We had a bit of a family health scare this fall when my father-in-law was rushed to the hospital. (This is no measly man, either, people—he’s a big-boned firefighter with a fondness for Harleys and construction work.) The culprit? Dehydration. No matter how strong or fit we may be, our bodies need water to survive, and so do our souls.

Dwelling in the book of John over the past year, I’ve been repeatedly knocked on my rear by the claims of Jesus related to water. Here are a couple:

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

(John 4:13-14)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

(John 7:37-38)

Doesn’t that sound great?

Imagine you’re swimming in an ocean of the purest water, not a speck of salt or fish poop to be seen. You dive and play, taking huge gulps of what refreshes your entire being, reveling in your Dad’s love for you. Carefree. Abundant. Joyous. Then imagine you’re in that same ocean of clean, drinkable water, but no matter what, you cannot be convinced that you’re not standing in a desert. Despite the enormity of aqua enveloping you, you’re absolutely certain that you’ll die here among these sand dunes unless you can just find the smallest muddy pool to quench your thirst. So you search anxiously, wearing yourself out, frantically bent on providing for yourself. How foolish. How familiar.

Is it okay for me to admit that I’m an expert in thirsty living?

The King has come with a desire to transform us from perpetual water shortages to mobile drinking fountains. But leave it to me to die parched while swimming in the sea. Only I can’t, because the same God who set me in that sea has compassion. Like Hagar, resigned to perish of thirst in the wilderness, the Lord will open my eyes and I’ll discover the well that’s been there all along.

We weren’t created to be independent; need is built into our DNA. It’s not like requiring water to keep on going is a mark of immaturity or lack of discipline. Acknowledging our desperation for the simplest things is a gift that helps keep us humble, returning with outstretched hands to the God who delights to quench our thirst. Stop trying to convince yourself that you don’t have to have water or that you’ll never get enough. Come to the end of your own efforts—He’s here with longing in His eyes and a guarantee to meet every. single. need.

Where have you been thirsty living, abandoning the water of life and searching for a broken well? Maybe the bathroom scale? How many likes you get? People perceiving your family as perfect? The mirror? The corner office? The boyfriend? The ministry position? Listen: I could become a personal tour guide through the desert, connoisseur of sham saviors that I am. There’s no hope in them. They whisper of comfort, satisfaction, significance, power, love. But the more you drink of them, the thirstier you’ll become.

Think about the promises that are already yours in Christ. What might it look like for you to be saturated in the provision of God when it comes to your biggest struggles? You were never in the sea alone—He walks it. You were never in the desert on your own—He’s still leading His people through it in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. We can’t outrun this Living Water. He’s relentlessly bent on quenching us, filling us up to the utmost with everything we’ve ever needed. Shall we stop fleeing?

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