Summary: Are we really spiritually thirsty enough to seek the Lord?
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
March 14, 2004
Third Sunday of Lent
“What Does it Mean to be Thirsty?”
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever received an invitation to go somewhere or do something, and you didn’t respond to it? Maybe you got a phone call and you said, “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back with you later. But you never did. Maybe you got the invitation in the mail, and it ended up being buried in a stack of mail. You didn’t pay any attention to it. It wasn’t important. Sometimes friends will invite you over for an evening and you say, “Yes, I’d like to do that.” But you don’t. We often receive invitations that we never respond to and later regret it. Sometimes the invitation is given just ONE time; other times you might be reminded SEVERAL TIMES. What do you do with invitations when they come your way? Do you write it on your calendar? Do you make plans? Or do you say, “Ho, hum, that’s not very important to me. No big deal. Skip it.”
In today’s scripture the prophet Isaiah begins with an important invitation. He shouts out, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth come ye to the waters.” It is like, “Listen Up everyone. I’ve got an important announcement to make and it applies to all of you. I want you to take notice of this. Don’t shrug it off.”
On this third Sunday of Lent what is this Old Testament scripture saying and how does it apply to us today? Let’s see.
1. What Does it Mean to be Thirsty?: What does he mean by saying to them, “Come to the waters?” Isaiah often uses word pictures to describe some spiritual truth and water is one that is used over and over both in the Old and New Testament.
In Psalm 42:1, David points this out when he says, “as the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
In another scripture David speaks of spiritual thirst when he says, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you,...in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
Jesus speaks of thirst and water in the New Testament as well. He said, “if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37).
To the woman at the well he said, “everyone who drinks this [natural] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14).
In the natural, we become very thirsty for water on a hot summer day when we are working outside in the yard. The sweat pours down our faces and we say, “I need a big glass of cold water” to quench my thirst. H. G. Wells said every person has a “God-shaped vacuum in his heart--a void that only God can fill.” St. Augustine put it this way, “My soul is restless ‘till it rests in Thee.” They are talking about our spiritual thirst.
Isaiah is giving us an invitation to fill this void, but the requirement for receiving this water is that we have to be thirsty. Are you really thirsty or just a little dry? If you are not thirsty you will pass up the invitation because you won’t sense your need. Isaiah says the invitation includes more than water which we need to survive but also wine and milk which symbolizes nourishment and abundant life. He asks a question to people of that day, “Why do you spend money on that which is not bread?” He is saying, “why are you spending your money on junk food? Things that don’t satisfy you or nourish you or give you abundant life.”
The Lenten season gives us an opportunity to examine our lives. Think about this past week. Where did you spend your money and energy. Was it on what truly satisfies? What things have you spent your money and time on that proved to be unfulfilling?
Are you satisfied to some degree by the world and things around you to the point that you are never very thirsty for the things of God? Sometimes we are spiritually bankrupt, but we don’t realize it. We think that the merit of our works is all that matters and we don’t see the need for Christ in our lives. We get sidetracked and forget all about God.
STORY: A cowboy was riding his horse across the west non stop for California. He and his horse had gone days without sleep. As he rode into one of the few towns on the trip he decided to stop at the local saloon and get a shot of whisky to satisfy his thirst. He realized that since his horse had not slept in a few days it might fall asleep and it might take a few hours to wake him up.