I am uncertain how long she had been standing there, faithfully working the vending machine, attending to it with both her time and her money. The entire time I stood in line at the checkout stand to complete my grocery purchase, the woman fed one bill after another into the mouth of the lottery machine. The tickets piled up in the bottom tray.
Everything about the woman’s posture and countenance suggested, “I am depressed, and have no genuine expectations, but I will keep feeding this machine in my irrational hope of hitting a winner.” Something of her depression infected me, and I pondered this scene for the next 20 minutes as I made my commute to the office.
My heart ached for this woman. I was impacted by the vacancy of her look, and the futility of her appeal to a lifeless machine that it might add some level of significance to her meaningless life. The machine was promising something that it could never deliver, and the woman was believing the lies of the machine.
The world baits us endlessly with a parade of desolate promises, each a mirage of cool, pure water. In reality, each promise is as arid and empty as the promise before it. It is what King David called, “a dry and thirsty land where there is no water,” (Psalm 63:1). The system leeches onto our inner dissatisfaction, a condition the system itself has produced, and it pledges to comfort us, to make us feel significant, happy, fulfilled. In reality … not so much.
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.” – Asaph – Psalm 73:25, NASB
Quenching Our Thirst
Our souls do thirst. We may not often identify it in that way, but the thirst remains regardless of what we call it, and regardless of whether or not we choose to acknowledge it. We come to the wells of the world day after day, drawing water that is not water to sustain a life that is not life.
And just like the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus offers us water that IS life!
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'” – John 4:13-14, ESV
The world produces and feeds a thirst in our flesh. Jesus feeds and satisfies the thirst in our souls. It is this reality that drives us to say with the apostle Paul:
“The world is crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14
I have known the emptiness of the dry and thirsty land where there is no water. I have known the drudgery of going to the well of the world system day upon day, looking for satisfaction. Now I know the peace, fulfillment, and joy in my soul that only Jesus can provide, and I grieve for those who do not know that same fullness in Christ.
Outside of Christ, we look to family and friends for approval and companionship. These are good relationships, yet they leave us wanting. We look to spouses and children for fulfillment and meaning, yet we remain thirsty. We work to the point of exhaustion to buy homes, cars, motorcycles, boats, yet remain dissatisfied and discouraged. We look for the applause and approval of peers and of crowds, yet we feel estranged and lonely.
The depths of the need within us can be reached only by Him … only by Jesus. The restlessness that churns within us can be settled only by the comfort of the indwelling Spirit of God. The significance we crave can be found only in the love of the God of Heaven.
For your love is better than life. – Psalm 63:3
“God has made us for himself, and our hearts are restless until we find rest in him.” – Augustine
Victoriously in Christ!