A blog by Josh Humbert
I have discovered the difference between “just needing a drink of water” and actual, real thirst. So that is how I ended up lying my 6’4” frame across an entire bathroom sink out in the woods beyond Colorado Springs to the surprise of anyone else who walked in.
I was truly and thoroughly thirsty. I needed water. Nothing else.
I was on a family reunion trip with Jessica’s family (this was just after our senior year of high school so we were still dating) and I had been playing different sports non-stop with various groups of her family for about 4-5 hours without filling back up on water. Colorado Springs is not at the highest elevation for sure but my lack of water intake, combined with lots of physical exertion and a little bit of altitude had produced a genuine thirst in me that hit all at once. Actually “hit all at once” is quite tame; the thirst seemed to grab my parched throat like the 4th quarter seemed to grab the Falcons throat when they played the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was rough, ok?
So I ran to the public restroom of the park we were in and I got all of myself on that bathroom counter, turned the sink on full-blast and I drank like never before. You’ve seen those 4th of July hot-dog-eating-contests where Joey Chestnut will eat like 70 dogs in a couple minutes? I was like that… except just drinking sink water.
A random kid came in to actually use the restroom and I remember rolling over and nodding…then rolling back over and continuing to chug. This happened in the summer of 2000 but I’m sure if it had happened in present day, the kid would’ve made me into a meme within minutes.
When it was all over and I had slaked my thirst (is “slaked my thirst” acceptable? Idk, but kinda wanted to use it regardless.) I felt….. amazing. Restored. Refreshed. Renewed. All the good “re” words.
Discovering the true viciousness of thirst had led to a second discovery: the true pleasure of having that thirst completely satisfied.
This is the exact type of sink water theology that the Psalmist makes plain in Psalm 42. I promise you: what he writes in just the first two verses is one of the most incredible pieces of wisdom you can ever find in this lifetime. Here are the words of Scripture:
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God; When shall I come and appear before God?”
Listen, this Psalm has MANY things to teach us like: how to handle despair, how to “preach to ourselves” (I’ve written about that before you can read it here), how to listen to God’s playlist (wrote about that here), and so much more. But if you got time for one thing that is a life-changing truth then check out what he just said:
“My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God.”
Sink Water theology is discovering THAT about your own soul. Your soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. Nothing else. Your soul doesn’t thirst for success, or money, or fame, or sex, or achievement, or whatever else you want to include on the list. Your soul actually and truly and ALWAYS will thirst for one thing: The Living God.
Your soul thirsts for God. It absolutely does.
Sure, you may try and give it other “drinks” like all that was mentioned above. Most of the errors in human history and in our own lives are when we try to satisfy that true thirst with sips of other drinks. Our souls are dry and parched and so desperately in need of the One who created us but we instead try to take our thirst to the temporary, man-made “solutions” of this world. My friend, your soul wasn’t man-made so it won’t be satisfied with something man-made.
Your soul thirsts for God. It always will.
When things are going great, your soul thirsts for God. When you are sinking ever deeper in troubles and despair (as is true of the Psalmist in Psalm 42), your soul thirsts for God.
This is perhaps one of the most monumental discoveries a person can make about themselves.
Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher, once described these verses this way:
“I want something to love, something to lay a hand upon, that shall return the grasp of the hand. A living man must have a living God, or his soul will perish in the midst of earthly plenty, and will thirst and die whilst the water of earthly delights is running all around him. We are made to need persons, not things.”
Don’t get lost in admiring his wonderful usage of “whilst” in that paragraph. I know it’s tempting but stay focused because Spurgeon helps us see it: A living man must have a living God.
Have you experienced “earthly plenty” but a malnourishment of your soul? Have you been dying of soul-thirst when “the water of earthly delights is running” all around you? I can emphatically say “yes” to both questions and I am sure you can too.
The sooner we realize (or remember) the simple fact that our souls thirst for God, the sooner we can actually have the true pleasure of that thirst being satisfied.
Maybe you can identify with younger, dehydrated me right now – spiritually, you are desperate for a deep, long, satisfying drink of pure water. You realize the ache within you is burning thirst. Nothing else will do. You must have water.
I will point you to the One named Jesus. The Living Water. The Love that “shall return the grasp of the hand.” Him.
Jesus went to the Cross to pay for my sin. There is a real and terrible cost for all the times I turn away from God and take my soul-thirst to these temporary things. That is foolish sin and the cost is so much more than I could ever pay.
Jesus said something very interesting while He was dying on that Cross. He said, “I thirst.” Was He physically thirsty while going through the excruciating pain of the Cross? I’m sure. But He was pointing to something else here too.
On the Cross, Jesus was facing a “cosmic thirst.” He was experiencing the complete lack of the soul-satisfying love of God. He was getting the opposite, actually; the wrath of God toward my sin. Jesus was facing the ultimate thirst so that I can now experience the ultimate satisfaction: knowing, experiencing, and enjoying the grace of God.
Tim Keller says it like this:
“It is because Jesus Christ experienced cosmic thirst on the Cross that you and I can have our spiritual thirst satisfied. It is because He died that we can be born again. And He did it gladly. Seeing what He did and why He did it will turn away our hearts from the things that enslave us and toward Him in worship. That is the Gospel, and it is the same for skeptics, believers, insiders, outcasts, and everyone in between.”
His cosmic thirst means my eternal gain. He faced the wrath so I could know the Father’s gracious love. He was thirsty so that I could be satisfied.
Your soul thirsts for God, for the Living God. So come and be filled.
I am not a doctor – this much is probably obvious, but I have read about how differently the human body responds when it has been lacking food versus how it responds when lacking water. When you’ve been without food for a long period of time (maybe on a multi day water-only fast), you must be very careful about what you eat. You cannot overdo it and it is wise to go very, very slow when you reintroduce food to your stomach.
With water and thirst, it’s completely different. It seems pretty simple: if you’ve been without water and you are dehydrated, then DRINK UP as much water as you can! Your body will welcome the reintroduction of water. I can attest to the amazing, restorative power of gulping down great amounts of water. I felt better almost immediately.
So know this: if you can recognize that spiritual-thirst in your own life right now, I encourage you to drink deeply of Living Water. Spend time with Jesus, plain and simple. Read His Word. Spend time praying. Spend time just quietly waiting in His presence. Turn from the false-fountains and drink deeply.
May the discovery of the true viciousness of your soul-thirst lead to a second discovery: the true pleasure of having that thirst completely satisfied.
Thanks for reading. Your comments and insights are always welcomed. If you enjoyed this, please share it. Want more content? Check the archives or listen to me on the Cross-Cutting Culture Podcast on iTunes.