. . . He leads me beside still waters. (Psalm 23:2)
Sheep are fearful of fast-running water and must drink from quiet pools such as wells and cisterns. All three were rare at the time of David so the flock also required a Shepherd to lead them to the best watering places when they were thirsty.
This morning, I came to the Word thirsty. The following passages were like cool, clear water to my soul. First, the vivid invitation of Jesus . . .
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. (John 7:37)
My thirst and my response to this invitation is like that of the psalmist, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
Where does such thirst come from? I’ve not stopped reading the Word of God or been away from its satisfying power so as to feel empty and needy. Sometimes a good meal continues to stir the appetite even when our tummy is full and cannot hold any more. But sometimes we feast on too much junk food and wind up full but not satisfied. Maybe I’m thirsty because reading novels and watching television does not satisfy the thirst in my heart?
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. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? (Isaiah 55:1-2)
Instead, God asks, “Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” He tells me, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near . . .”
This passage also has a warning to the “wicked” to forsake their thoughts and ways. As a forgiven and justified child of God, surely I must also abandon any unrighteous thoughts and ways. I’m convicted to paraphrase Isaiah 55:8-9 this way: “God says, ‘For My thoughts are rarely found in a novel, nor are My ways depicted in most TV shows’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than anything you might be drinking in to satisfy your thirsty heart.’”
The last quote is a familiar one from the Beatitudes where Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6) but I need to come to Him, for that satisfaction is not found anywhere else.