One hot afternoon when I was a teenager, a man saw me mowing the lawn and he recognized that I was dehydrated. He gave me his jug of ice water and insisted that I drink as much of it as I wanted. I didn’t realize I was thirsty until I took that first swallow and then I couldn’t stop. I was embarrassed to be drinking all of his water, but he assured me he could get some more and I could drink it all, so I plopped myself under a tree and did just that.
I’ve never tasted anything so good as the water that restored my body that afternoon. However, I have had similar moments when someone offered me other things I couldn’t refuse.
Like right now. I found some music online that is so wonderful! I went ahead and spent money to download the whole album. I should be working on other things… my sermon, letters....an article…, something. I should be calling on some of my people….
At other times, I have had friends that I needed desperately and I took too much from them—time and attention they could have spent on other things, but they gave it to me because I needed it so much.
Sometimes I see the signs in people that they are desperate for… something. They come to church thirsting for the Spirit. I watch them cry softly and soak in the music and the prayers and even the sermon because they need it so much.
In the Bible I see people's thirst when they tried to get near Jesus, like Zaccheaus, who struggled to get through a crowd that didn’t like him. He finally climbed a tree so he could at least see Jesus. Jesus saw him, too, understood his need and went home with him.
I see it in the young woman, Mary, who stayed at Jesus feet, even though others were calling her to her duties. Jesus understood her need and assured her she could stay where she was.
And I see it in Jesus himself, who went without sleep so he could pray. One night he stayed away so long that the people were clamoring for him the next morning when he got back.
What are you thirsting for? Sometimes it takes a long time to realize what we need, ask for it, even to neglect other things in order to reach for it.
The rest of us need to be patient with others and let them stop to get what they need. And I think sometimes we are the ones designated to share with them what we have (time, attention, energy) so they can get what they need.