Summary: A study of our longing and need for a relationship with God and how only He will satisfy it

1. Title: Thirsty?

2. Text: Isaiah 55; John 4:1-15; 7:37-39, Matthew 5:6; Psalm 84; Psalm 42; et al

3. Audience: Villa Heights Christian Church, AM crowd, April 24, 2005

4. Objectives:

-for the people to understand the importance of longing for a closeness to God and to understand how to better achieve it

-for the people to feel a longing, a yearning to be satisfied by a closeness with God beyond all other things

-for the people to speak of their longing to God, regularly, and to identify in their own lives the cheap substitutes that leave them unsatisfied

5. When I finish my sermon I want my audience to better understand what drives them and to more deliberately pursue a closeness with God like never before

6. Type: textual

7. Dominant Thought: The only thing that will satisfy our deepest longings in life is to receive the free offer of a right relationship with God

8. Outline:

Intro - I was in Jr. High. Our youth group was visiting Artesia Christian College in NM at a summer program they had started. We got to do a lot of neat activities. One that stands out was the day we hiked across the Chihuahuan Desert. It’s a part of what’s called the Guadalupe mountains. We didn’t carry water. We walked along a trail, not off of it. It was safer to stay out of the shade because the rattlesnakes hang out in the shade. It’s also safer because most of the cactus was off the trail. I remember one particularly nasty kind that grows about 8” tall and aims a bunch of spikes right at your ankles. Needless to say, after 1 hour of this, when the buzzards began to circle, we were beginning to question the point of it. “We’re going to a neat place” they kept telling us. It was somewhere around 100 degrees. I was having flashbacks of old westerns I’d seen where the guy stumbles across the desert and starts to see mirages. 2 hours passed. Still not neat. Then, almost 3. Suddenly, there was a greener-looking spot. Sure enough, it was all covered over with short trees and different smells. Then, there it was – pools of beautiful, cold water; swimming holes! And a waterfall - Sitting Bull Falls, they call it. Right out in the middle of the desert, fed by a spring from the ground, there’s this beautiful, cool, refreshing stop. It was also nice because they had some drinks and our lunch there for us too. Boy it felt good to drink a big water and then go stand under a waterfall!

To really appreciate having water, you have to go without it for a while.

I remember Gary Zustiak, talking about some of the things he has learned in traveling overseas. He had a glass of water in front of him and he said, “One thing I learned is that I’ll never take that for granted again. Just a simple glass of water. We’re so fortunate that we have safe water available to us.” He’s right.

We’re down in Haiti last month, and in Gonaives it hasn’t rained since last October. The dust is horrible, and there are 2 seasons in Haiti – Hot and hotter. But the water’s not safe to use. You dare not even rinse your toothbrush in water from a faucet. So, right away, I found myself frequently longing for bottled water. When I did get one, it was gone pretty quickly. It wasn’t always the most comfortable place to be in, because I couldn’t just go get a drink anytime I wanted to.

But, in the Ancient Middle East, you don’t have the inconvenience of having to wait till you can find some place that sells bottled water. In that culture, water is life. People who own wells are people of means. Come to a place where the water is bad or there is no well, and you don’t bother living there. Water is life.

Remember the recent probes on Mars? They’re hoping to establish if there is or was any form of life at all on Mars – and what’s the thing they keep looking for? Evidence of water – because water is life.

It’s to a culture that understands the value of water that God sends the words we read today in Is 55:

Isaiah 55:1

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost

I. Everyone Is Thirsty

Isaiah was giving God’s message to a thirsty nation – not because they lived in the Middle East, but because there was something in their lives that was missing. They had a craving, and didn’t even realize they had it. He says to them in v2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” They understood that food and even water cost them money. God sends this message to a nation that needs more than just water and food, though. They needed a real relationship with God Himself.

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