearing. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear let him hear” (Matthew 11:15). That was regarding John the Baptist, but it is a truism. Christ’s sheep hear His voice, “The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:3,4). Sheep will not follow the voice of a stranger! Immature believers are said to be “Dull of hearing.” “Of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:11,12). When someone goes off into false doctrine, you can be assured he does not belong to the Shepherd!
The inner man has a sense of taste. “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8). “If indeed you have tasted that the LORD is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3). Thirst is described as a strong inner desire, craving, longing, yearning, and to want greatly. It is the motivating factor of one’s life. Every one has a life principle, the one thing in life that controls every thought, action, and attitude, it is that for which we thirst. It may be that the motivating factor of your life is, pleasure, comfort, safety, work, family, success, riches, or even religion. Our mantra in life is, “What’s in it for me?” “What am I going to get out of this?” “Is it going to be fun?” “Will I be in any danger?” What motivates you? The believer should be, first and foremost, seeking after being right with God! “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Our priority as believers is God’s righteousness.
Are you thirsty? “Blessed are those who are hungering and thirsting for being right with God, for they and they alone are the ones who are being filled” (Matthew 5:6). “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1). “I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land” (Psalm 143:6).
Today the church seems to be as thirsty as the world! We are a people who are dying of thirst. What is needed is a heaven-sent revival, an unprecedented visitation of the Spirit of God to shake-up the church! In Acts 3:5, Peter and John are at the Temple, a man who had been crippled from birth looked at them…“expecting to receive something from them…” A thirsty world is looking at the church “expecting to receive something…” What do we have to give them? Feuding, fighting, fussing, politics, weak preaching and teaching, socials, and on and on. Or are we so concerned about not offending and meeting their comfort level and their “felt needs” that we fail to tell then exactly what God says?
In John 5, a lame man has lain beside the Pool of Bethesda for thirty-eight years waiting to get into the water at the time the angel stirs the water for healing. So what’s the problem? Here’s the healing water. Here’s the angel stirring the water. Here’s the lame man, why is he not healed? When he is asked, “why?” He says, “Sir, I have no man.” He had to be lifted into the healing waters. The church seems impotent to provide someone to lift hurting people into the healing waters of God’s salvation.
Jeremiah 3:2, “The showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain.”
Jeremiah 2:13, “For my people have committed two evils, they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and have hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
Jude 12, “They are clouds without water.”
2 Peter 2:17,18, “These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
What do we have to give a hurting, thirsty world? God’s righteousness! But we cannot give what we do not have! The church needs to pray for the refreshing showers of God to come. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12).
We have these promises:
Psalm 65:9, “You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water…”
Psalm 72:6, “He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, like showers that water the earth.”
Psalm 107:9,”For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Psalm 107:35, “He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into water springs.”
Isaiah 44:3, “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.”
Isaiah 55:1, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…”
Genesis 26:18,19 finds the children of Israel redigging the wells of Abraham that had been stopped up by the Philistines. The wells were there! The water was there! But the wells were filled with debris. Too many in this hurting world are living so close to the water, but they are dying of thirst. So many of God’s people are within reach of the living water, but are still thirsty for a touch from God.
John 7:38 MSG, “On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.’”
Our wells are so clogged with the cares of life; lives filled with self-indulgence, bad habits, bad attitudes, lives filled with unconcern about a hurting world, that the living waters can’t flow. Let’s mend the broken cisterns and dig out the clogged wells and allow the refreshing waters of life to flow freely from us to a thirsty world.
Jesus I am thirsty, won’t You come and fill me.
Earthly things have left me dry, Only You can satisfy.
All I want is more of You.
–Don Harris and Martin Nystrom, 1993–
Permission is hereby granted to use any of Dr. John Sparks’ materials. If this message was helpful, please E-Mail me: email@example.com