The Ultimate Hope for the Thirsty

And what is the end of our story? It is that we will no longer be thirsty. You’ve heard the statement again and again, There will be no tears in heaven. Scriptures also say, There will be no thirst in heaven.

(This is why I wondered: was there thirst in the Garden of Eden? Or did that come only after man broke his relationship with God?)

A number of references in Revelation tell us that our thirst will be satisfied in our Father’s new heaven and new earth. And while this book’s symbolism and metaphors and prophetic language are often difficult to understand, this is clear: those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb will never again know hunger and thirst.

There will be no parched ground, no wanderings in wilderness, no desolation in the deserts that we now experience. We will never again feel our life ebbing away; we will never again wander, homeless and hungry.

Our Lord says,

“…Look, I am making everything new! … I am the Alpha and the Omega — the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.

All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”

That’s where we’re headed, children of God.

The rivers of eternal life are already flowing within us. Drink deeply and with joy.


Scripture: Revelation 7:14,16 (NIV); Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT)

Drinking Deeply and with Joy

Well, I detoured a bit, thinking about cracked cisterns. But I guess that’s what really does happen to us — we are pulled off track when we chase mirages instead of heading straight to the oasis.

With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation.”
Isaiah 12:3)

Does that one line itself make you thirsty, make you want more?

I want to drink more deeply, and I want to drink with joy.

When we began this discussion, I mentioned that finding God as the only true source of life-giving water is just the first step, the first part of our story. In the next chapter of this story, we find rivers of living water …  flowing within us!  

Does that sound a bit radical, maybe too extreme or fanatical? Or do you think it edges too close to a human-centric spirituality?

Here is the good, good news. Jesus says that anyone who is thirsty can come to Him, and He will give the Spirit, who will be rivers of living water flowing from your heart. This water, Jesus says, becomes a fresh bubbling spring within you and will give you eternal life.

Wow. I want to live with that fresh, bubbling, eternal water flowing through me.

Did you catch the Scripture’s reference a few days ago about God living among us? (Isaiah 12:6) This is what Jesus gives us: the Spirit of God that lives within each of His children. It is radical, but it is anything but human-centric. 

It is the Spirit of God within that becomes streams of life, flowing through us, reviving, sustaining, renewing. God is not just some powerful deity ‘way off in the heavens somewhere. God lives here, with us. Jesus said, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.”   (my bold)

Wow. Wow. Wow. I have to ask: Can you believe that? If you believe that, then what changes in your life?

Spirit, help our unbelief!

The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well sounds familiar. Jesus tells her several times, “I can give you living water. You will never be thirsty again.”

But she doesn’t hear Him, doesn’t understand. Instead, she talks about practical, logical problems (How will you draw the water? You don’t have a bucket.); personal issues (if you give me this water, I’ll never have to come back here again, I have no husband); and religious tradition or dogma (where’s the best place to worship?)

Jesus repeats, “I can give you water that quenches all your thirst.”  But she has a hard time getting it. Even when He finally says, straight out, “I am the Messiah that was prophesied,” she’s still wondering, although she is impressed that He knew everything about her life. But it seems that she never understands Jesus’ offer of living, eternal water.

The Spirit of God in our lives is a fresh, bubbling spring of living water. May we hear, understand, and come and drink. Deeply.  And with joy.


John 7:37-39; John 14:23 (NLT)

Your choice: broken cisterns or fountain of life

Sometimes we are parched and thirsty because we have gone, not to the spring of living water, but to the “well of the world.” (Marc Kinna’s phrase. See below for a link to his thoughts on this.)   And the well of the world holds no water for our souls.

And — wouldn’t you know it — as this post was simmering in my brain, I was led to that well of the world and invited to take a sip. Yup. Found myself looking wistfully at something and thinking, “If only I had that, then my life would be …” 

Jeremiah tells us what God thinks about His people chasing earthly accomplishments, people, and ideas to sustain and nourish our souls. God says,

“For my people have done two evil

They have abandoned me —
    the fountain of living water.
And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns
    that can hold no water at all!”

I meet many things in this world that appeal to me. Our affluent times (yes, even after this economic nosedive) make it all too easy to slip into acquisition mode. That hype about having the “American Dream” can trap us. Even simple things can lead into an ambush: I stroll through the mall and hear a very loud message that my wardrobe needs to be updated … the neighbors have that gorgeous landscaping … the internet encourages my dream of a cottage in Maine…

Possessions are not the only things that capture us. Achievement is pursued and praised, to the extent that we sacrifice our families and sometimes our sanity. Myriads of products and people and ideas parade themselves as the “answer” to our problems. Your “fulfillment” lies in the pursuit of happiness or  “finding” yourself. (Think about all those “self-help” books. Huh? When I’m desperate and caught in some tangled web of my own making … then I’m going to be able to help myself? Really?)

OK, I’m ranting. And I’m not saying new clothes or the internet or a promotion at work are unhealthy spiritually. But the question is, Where do you look for water to sustain your soul? Each one of you will have a different list of things that the enemy is trying to use to replace your relationship with God.

And yes, I’m going to say it — Satan can even use church, religious tradition, and doctrine, if we give those things in themselves more energy and devotion than we give to our Creator.   Sometimes, we build those cisterns, thinking they will provide life, instead of going to the fountain of life.

Just a little tidbit I picked up somewhere: We often misinterpret the messages our bodies send to our brains. When we open the refrigerator door or scrounge through the cupboards looking for a snack, we aren’t really hungry; we’re thirsty. Interesting. So I’ve tried being more judicious about this; and when I think I’m hungry, I find that I am, instead, thirsty. When I pay attention to that, I drink more water (good for me) and eat fewer snacks (very, very good for me).

We need not be confused about what our souls really need: Scriptures are very clear. Nothing on this earth will satisfy and sustain like the fountain of living water. God has called our attempts to provide water for ourselves “an evil thing.”  We try all kinds of things to assuage our thirst, but man-made cisterns will never hold the life-giving water we need.

Psalm 68:6 says the rebellious will live in a sun-scorched land. Compare Isaiah 12:3, that says, With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation!

The One who created us knows what gives us life. And He supplies it. Why do we instead try to build cracked cisterns that cannot hold water?

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
Rescue me from my rebellion.



Scripture: Jeremiah 2:13, Psalm 39:8 (both NLT)
Link to Marc Kinna’s thoughts:


Streams on Parched Ground

Our hot, dry week ends with a summer downpour that cools the air and soaks parched flower beds. Ah…yes…we needed this rainy day.

And many of you will recognize that feeling, the relief of quiet waters, cool pools, streams watering thirsty ground. You know what it is to be revived and restored by the spring of living water.

You know the quenching, because you also know the thirst. Even after we have found that spring, we sometimes wander too far from it, delay or postpone or simply neglect drinking of the water that gives us life. And our thirst brings us back, a thirst that just needs more.

Sometimes, it’s because we have let busy schedules and the “stuff” of living crowd out our seeking of God; sometimes, it is because we are in great pain or trouble. Whatever the reason for our thirst, the Father’s promise is always the same to His children who cry out to Him:

“When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
    and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the LORD, will answer them.
    I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.

I will open up rivers for them on the high plateaus.
    I will give them fountains of water in the valleys.
I will fill the desert with pools of water.
    Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground.”

He will answer. He will never abandon us. He will fill our deserts with pools of water.


Scripture: Isaiah 41:17-18 (NLT)


Satisfying the Thirsty

We spent hours playing in the creek. Building dams, catching minnows and tadpoles and crayfish, sailing pieces of wood downstream. Town kids went to swimming pools in the summer, but we had our fun in the creek. Every child should have a creek running through his playground.

We’re drawn to the ocean; we hike to waterfalls; we stomp in puddles. A waterfront home carries a hefty price tag, many wish lists are topped by a boat, and interior spaces are enhanced by aquariums. We drink water and bathe in it; admire it and crave it. Our bodies contain much water, and we must have it to survive and thrive. Water is inspiration, cleansing, refreshment, life.

I wonder which came first — the chicken or the egg? Did God plant this thirst within us so that we could also understand our thirst for Him? Or does He simply use this inborn craving to explain what He is and does for us? One more question: Do you think Adam and Eve were ever thirsty in the Garden of Eden? Or did thirst come only after they had left paradise and a perfect relationship with God?

We probably can’t answer those questions, but studying Scriptures and tracing the imagery and symbolism of our thirst and God’s living water is fascinating. It’s fascinating, because it’s my own story! It’s your story. It’s the story and hope of every child of God. 

Once upon a time, there were thirsty souls, wandering in a desert —

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
    finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
    and their lives ebbed away.

Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    to a city where they could settle.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love …
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

(I have to insert here — if you aren’t familiar with Psalm 107, read it! Your story is probably there, a description of the life from which God saved you and praises for all He’s done for you. You’ll probably hear more from me about this Psalm, because I think it’s so powerful … but … later.)

Scripture is saturated with promises that God satisfies the thirst of our souls, that longing, the desire for the thing that refreshes, cleanses, and sustains us. 

Isaiah 35’s images give us a picture of the change that God, the spring of living water, brings to those He claims as His own.

…your God will come … he will come to save you.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf be unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.

Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.

For everyone who wanders in the desert, the living water gushes forth and will satisfy your deep thirst. The Father says, “Come, all you who are thirsty…”

And for everyone who has found that spring of living water, With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation … for great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.

Are you drinking deeply? With joy?

Finding the water in the wilderness is only the beginning of your story! Stay tuned for the next installment ….


Scriptures: Psalm 107:4-9; Jeremiah 2:13; Isaiah 35:4-7; Isaiah 55:1 (all NIV); Isaiah 12:3,6 (NLT)

My favorite Scriptures on life-giving water: Jeremiah 17:7-8; Psalm 23:2; Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 58:11