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Being Thirsty

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

— Isaiah 55:1-2

“All you who are thirsty.” I think that includes everyone on earth. We were created with deep needs: for love and affection, meaningful and impacting lives, a desire for risk and adventure -- to experience life to the full. And most of all for a sense of intimacy with God, although few people identify that as their genuinely deepest desire.

Instead, we pin our longings on transient and ultimately unsatisfying substitutes: food, sex, relationships, experiences that give an adrenalin rush ... not bad things in themselves, but incapable of satisfying our craving for “life.” All these things are part of the created world, and so can never meet our needs because they are just an echo of what we really long for – God himself.

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy?” A significant effort goes into satisfying our longings. We “spend money” on them – time, effort and literal money too (does she really need twenty pairs of shoes?). What we most need, though, can’t be obtained through this kind of effort. If God didn’t give it to us, we would have no way of obtaining it. Lucky for us, though, the very thing God wants is to meet our deepest need by giving himself to us. And unlike the things that are “not bread,” he really will satisfy our need.

“Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” We have no currency to buy what we need, but it turns out to be free! However, the verse still says twice to “buy” the soul satisying food that God offers. How do you buy something without cost?

I believe the answer might be that you “buy” intimacy with God by giving yourself. That’s all you’ve got if you have no money or resources. “You” are the most precious thing you have – something beyond all price to God.

The result of giving yourself to God in pursuit of intimacy with him is that “your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Can you imagine your real, deepest longings actually being satisified? Here on earth, not just later in heaven? To the extent that lesser substitutes no longer press for your attention, because your true needs are fully and completely met by God?

Is it really possible?

(To be continued)

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