Drinking from a Deep Well
We often hear the call in scripture and in community to be fully satisfied in God, to trust nothing nor anyone else to deliver our deepest joy. But, practically speaking, how do we do this? This is especially hard when the culture is daily grooming our flesh to look to ourselves, others, products, and gadgets that claim to make our lives great. I imagine that the average, unconvinced Westerner is fairly confused as to how they should obtain personal peace and happiness today. For example, the mantra of consumerism is demanding to be adored, saying “if you buy just this one extra thing, then your life will be great.” On the other hand, Marie Kondo is ushering in the fad of simple living, which tells us that true personal peace is only found in a clear space and mind. What is the most alluring thing about these cultural agendas? They are good stories. The narrative of either path tells us that we can achieve personal freedom alone, a story that is attractive to our flesh, yet destructive in the end.
Following the narratives of our culture becomes exhausting and will eventually break us. We have an excess of freedom and opportunity for achievement than any previous generation. But we are becoming more and more miserable. So how do we Christians not only avoid the pitfalls of our day but also step deeper into our walk with Jesus?
Believing a Better Narrative
Isaiah 55:1 is one of the most tangible verses in the Bible. Not only does it appeal to us physically through thirst and hunger, but it also refreshes us in spiritual hope. Our Lord calls us to trust him to be our satisfaction like we trust water to satisfy our thirst.
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
What a call! Come. Drink. Eat. All for free! In light of the gospel of Christ, we believers can see how coming to a place of rest in God and turning from ourselves is gloriously joyful. The problem with believing this truth comes when we forget the gospel of grace and try to do things on our own. Here are a few ways I think we can remember our calling to trust God to be the satisfaction that our souls long for.
In the Old Testament, God constantly calls Israel to look back at his faithfulness so that they will trust Him. God reminds his people of the time he rescued them from slavery in Egypt (e.g. Psa 77). Although Israel was under the old covenant, God was commanding them to obey by remembering his salvation that he had already brought to them. Israel’s remembrance and obedience is not what redeemed them from slavery. God had already made them his people. Israel’s delight in remembering the saving work of God allowed them to joyfully obey. This was the story of God’s grace to Israel, namely, that they would look back and be satisfied in God’s rescuing them from Egypt.
The promises of Jesus that awaken us to trust him in our current situations are, paradoxically, often the hardest for us to trust. For example, when Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well, he said, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (Jn 4:14). And while Jesus was appealing to our physical thirst, his goal in this verse was much deeper: the soul’s thirst for satisfaction. Our souls will be quenched from the thirst for money, power, status, and control only when we are filled with a deeper satisfaction, the satisfaction of knowing God through Christ. A well with this capacity, a capacity so full of joy, wonder, and delight can only be sourced by an equally delightful God. Until we see Christ as the present mediator to the all-satisfying well of God in our lives, then we will keep returning to tainted wells and sipping polluted waters in our pursuit to quench our thirst.
Hope for the Future
As believers, the entirety of our faith culminates in our hope and trust that God will satisfy us for all of eternity. While we look to Christ and his resurrection from the dead as our living hope, we can also look to his resurrection as our dying hope. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes to the church, saying, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised” (v. 16), and, “for as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (vv. 21-22). Alive to what, exactly? Alive to be fully satisfied in God! Paul also tells us in Romans 8:19 that “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” All of creation is anticipating when the justice and love of God’s providential plan is completed, when God receives the glory that is rightfully his and when all whom he has called are filled with unending satisfaction in him alone.
Brothers and sisters, hear the call of our great God: come, eat, drink, and be satisfied in him. We don’t need to stray from the unending pleasures that so generously flow from his well as we look back at what God has previously done for us, be present in the grace he is calling us to, and look forward to hope in all that God promises to us in Christ.