I want to invite you to use your imagination and picture this scene. You’ve decided to hike some trails in the Old Man’s Cave area. It’s a hot July afternoon. By the time you finish the hike, you’ve walked further than you intended to walk and it took longer than you though it would – and you’re just exhausted and thirsty!
As you come to the end of the trail you notice a huge refrigerator with a glass door (like in the convenience stores) filled with bottles of crystal clear springs water. The sign on the door says, “Fee water—help yourself”. So you do. And man does that hit the spot!
As you’re drinking that cool refreshing water you notice a man coming to the end of the trail who looks even more tired and thirsty than you are. To your surprise, instead of coming to the cooler to get this cool, clean, refreshing, free water, he stops at the end of the trail and kneels down to drink from a small “fish pond.”
You passed buy this “fish pond” just a few minutes ago and noticed that it was filled with fish, frogs and Lilly pads. The water was green and murky. Never the less, this guy has his face down to the “fish pond” drinking with all his might. He gags and spits a little, and then drinks some more.
You just cannot believe what you’re seeing! Your curiosity gets the best of you, so you walk over to the “fish pond” holding your bottle of cool, clean water, and you ask the man, “Why are you drinking out of this nasty ‘fish pond?’ Don’t you see that cooler full of free, clean bottled water? You’re going to get sick drinking out of there.”
The man looked up and said, “I saw the cooler, but this ‘fish pond’ was closer and I was really thirsty! Besides, this water is free too, so what’s the difference?”
What would you think about his guy? You would think he was crazy, wouldn’t you?
Well the truth is that we live in a world that is absolutely thirsting for the good, pleasing and refreshing things that God has in store for us. Things like peace, joy, love, purpose and real fulfilment in life.
The truth is that God created us with this thirst, on purpose, so that we would seek after Him.
The problem is that the vast majority of the world, and even a whole lot of Christians, are trying desperately to quench this thirst in life in all the wrong places.
We’re trying to quench our thirst in the “fish ponds” of the world. People think, “If I could just eliminate these problems and stresses. If I could just find a good spouse. If I could get a better job, or have more money, or live in a nicer house – then my thirst would be quenched, and I would finally be happy!”
But the problem is that these “fish ponds” just make us thirstier and more dehydrated, and we pick up nasty parasites like discontentment, jealousy, greed and selfishness.
Yet this is where the vast majority of people are trying to quench their thirst in life; and if we get real honest, this is where many of you have been trying to quench your thirst as well, but you’re still thirsty!
So today I want to encourage you to simply turn to Jesus. God gave you this thirst, to cause you to search for Jesus. Now you can search for Him in several ways – by going to church, spending time in prayer and reading the Bible, and also by finding ways to serve other people. These are all great ways to deliberately turn to Jesus, but understand that this thirst that you have, can only be satisfied by a personal relationship with Him.
This is what Jesus wanted us to know when He said in John 7:37, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me … rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
If you’re thirsty, let me encourage you – don’t drink from the “fish ponds,” turn to Jesus and you will find His “good, pleasing, and perfect will” for your life!
The writer is the pastor of the Sidney First Church of the Nazarene.