By Allyson Cook
Like when you finish a marathon (yeah, right) or maybe a marathon session of yard work in 98 degrees? Even worse, have you ever had a thirsty kid? Your son just walked off the soccer field after playing his heart out for an hour. And, it’s at that moment you realize you left the water bottles and Gatorade sitting in the driveway right next to where the car use to be. So it begins: “But mom! I’m so thirsty! Why didn’t you bring my water? I need a drink! MOMMY!”
Cringing, you brace yourself for the 20-minute ride home. Your only hope of survival is to go fast, say soothing things and pray hard. If you don’t hurry, the flashbacks to his baby years begin and they aren’t the good memories.
As challenging as these times are for us moms and dads, I don’t think this is what David was talking about in Psalm 63:1 when he says,
“O God, you are my God, 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.”
Most of us don’t live in a desert. So, how can we relate to this overwhelming thirst for God?
I recently watched an interview of Matt Damon on the Ellen Show in which he spoke about his nonprofit organization Water.org. This organization provides clean, sustainable water to areas where there is none. Did you know that 1 child dies every 20 seconds because of a lack of clean water? Matt Damon told me. On TV. (Water.org has great stats if you want to check them out)
Matt also said lack of clean water is a complex issue needing all kinds of solutions and people working together. He said there is no magic bullet, but everyone can do something. You can tell from his passion and the overwhelming statistics that physical thirst is just as prevalent today as it was when this psalm was written.
I saw this first-hand while on mission this summer with the CBF South Africa Ministry Network. I served in a rural village where most of the houses had no clean running water. Plumbing consisted of government provided outhouses, but ditches worked too. In this village and in many around the world, procuring clean water is a daily, time consuming and physically debilitating exercise leaving little time for education, entertainment, marathons, yard work or even soccer games.
It is in these areas of poverty – the places that we call the third world – where we catch a glimpse of what the Psalmist is trying to convey: Debilitating, all-consuming, thirst requiring your complete attention. Being thirsty is not a fleeting moment or a solvable problem quenched in 20 minutes by driving the mini-van faster. This thirst goes deeper. It is a matter of life and death.
David uses this image when he says “…my soul thirsts for you God.”
Have you ever felt spiritual thirst for God? Has your need for God been all-consuming and debilitating as if your life depended on him? If so, the good news is that in the following verses David claims God’s presence in his life. We can call on God in the midst of our thirst and find him in the sanctuary, in our homes, and through the night. God is faithful to quench our thirst when we call out to him just as he does for David.
As you walk with God, ask him to develop this kind of spiritual thirst in you, also pray for those in the world who are physically thirsty. And if you are really brave, pray that God will give you opportunities to share a cup of cold water with someone who is thirsty whether physically or spiritually. Let’s do it together.
Lord, next time I say or hear the words ‘I’m really thirsty!’ remind me of my blessings, my need for you and to pray for those who are struggling in the world. Amen.
Allyson Cook is a CBF Leadership Scholar attending Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C. She is the owner of NaptimeAcademy.com, an online education company for early childhood educators and childcare workers. Allyson lives in Wilmington, N.C. with her husband, Matt, two children and a dog. She admits to driving a mini-van.