Those of us in America have probably never known real thirst and hunger from a physical standpoint.
Yet I think that many teen girls – and grown-up girls too – understand thirst and hunger from a different perspective. A hunger to be accepted for who we are. A thirst for more than this world can offer. A hunger to love and to be loved.
We turn to different places and people trying to fill the hunger and thirst – to make it go away. But it doesn’t.
And maybe that’s because God has given us a hunger and thirst by His design – to draw us closer to Him, to grow our dependence on Him, and to remind us that He alone can satisfy.
The woman at the well was just an ordinary woman looking to quench her thirst. Probably as a starry-eyed teenager, she had said her wedding vows and then expected to live happily ever after.
And then, he was gone. He told her she wasn’t good enough. He didn’t want her. He didn’t love her.
Back to square one, she picked up the pieces of her heart and found another man. And then another. And then another. And then another.
She thought that relationships would fulfill her, but she felt empty inside. Instead of satisfying her hunger, it had only grown stronger. Instead of quenching her thirst, she felt completely parched.
Wearily, she let down her bucket into the well, completely alone. None of the women even talked to her any more. Her reputation prevented her from enjoying even a decent woman’s friendship.
Then, from behind her, a man’s voice said, “Give me a drink.”
Had someone spoken to her?
She spun around and saw that not just a man, but a Jewish man, was talking to her, a Samaritan woman. (The Jews and Samaritans avoided each other, putting it nicely.)
He started to tell her about the gift of God and something called living water. He looked at the well and said, “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 4:13b-14, ESV).
She wanted that water. And she asked for it.
But then her heart sank. He told her to go call her husband. Lowering her eyes, she told him she didn’t have a husband.
That’s right, he said. He already knew about her five previous husbands and her current live-in boyfriend.
And he talked to her anyway. Not only talked to her, but offered her something that would not just satisfy her physical thirst, but her eternal thirst.
She had met a Man unlike no other. She had met the Christ. And for the first time in her life, she didn’t feel thirsty any more.
There’s a song by Avalon called “Where Joy and Sorrow Meet.” The third verse says, “There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep.”
I’m learning that God wants us to be dissatisfied with this world so that we turn to Him for satisfaction. The hungry and thirsty places are opportunities for us to deepen our faith and to learn to trust Him.
Perhaps C. S. Lewis said it best: “If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”