Longing. Desire. A need to be satiated. Quenched.
Such a basic need it is, to satisfy the feeling that parches our tongue and grips our lips. And probably because it is such a need, we don’t lack experiences of knowing thirst. I mean, not the half conscious drive to flippantly fill up a plastic tumbler from the kitchen faucet each morning only to take a few sips and dump the rest down the drain. But thirst. The kind that makes your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth and then feels like its swelling. The kind that makes you wonder how many more breathes you can breathe before its going to hurt. The kind that makes your mind start thinking illogically (creatively?) about how to attain water. The kind that stay etched in your memory forever.
Those times – the times where there wasn’t much we wouldn’t do for a sip of water – remind of what it means to be lacking of the most essential longing. When parched, there is little thought given to anything, save the solution. We know the pain, we want relief.
But my soul – my heart. Have I allowed it to thirst?
It has longed for unfulfilled desires. It has hurt when it felt it lacked. It has felt what I thought “soul thirst” to be.
I am afraid I have stood in the way too often. Thinking I was filling the empty cup of my heart with quenching things. But really? Looking back, I wonder if the “things” – the sometimes good things – are what my soul needed. Were they indeed the things for which my heart was desperately begging? When plans seemed to be crushed and dreams and hopes felt broken, was “re-assessing” and re-writing MY five year plan adequately filling the dry vessel of my heart? Was telling and re-telling the pains that made my soul feel dry allowing me to truly thirst?
Maybe I just needed to be reminded of the cry of David’s heart in Psalm 63 –
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.”
To thirst means to hope. To know there is satisfaction. To know there is an answer to the undesirable pain I am now experiencing. May I seek to only be satisfied in the only thing that can quench my soul thirst.
And may I stop trying to fill up the longing places of my heart with an empty pitcher.