Today’s Reading: John 4:4-42 (additional reading: Psalm 105:1-15 & Proverbs 14:25)
In 1996, a young marine corporal named Joey Mora was standing on a platform of an aircraft carrier patrolling the Iranian Sea. Incredibly, he fell overboard. His absence was not known for 36 hours. A search and rescue mission began, but was given up after another 24 hours. No one could survive in the sea without even a lifejacket after 60 hours. His parents were notified that he was “missing and presumed dead.”
The rest of the story is one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” events. Scriptwriters would pass it up as “not believable.” Four Pakistani fishermen found Joey Mora about 72 hours after he had fallen from the aircraft carrier. He was treading water in his sleep, clinging to a makeshift floatation device made from his trousers — a skill learned in most military survival training. He was delirious when they pulled him into their fishing boat. His tongue was dry and cracked and his throat parched.
Just about two years later, as he spoke with Stone Philips of NBC Dateline, he recounted an unbelievable story of will to live and survival. Who would not give up? He said it was God who kept him struggling to survive. His discovery by the fishermen makes searching for a needle in a haystack a piece of cake. The most excruciating thing of all? Joey said that the one thought that took over his body and pounded in his brain was “Water!”
Have you ever been thirsty like that? I am not talking about H2O. We come to church, surrounding by the ocean of “Living Water” but some time we still feel thirsty. Dehydration will get you into serious difficulty in a hurry. If you have ever been really, truly thirsty then you will be much more able to connect with the meaning of thirst in a spiritual sense.
Thirst is one of the most powerful spiritual symbols in all of scripture. As dehydration draws the whole of our physical being to a longing for water, so a spiritual void will draw our spirits into a search for deeper meaning for our lives. The Psalmist expressed it this way, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1- Or… “I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” (Psalm 143:6).
If you are tired of living without a spiritual passion or zeal for God or if you are tired of just going through the motions, knowing deep down inside you are spiritually dying or dead, the Lord invites you to come to Him for spiritual renewal. His Words are simple…”if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”