You Will Never Thirst
by Fr. Jack McArdle
Those who believe in me will never thirst. (John 6:35)
There is a thirst, as much as a hunger, within the human heart, and it can never be satisfied apart from God. "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts will never be at rest until they rest in you", was the prayer of St. Augustine. Mother (now Blessed) Teresa used speak of a yearning to be loved as being a greater hunger than that for food. Jesus offers himself as a gift that will satisfy the longings of every human heart.
We are familiar with compulsions, addictions, and drives to meet human appetites. We are also familiar with the scrap-heap of humanity that results from such self-will run riot. Many people die long before their time, because of the abuse of food, alcohol, or other kinds of drugs. These compulsions send people to self-destruction, and death, because the drug, or the high life, cannot deliver what we believe it promises. Jesus made the promise we are now considering, to a Samaritan woman who was with her seventh partner. She obviously was not happy, because she listened to him, and, being deeply impressed by him, she brought out her friends to meet him.
Alcoholics, in a Twelve Step programme of recovery, are introduced to a spiritual programme, and they learn to turn their will and their lives over to God, as they understand him. They are told that, by themselves, they will never stay sober. If they try to do this on their own, then, they can be sure, they will thirst again! The compulsion for satisfaction makes us restless, and, unless it is satisfied, we can never be at peace. If I accept what Jesus says in this promise, I will look towards him to satisfy my human longings. There is no one way to do this. I just tell him that I want him to satisfy all the inner longings of my heart. I invite him to make his home there, and to fill my heart with his Spirit.
When I have Jesus in my heart, there is no room for anything else. Many of us do experience a drive for pleasure, for creature comforts, for personal aggrandizement. We try to satisfy that thirst by going on a shopping spree, or having a make-over from head to toe, with beauty treatments, clothes, etc. After a while we discover that this satisfaction is short-lived, and, despite all the beauty treatments, and the health programme's, the years keep rolling by, and the signs of aging are unstoppable. Our thirst is an inner one, and, when that is quenched, we feel good about everything else in our lives. I can waste so much time and money, and, when I discover the futility of that waste, I may then turn to Jesus, and begin to listen to his promises. I would save myself so much heartache by going to Jesus right at the beginning. This promise was made many years ago. I may only now be adverting to it for the first time.
Once again, I ask the question: What difference does it make when I believe this promise, and apply it to my life? It must surely bring a great peace, and a sense of inner satisfaction. It is as if the great search is over. I have found the pearl of great price. This is something that will never be taken from me. I ask the Holy Spirit to confirm in my heart that no earthy satisfaction compares with having Jesus, and with believing that his promises are for me.
"Having given us Christ Jesus", says Paul, "will he not surely give us everything else?" (Romans 8:17). "Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" is a word in the letter to the Hebrews (12:2) that we should keep in mind. I ask the Holy Sprit to help me focus my attention on Jesus, to enlighten my mind to the security that this brings, and to treat all other distractions as lies, as offers that do not, and cannot deliver. The Spirit leads us into truth, and the truth is that only Jesus can satisfy our thirst. He has made the offer, and I accept it, and this should make all the difference. What is left now is that I continue to remind myself of this, and not let the lures of false satisfaction draw me away from the true, and only source of my happiness.
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