The Power of Thirsting – John 7:37-39
“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink” (John 7:37)
Why does God use the imagery of hunger so often in the Bible? Have you seen a person near starvation, desperately doing whatever is necessary to get food? Nothing can distract hungry people from this basic need. They’re bent on one thing only. This is the picture of a person spiritually hungry for God. But few are filled spiritually due to a failure to hunger. We subtly believe we can live without more of God. God seeks those who recognize their barrenness apart from the Spirit and cry out to him until he fills them.
A recurring biblical principle is the correlation between hungering and thirsting for God and obtaining spiritual realities. Jesus’ will is to pour the Spirit on his thirsty children. He loves to quench our thirst, filling and empowering us to do his will in the world.
Hungering and thirsting for God is essential for Christians. It grows day by day, rather than being mastered at a certain stage and left behind as we proceed with life and ministry. We often go through seasons; at times we hunger for God and at others we don’t. A problem is that some Christians are in the same place with God today as they were ten years ago. They have failed to move on in hunger and thirst for God.
Meeting the Requirements
We are given three requirements for receiving living water (which is the Holy Spirit). Jesus said meeting those three conditions is essential for receiving the power of the Spirit in life and ministry:
- Possessing thirst for the Spirit – “If any man thirsts…”
- Coming to Jesus to receive and drink of him –“Let him come to me…”
- Believing in Jesus according to what the Bible says about him – “Whoever believes in me…”
God is entrusting to us that which is of the highest value (the Holy Spirit). Those lacking thirst won’t appreciate what they have been given, and God will not give such precious resources to them. Lacking thirst has no bearing on eternal salvation. But it negatively affects our capacity to receive more of the Spirit as his children.
Eliminating the Barriers
Many hindrances keep us from hungering and thirsting for God. These originate from our self-oriented natures, the world and the enemy. We’re consistently bombarded with meaningless substitutes, and we buy into them at various levels (social networking, entertainment and the internet are the most invasive of these today). It takes a purposeful heart to say no to the substitutes and to position ourselves to desire more of God. Many Christians have been satisfied with a small measure of what God intends us to enjoy. We’ve settled for scraps that keep us from partaking of the banquet table of divine resources readily available to us (Psalm 23:5).