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  • Writer's pictureR.C. VanLandingham

Quenching Our Thirst

Is there anything quite like the smell of a new car. Isn't it wonderful? The elation of a new car for an adult is about as exciting as the elation a child receives when he rips open colorful packages on Christmas morning. Oh the joy! But sadly it doesn't last. The new car smell wears off after a while and then you're driving the same old car. For children on Christmas it's even faster. No sooner has the last gift been opened than the children are asking "aren't there anymore presents?"

The other day as we drove home from the park, my wife talked to my children about fulfillment. Like the rest of us, my kids think the next toy, vacation, or a new movie will make them truly happy. Adults are the same way. We think "If only I had that [insert: car, job, smart phone, salary, relationship] I'd be happy." But it's not true and we know it's not true, because we have been thinking that since we were kids. Ever since we were children we have wanted something new, more than anything else in the world, and once we got it we were so excited. But the excitement wore off, and normally it didn't take long. After the newness was gone and it became the same old same old, we tired of it. It's like a thirst that can never be quenched so we have to keep going back for more water.

Hollywood tells us that love and romance will fulfill us. Find the perfect match, fall madly in love and I will finally be happy! But the newness of romance can wear off just like the newness of a car. Even our spouses and children--no matter how much we love them--cannot completely satisfy us. When we try to find our fulfillment in our spouses we end up disappointed. Then we begin to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side, and that never leads to anywhere good. When we try to find our fulfillment in our children we either end up spoiling them into materialistic little monsters, or burning them out on our own hopes and dreams as we try to live vicariously through them. Neither is a good scenario.

The truth is that we can never be completely fulfilled or truly happy with anything this world has to offer. That is because we were created to long after God. As Pastor Kris Langham of Through the Word Ministries puts it, "We all have a Jesus shaped hole inside of us." Christ is the only thing that can fulfill us and when we attempt to satisfy our longings for Him through materialistic and carnal means, not only will we remain unfulfilled, but we will fall further away from Him. Think about that. The more you attempt to find fulfillment in something other than Christ, the more you will move away from the only thing that will truly fulfill you. Trying to find fulfillment in your career will not only be futile--causing you to continuously search for a "better" job--but can also lead to jealousy and selfish ambition, two things that Christ's brother James tells us will lead to "disorder and every vile practice." (James 3:16). Trying to find fulfillment in the newest car or bigger house will not only eventually lead to disappointment when the newness wears off, but that sort of materialistic thinking often leads to the sins of greed, pride and envy, pulling you even further away from Christ. And of course, any time we worship something other than God, be it a car, job, or even our family, we commit the sin of idolatry.

Why do we do this? We are like the Samaritan woman returning to the well day after day to draw water to quench her thirst. Then Christ comes along and tells her that He can provide living water to quench her thirst and she "will never get thirsty again." (John 4:14). Too often we ignore the living water offered by Jesus preferring to go back to the well to draw water that will only quench our thirst for a short time. Then when we get thirsty again, we have to go and find more water. Are we not tired of thirsting? Are we not tired of going back to the well, time and time again? Quit searching for fulfillment in worldly possessions and carnal pursuits. Go to Jesus, seeking the living water that will satisfy your thirst forever. If you truly seek it with a humble and open heart, He will not deny it to you. He will fill you with "a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:14). Once filled with living water, we no longer seek fulfillment from this world for we know that we are not of this world. We become content, no matter our situation. (Phil 4:10-12).

Today's prayer:

Lord, I am so tired of the thirsting for fulfillment in this world. I am so tired of returning to the well over and over to only to be thirsty again soon after. Please fill your servant with the living water of the Holy Spirit so that I may never thirst again, and will find contentment in this world as I await the next.

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