December 23

Thirsting For Living Water

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:2a)

“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)

One thing all people have in common is the need for water and thirst when they do not have it. Water is vital to all life; people die of dehydration, and vegetation will also wither and perish for lack of it. Over the years I have come to also appreciate the cleansing characteristic of water, in sub-Sahara Africa where dirt builds up quickly, water is sometimes scarce, and when, due to medical procedures, bathing is restricted. Cold water is especially desirable to the truly thirsty and is uniquely refreshing. King Solomon, the “preacher” of Proverbs, also compared a drink of cold water to encouraging news from far away, as if waiting for just such a message. Anyone who has been away from family members expecting a baby or dealing with a serious illness can relate to the relief of hearing that a healthy baby has arrived or the disease is diminishing. 

Even better is the news that the living God of the Bible is accessible and ready to satisfy our spiritual thirst. “[Psalm 42] begins with a poignant expression of longing for God himself, using the image of thirst: ‘As a deer pants for flowing streams.’ For the pious, the answer to this longing comes in public worship; this is clear from the phrase appear before God (i.e., at the sanctuary…), and from Ps. 42:4, which recollects the former participation in sanctuary worship.” (1) Those of us who have enjoyed corporate worship on Sundays regularly, who delight in joining our church families in the graces, and are blessed by united prayer and communion feel its absence when we are unable to attend services. The local church is the place where the “good news [is shared with the]…saints, of an estate they have [in heaven], an inheritance, a house, a city and kingdom prepared for them there: this news is brought by the prophets of the Old Testament, who diligently inquired of salvation by Christ; by the angels at Christ’s incarnation; by John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ; by Christ himself, who was anointed to preach good tidings to the meek; and by his apostles, and all the faithful ministers of the word: and the message they bring is good news; not to carnal and self-righteous persons, but to sensible sinners.” (2)

Have you enjoyed the good gospel message of our Savior as you worshipped today? “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Will you hold this message dear by passing it on to those who are thirsty for the living God?

(1) ESV Study Bible Notes, Psalm 42:1-4, (digital edition), Crossway, 2008.

(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 25:25, -25.html

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