In the Thirst

Dry Parched GroundScripture Passage (Isaiah 55: 1-3)

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

 

Thirst, real thirst, probably eludes most of us who are reading this. We have water. We just turn on the tap and, usually, it runs freely. Many of us don’t think it’s good enough water so we spend money buying high-priced spring waters (which may be from a tap anyway!) But when one is really, really thirsty, thirsty to the point of feeling dry and parched, water is the most incredible thing in the world. So, here, we read of an invitation to all those who thirst. That really sort of sounds like thirsting is a good thing. So those of us with bottled water and instant food, those of us who satisfy our longing by buying more stuff or building bigger things or wrapping ourselves in the bounds of what we do, probably struggle with the whole idea of thirsting.

 

We live in a world that dangles satisfaction and completion in front of us. We live in a world that looks for results. We live in a world that looks for solutions to things that we do not understand, to things that are difficult. And yet, nowhere in the Scriptures does God protect us from the difficulties of life by telling us to run and hide, to avoid pain, to avoid suffering, to avoid darkness or wilderness or unknowing. After all, thirsting for something more means that we are alive. Physical thirst means that we are still living and breathing and our bodies are craving what they need. And spiritual thirst is the same. We are still alive. There is still something more. And in the deepest part of our being, we know that.

 

There are those that thirst for wealth, those that thirst for stature or position. There are those that thirst for pleasure or happiness. And there are those that thirst for things to be comfortable, to be the way they want it to be, perhaps to be the way it’s “always been”. But, for most people, attaining those things really doesn’t satisfy them at all. It leaves a veritable dryness in life. Perhaps the point is that life is not in the quenching but in the thirst. Alexander Stuart Baillie once wrote that “one needs to keep on thirsting because life grows and enlarges. It has no end; it goes on and on; it becomes more beautiful. When one has done [his or her] best there is, [one] finds, still more to learn and so much to do. [One] cannot be satisfied until one attains unto the stature of Jesus, unto a perfect [human], and ever thirsts for God.” I thirst. Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. And life began.

 

 

All your love, your stretching out, your hope, your thirst, God is creating in you so that God may fill you…God is on the inside of the longing. (Maria Boulding)

 

Thank you for sharing your Lenten journey with me!

 

I know I’ve tended to be a little irregular with the postings this season. I’m sorry about that. Life continues to get in the way. Maybe it’s part of that thirsting. I will try to keep the waters flowing.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Shelli

When the Lord Spoke in the Wilderness

 

 

Traveling in the WildernessScripture Text:  Numbers 9: 1-3

The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2Let the Israelites keep the passover at its appointed time. 3On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its regulations you shall keep it.

Well, we’ve been wandering in the wilderness awhile.  Have you heard God speak to you yet?  If not, maybe we’re still not traveling light enough, still dragging baggage with us over the rough terrain, so afraid that we will be without something.  I, personally, am a terrible over-packer.  It’s not so much that I’m afraid to be without something; it really has more to do with preparation.  In my swirling life, if I wait until the last minute to pack (which I often do), I end up just throwing things in a bag.  Without taking the time to think things through, I tend to over-compensate.  And, more times than not, the bag that I planned to bring turns out not to be big enough or I have to add another bag.

The wilderness requires preparation.  The wilderness requires that we be intentional about what it is we do.  Why do you think God was so specific about the preparations for the Passover?  The Scripture doesn’t say to make sure you cram the Passover into your schedule once a year at a time when it’s convenient or when the weather is right or when you can find time on the church schedule.  Sometimes living our faith is NOT convenient.  Sometimes it gets in the way of our plans and our lives.  Thanks be to God!

Traveling in our wilderness requires that we pack light, that we leave ourselves nimble and with enough room for what we find.  The truth is, God is always speaking to us in the wilderness.  God is always speaking to us everywhere.  But in the wilderness, unencumbered by our baggage, we finally hear.  In the wilderness, we have to be aware, we have to be prepared, we have to present.  The way we prepare for the wilderness, the way we be present in the wilderness is to become aware of everything, to hear every sound as if it was our first sound, to taste the dust as it flies up and makes its way between our lips, to feel the thirst in every molecule of our body, to know what we need and to, finally, need it.  Preparing to travel light, preparing to feel, preparing to thirst is how will finally pay attention to the God who has been speaking all along.

On this Lenten journey, I hope that you have packed well and only brought what you truly need.  I hope that your bag is light enough for you to keep moving, to be prepared to encounter God at every turn.  Martin Buber said that “all actual life is encounter.”  The wilderness journey will teach us what we need.  In the drought, we will learn to thirst.  The wilderness teaches us to encounter; the wilderness teaches us how to live.

All your love, your your stretching out, your hope, your thirst, God is creating in you so that God may fill you…God is on the inside of the longing.  (Maria Boulding)

FOR TODAY:  Set your baggage down and listen…just listen.  Feel your hunger; feel your thirst.  Encounter God.

Grace and Peace,

Shelli