1 What Are You Thirsty For? (H2O Thirst session 1) September 19, 2010 John 7:37-39 & Luke 15:8-10 Last week we began a three-month journey. This journey is called H2O a Journey of Faith. The H2O is used because the series uses several images of water to aid us in our journey. Last Sunday as we started to introduce this topic we looked at Luke 15 which tells of a woman in search of a lost coin. We came to see, also, that this journey we are about to begin actually began long before. It began with God being on a journey. It‟s important to start here because the truth is even before our search God is already searching for us. You see God loved us first and sought us out. It is for the reason that we can even begin our journey. Today, we once again turn to Luke 15 and another passage in John 7 as we begin our search. For within each of us there is this longing. We have a thirst. It‟s a thirst to find that which will truly satisfy. And often as the speaker in the H2O video points out we come to this journey having a sense that we want to find something out there that is important … but we are not certain of what we are looking for…longing for. Whether it‟s you personally who feel lost or a friend you know that you would like to help lead them to God‟s love, this journey is for us to honestly and thoughtfully examine what our hearts are yearning for… what we are thirsty for? For a moment then as we begin this series let‟s try once more to take a peek at what this upcoming H2O journey is about. (show intro video) THIRST The video series gets at the heart of Jesus‟ invitation which we hear in this scripture in John 7. Jesus says, “let anyone who is thirsty come to me”. So our thirst illustrates that we are on a search. Jesus is inviting you and me to come to him … for he knows our hearts and that what we are craving deep in our souls, only he can give. Think about a time when you were really thirsty. Think about the desire to quench that thirst. Now a days we take having access to water for granted. But just remember back to a time when it was the heat of the day and you went without something to drink for just a little while. Now imagine a world where we have physical desire of thirst but no way to satisfy it. It would be torturous, right? In the video the famous Christian writer C.S. Lewis is referenced, where he made the case that our desires point us to the larger truth about God. He states “Creatures are not born with a desire unless satisfaction for that desire exists. So if a baby cries in hunger there is such a thing as food. A duck longs to swim because there is such a thing as water”. And Lewis goes on to point out … “that if I find myself with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, then, most probably the explanation is that I was not made for this world. If no earthly pleasure can fill this desire then maybe it was never supposed to”. It shows us something about our search then, for you see “we are not born with a desire unless satisfaction for that desire is available to us.” So the desires which we have for lasting meaning and truth, the desires for purpose and real connection…these desires that point us to a larger reality which is that we long for something this world cannot give us. Does that ring true with you? Do we as people have a deep desire in our souls but nothing in this world can satisfy it? It can be those moments of struggle when we look at our life and wonder if there isn‟t something more. „Is this all there is? There has to be more to life” That thirst, those longings and questions we have can be a good thing, because they can lead us to look for something beyond what we physically see to something greater. As C.S. Lewis goes on to say “God has set eternity in the hearts of men … and that cannot be satisfied with anything in this world” And so, that search is directing us to something of eternal worth. 2 And that‟s what we see in the parable in Luke when Jesus tells the parable of the woman searching for the lost coin. The coin was important to her. The woman who diligently looked for the lost coin, shows that what she searched for is valuable. Today we might think well what‟s so important about a lost coin. We might view it like it‟s merely a penny that we might find along the road. But in those days this coin had much deeper meaning. I had not known this until I read one of the commentaries on this scripture. Barclay points out that the woman is searching for something that is precious to her. And in all likelihood the reason this coin would have been so precious was that in those days a woman‟s headband for her wedding would often consist of ten coins. In other words, the loss of one of these coins could be compared to a woman losing a diamond from her wedding band. And while the monetary value of this coin could be a lot, it‟s more than just about the monetary value it …it would have had sentimental value as well. In this passage then the woman is searching for something of tremendous value. And it shows us a couple things. First we need to recognize that the lost are valuable. The religious leaders missed this. They saw them merely as outcasts and sinners. They did not recognize the lost as valuable. But Jesus says that God does not want to discard them like the rest of the world. God sees the lost as precious and valuable. And that means if you are lost today God, like the woman in search of her precious coin, sees you as valuable. But also it shows us something about our search as well. You see, if we put ourselves in the place of the woman, we realize that what we are looking for is also valuable. Simply put the lost are valuable to God and what they lost and are searching for is valuable. Take this illustration for example: following an exhilarating performance at New York‟s Carnegie Hall, the celebrated classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma went home, slept, and awoke the next day exhausted and rushed. He called for a cab to take him to a hotel on the other side of Manhattan and placed his cello, hand-crafted in Vienna in 1733 and valued at $2.5 million, in the trunk of the taxi. When he reached his destination, he paid the driver, but forgot to take his cello. After the cab had disappeared, Ma realized what he had done. He began a desperate search for the missing instrument. Fortunately he had the receipt with the cabby‟s ID number. After searching all day the taxi was located in a garage in Queens with the priceless cello still in the trunk. Ma‟s smile could not be contained as he spoke to reporters. (Citation: Greg Asimakoupoulos, writer and speaker, based on story in Chicago Tribune (10-17-99) Could you imagine losing something like that? You see whether it is a valuable cello, a wedding ring or the lost coin from scripture, the point is we would thoroughly search to find it, because what was lost was too valuable to give up. And if that is the case with material things, how much more valuable are we and what our souls long for. You see, the lost are valuable to God, and what the lost are searching for is valuable. In fact it has eternal value. Drink: Along our search Jesus invites us to come to him. And then he says “let the one who believes in me drink”. The good news is that we are not just left wandering in the desert. We are not just left to an endless search. Jesus wants us to come to him and believe…to drink in his presence…so that our thirst can be quenched. This desire we have can be satisfied. Jesus describes himself as the fulfillment and satisfaction of our deepest desire. The famous French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal said it well…“We all have a hole in our hearts shaped like God. We try to fill it with other things, but God is the only one who fits and when God fills that 3 hole in our hearts he fills it perfectly and completely”. Jesus is saying “I know you are searching. I know you have this longing in your heart and what you‟ve tried to quench it with will not fill the void. Come to me and drink. I am the living water”. Now it‟s helpful to realize and understand the situation Jesus was in when he said this because it helps us see what it means when Jesus invites us to come and drink. The scripture states “on the last day of the festival”. So what festival is it referring to? It was a festival held in remembrance of God‟s leading his people through the desert to the Promised Land. After being delivered from slavery in Egypt the people complained against God for lack of water and food. So God struck a rock from which poured water and sent manna from heaven. Now Jesus is with his fellow Israelites commemorating these events. Each morning of the festival the priests would draw water in a golden vessel from the Pool of Siloam and carry it to the temple to be poured out. Jesus is standing in the midst of this celebration and he says “Come to me all you who are thirsty, and let the one who believes in me drink.” In other words Jesus is the fulfillment of what they are celebrating in that festival. Just as the Israelites were given water to drink in the desert, Jesus is that living water that will never run dry. Jesus is giving real meaning to the celebration. He, in effect, is making the claim, “I am the Rock that will pour forth water to quench your thirst. I can satisfy what you‟re truly longing for. I can give you something to drink that will last forever.” Take note then Jesus not only says to come but anyone who believes in him is invited to drink. And so the point of our search is not to wander the desert aimlessly but to find satisfaction in him. Think of the importance of drinking enough water to fill our needs. After all, practically speaking the body needs about 3 quarts of water a day to operate efficiently. It helps break up and soften food. The blood, which is 90% H2O (water) carries nutrients to the cells. As a cooling agent, water regulates our temperature through perspiration. And without its lubricating properties, our joints and muscles would grind and creak like unused parts of some old rusty machinery. Source Unknown. We know the importance of having water. And we know the physical effects which occur from not drinking enough water. So let it encourage us not to just stop with our search but to actually come to Jesus and drink. After all, as one pastor mentioned, “If I stand here thirsty, with a glass of water in my hand, and I do not drink it, what good is the glass of water? We must take it, bring it to our lips, and drink. We will not be satisfied until we consume it.” You see, the ceremony pointed to something much deeper, something more satisfying, something that would not run out. For in reality, the ceremony alone would not quench their thirst. That‟s something we need to hear. For you see on this search we can easily run across things that will look good on the outside but are not the real thing. We often try to quench our thirst with something which will not last and each time we do we grow more discouraged. We hear all the ads on TV telling us which beverage will satisfy us, which will complete us. But the fact is, we know it only lasts for a moment then it‟s gone and we are searching all over again. And each time we find something we think can fill our need, it falls short. We become more and more frustrated, and eventually we become skeptical to the point of wondering „is there really anything that can satisfy? Is there anything that is forever? Or am I doomed to a life of searching? And while you may be skeptical and you may question whether this is for real, Jesus says “all who are thirsty come to me. And let the one who believes in me drink.” Don‟t stop at the search. Come and drink. 4 Flow Now maybe you come today and you don‟t feel real thirsty. Maybe you seem comfortable with where you are. The job is fine. You are content in your family life. Overall you feel generally happy. Maybe You feel satisfied most of the time but what if you’ve settled? What if there is a whole another level out there? For instance the small group H2O video gives a comparison between a pool and the ocean. For what we often settle for is our little pool (where we feel safe and content. But God says to us “if you would just come over here and follow me I have something that would just blow your mind.” (H2O video) This invitation calls us to so much more than just being content and finding a little piece of mind. For Jesus not only invites those of us who are thirsty to come and drink, but also, when we do drink of his living water he says “out of the believers heart will flow rivers of living water.” It‟s not only about our finding what we desire, but also about our sharing that gift with others. For the promise is when we are willing to come and drink, we are filled to overflowing so that others may experience the presence of the Holy Spirit and be led to that living water. To overflow means that God‟s presence is filling us so completely that God‟s love spills over to others. For instance one way we can practically share God’s love… to give water to drink and food to eat to another, is through the CROP walk. After all one of the things the collected funds go to is to building wells for those who have to walk long distances just to get water. It reminds us of the importance of water and helping to fill the thirst of others both physically and spiritually. As I mentioned in children‟s time, “if God is bigger than we are, and yet is able to live inside us then shouldn‟t we see him spill over to others?” It‟s like the story told by a guy named Don McKeinke while in a hospital. He writes “One time I was walking down the hospital corridor when a man came out of one of the patient rooms. There was no one else around and the man ran right up to me. Now I had never seen this man before, but that did not deter the man one bit from coming up to me and saying with great joy in his face „She is going to make it. She‟s better. She‟s going to make it.‟ Then he made his way down the hall and I never saw him again. I do not know who he was talking about. But I knew it must have been someone dear to him, and he had just received good news. And he could not wait to share it. He did not even have to know the person with whom he shared the news. It just flowed from him because he had received good news, and that good news needed to be shared”. And the fact is when we drink of the life giving water of Jesus we have good news to share. So this H2O series is both for those who are searching themselves, wondering who Jesus is; and for those who have made the decision to follow Jesus to be challenged on how we can share our faith with others. If you came wondering about what this is all about, and you still are unsure, know that it‟s okay to search and ask. I would especially invite you to come to the Sunday school class following the service each week and just be open to journey with us. And for those who have come and have already made a decision for Christ, know that we are challenged to reach out to others with that good news. Prayerfully consider then who might God be leading you to? Is there someone who is seeking with whom you can begin to build a relationship? And as that relationship builds be willing to share and also be willing to listen as they honestly seek? Therefore, for the next few weeks, let us journey together and take an honest and real search to explore what our hearts are thirsting for and that which will truly satisfy.
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