We are at a crossroads.
In any direction, as far as we can see, the landscape is exactly the same. Dry, dusty, barren, flat.
Nothing distinguishes one path from another.
Turning around seems like the smartest decision.
Going back by a way we know.
Going back to what? We’ve come too far.
It doesn’t matter which path we choose now.
They are all marked suffering.
* * * * *
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. . .
When did we buy the lie that happiness is the means to happiness?
That what feels good is right and what is painful is wrong?
Hungry is not comfort.
Thirsty is not pleasure.
It’s true in our physical being. And true in our spiritual being as well.
If we fill ourselves with real food, we’ll crave more good and be filled. If we fill ourselves with junk food, we only want more — more junk, more anything — just more.
The bad takes away our appetite for good. The bad takes us on a high and abandons us to crash. Snickers does not satisfy.
But we try.
And we keep trying. Over and over.
The cake when we’re stressed. The gossip when we’re hurt. The computer when we’re lonely. The money when we’re rejected. The applause when we’re insecure. The rage when we have no voice. The drugs when we can’t face the day. The busy so we don’t have time to notice . . .
The goal of all this stuffing life full is to be unconscious of our thirst. Hunger hurts, so we have numbed it. We numb it until we don’t feel longing anymore.
* * * * *
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.
Jesus at the well. A woman, draws water for herself. Jesus asks for some. She recognizes him as a Jew. She is a Samaritan. Jews do not associate with Samaritans. She objects.
If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water. (John 4)
She wants this. Never to thirst again. Never to take a weary walk to a well in the heat. Never to carry heavy jars home and watch them empty fast.
Go, call your husband and come back.
Wait. What? I don’t have a husband, she says.
You are right. He says. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.
Uh. Wow. We were just talking about water.
No. We were talking about what you crave. You thirst for fulfillment. And you haven’t found it. Given up yet?
* * * * *
We have come to this crossroads.
The cake has made us fat. The gossip has gone too far. The busy has given us an ulcer. The virtual relationship led us to unfaithfulness. The money is gone. The applause has faded. In rage we have beaten others, ourselves. The drugs have destroyed our life.
Now it’s no longer possible to numb. To deny. To excuse.
We can go back to numbing.
Or we can choose to feel the pain and hurt and ache and longing and let it be what it is.
We can choose to accept our hunger and thirst.
* * * * *
So what is this righteousness?
What is this thing that I seek first instead of clothes, comfort, food, money, success?
The people gathered around Jesus on the mountain want to know, too.
They are hungry. They are thirsty.
And Jesus tells them their hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied.
They don’t get it either — unless they are the poor in spirit, unless they mourn, unless they are meek.
Righteousness isn’t about not doing or doing. It’s about Jesus Himself.
We will not know how He satisfies until we admit we are not satisfied by anything else.Until we drag our poor, powerless, broken selves through the desert of suffering to the Well instead of going back.
My soul yearns, even faints for the court of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:2
As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after thee. Psalm 42:1
In a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” Blaise Pascal
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” St. Augustine