I have heard a lot of people talk about hungering for God. There are examples in scripture where we are told we need to hunger for God and for righteousness (Matthew 5:6, John 6:25ff). Thirsting for God is used in scripture more often than hungering for him. The reason for that may be that thirst is even more of an extreme desire than hunger. You can go weeks hungering but you can’t go weeks thirsting for water. You will die.
In Psalm 63, David has one of those moments in life where your circumstances teach you something about God. The heading of the psalm says he was in the “Desert of Judah”. Due to the contents of the psalm I think it is safe to say he was thirsty. What also seems evident from this psalm was that his thirst for water helped him realize that if he thirsts this much for something that doesn’t last and for something he will be thirsty for again, how much more should he thirst for God?
1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
If you were to fill in the blank with this statement what would you put? “In a dry and weary land where there is no water, I thirst for ________.” It is impressive to me that David thirsts for God more than he thirsts for what will sustain his physical body. Notice what he writes (or sings?) in verse 5, “My soul will be satisfied.” David realized that true and total satisfaction comes from having one’s soul filled up with God. (See also Psalm 42:1-2 & Psalm 143:6)
We live in a spiritually thirsty world. You see it in the bookstore in the Religion and Self-help sections. There are all kinds of “solutions” on the market that will help you feel satisfied. Why are there so many options? Because they don’t work. You try one and then another and another until eventually you realize that there is not enough positive thinking in the world to satisfy your soul. Only God can do that because he made you. People who are dying of thirst will drink just about anything. That is what we are seeing today in the lives of people who don’t know God. They thirst for God but they don’t know that is what it is and they don’t know how to quench it and be satisfied. How many people in the world suffer from RLS (Restless Life Syndrome)? The number is growing and growing. It is time we start digging more wells and open them to be free to all who will come to drink. We cannot hold our living water (John 4:10 &John 7:37-38) inside and shut the doors and keep it to ourselves.
Maybe it is time to stop seeing evangelism as solely about proving ourselves right and the world wrong and start seeing it as a well-digging mission in neighborhoods, business, and schools that have no water.
Last, when all things come to an end and we live with God for eternity, scripture says God will meet all of our needs including thirst. There will be a day when people will no longer be dying for thirst for God because we will live in his presence and we will have free access to the river of life (Isa 49:10, Rev 21:6, & Rev 22:1-2, 17, and Rev 7:16-17).
How much do you thirst for God? Are there things seem to make you thirsty more than God does?