As I knelt this Monday morning in my study, I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Help me. Please come restore my soul.” And then I asked him quietly, “Lord Jesus, what did you mean that those who drink the water that you will give will never thirst again? I thirst this morning. I heard David Livingston say last night that he thirsts. Almost every believer who comes into my office thirsts. What did you mean? Have we not drunk? Is the promise vain?”
And the Lord answered my prayer. He showed me the rest of the verse and shed on it a light I had never seen before. The verse is John 4:14. It begins, “Whoever drinks from the water which I will give to him, will never thirst.” This is what caused me to cry out, “What do you mean! I am so thirsty this morning! My church is thirsty! The pastors coming to our conference this week are thirsty! O Jesus, what did you mean?”
Jesus answered. He answered the only way I know him to answer. He opened my eyes to see what he said in the Bible. I had memorized the verse early Sunday morning for my own soul and for possible use in the pastoral prayer. So as I prayed, the materials of divine communication were in place (O what we forfeit by not memorizing more scripture!).
As I cried out to him, the second half of the verse spoke. Jesus spoke. “But the water which I will give to him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” And with it came an answer to my prayer. Not an audible voice, but the voice of Jesus in the word of Scripture illumined and applied by the Holy Spirit. It went like this:
When you drink my water it doesn’t destroy thirst. For then what need would you have of my water after that? When you drink my water it makes a spring in you. A spring satisfies thirst not by removing the need you have for water, but by being there to drink from when you get thirsty. Again and again and again. Like this morning. Drink, John. Drink.
Now as I sit here writing, I see this precious truth in Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” But we cry out, “O Lord, today I have wants! I know a hundred people who count you their shepherd who have wants. What do you mean? We shall not want.”
But now I have learned a lesson. Cry out and read on. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul.” Re-stores. That means the wants rise, and then Jesus satisfies. They rise again and he re-satisfies. Life is a rhythm of need and nourishment. Even a rhythm of danger and deliverance. “Though I go through the valley of the shadow of death …” It will (again) break forth onto green pastures. And the still waters will flow (again). The spring is even now welling up within. And will for ever.
Thirsting and being satisfied (again),