Gentleness & respect were the key this week (thirst verse 27, living water (The Holy Spirit) v38, efforts to quench this “thirst”, and God’s provision: life in the Spirit) and how people have needs and vulnerabilities. Reflecting on both sides is still on my mind. I have struggled with the sin of murder and how it relates to wars, but when I brought it up for discussion among several people I received responses like “Why would you say that?” or other hurtful things.
Great context here too as the basic need of water during the feast of Tabernacles (“tents”), which is similar to our current Thanksgiving. Water was drawn from a well (potentially can get stale) or a stream (living water – The Holy Spirit) who quenches our thirst when we ask “there must be more to life.”
The practice of trying to figure out important life questions directly addresses the “thirst” here. The sermon explained the progression of brokenness to sin (separation from God). In our brokenness, we often seek other things besides God. We get so involved in these things that we might get to key points. Is this it (the pinnacle)? Did I go deep enough? Do I need to be more daring?
Proverbs 26:11 New International Version (NIV)
As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
Gauging our own desires is much harder than identifying them. Gauging them without God as our authority is a bleak state. Gentleness and respect go a long way, but unfortunately get overlooked amid this influence “wave” in our world. So many people/cultural elements give us the “OK” to do things we know God does not want us to do. This empty place can only be filled by God.
The toughest part of brokenness for me was feeling like a failure during times I was unemployed. Busyness, media and self-worth are other big ones for me…still bring struggles that can echo the term “addictions” or “inclinations” (substances or activities…fill in the blank – ask what do I spend the most time doing?). These past months were an important breakthrough (drastic reductions in writing jobs, magazines recycled instead of keeping around to sell as back issues, etc.). I’ve had a renewed “share my time” mantra lately, which has greatly helped me with a big one – scheduling…finding/making time to meet with people when asked.
It’s a joy and a familiar theme when I went to church in grade school. The Good News! – “let me tell you about Jesus.” We cannot be complete and quench our thirst without Him. God takes these issues at all times and says “I Love you any way”. No matter our state, God is that endless, all-knowing being for us.
Music to consider: two sides of the coin “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones and “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”. Note: This music just comes from what I’m thinking of while listening to the sermon.