What is the thirstiest you have ever been? How long did it last? Were you able to ignore it? Physical thirst comes when one doesn’t get enough liquid to moisten the lips, mouth, tongue and throat. Dryness, cottonmouth, trouble swallowing and lack of saliva, are
some of the symptoms.

I still remember two situations of thirst when I was a teenager. Once when I was working for a farmer plowing his fields, I foolishly drank all my water supply before noon. The sun was fierce and there was no covering on the old tractor, let alone an air-conditioned cab. I had to keep going until the farmer returned about dusk. Lesson learned, oh the agony. The other times were when our football team was forced to practice for at least 2 hours in the hot sun and not allowed to drink any liquids plus we had to take salt pills. I assume it was to make us tougher. I’m so glad that barbaric and stupid custom has faded away and Gatorade now rules.

These examples pale when compared to people stranded at sea for days. All that water yet one cannot drink any of it. When the Israelites were trying to cross the desert they suffered for 3 days without water until God turned the bitter into pure, sweet water at Marah (Ex 25:22-25). Today Christians are commanded to give even their enemies something to drink when they thirst (Rom 12:20).

Much worse than physical thirst, however, is a thirst of the soul. Usually one can slake the physical kind rather quickly whereas the spiritual kind is often denied or ignored even though it is of lasting consequence. Mankind has attempted to quench the craving of the soul for living water with various futile methods (Jer 2:13).

The Bible often speaks of this living water and the relief it brings (Zec 14:8) (Isa 55:1). It is sometimes called streams and springs (Rev 7:17). It is used in the analogy of the deer who pants for streams of water (Ps 42:1-2) and also of a parched land (Ps 143:6). Jesus told the woman at the well (Jo 4:10, 13, 14) and the crowds on the mountainside (Mt 5:6) that He was the answer to their thirst of the soul (Rev 7:16) (Rev 22:17). Not only can we be filled, but those living waters can flow out of us in the form of the Holy Spirit to teach others (Jo 7:28-39).
—Jim Bailey