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John part XXII

Has life ever left you thirsty?
I’m not talking about being thirsty & wanting water to drink…
I’m talking about when life leaves you unsatisfied…
Has life left you thirsty?
So, you’re sitting @ a stop light & you’re starring out to the horizon…
& there is something missing in your life & there is a thirst you have tried to quench over & over & over with many things… but they have all left you thirsty…
Do you feel like there ought to be more to marriage than just cohabitating?
Do you feel like there ought to be more to work than just a paycheck?
Do you feel like there ought to be more to walking with Jesus than do’s & don’ts?
This morning, Jesus has a word for any of us who are thirsty.
         Last week we talked about how Jesus’ brother’s tried to tell Him to go to the Feast of Tabernacles… one of the main Jewish feasts…
But, Jesus stayed right where He was because He said His time had not yet come.
His brothers went on ahead & Jesus went later.
And Jesus gives this short, but awesome sermon on the last day of the feast.
The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated God bringing the Jewish people out of captivity in Egypt & eventually to the Promised Land.
         It’s interesting that each day of this particular feast, there would be a processional of all the priests… a Priest Parade!
These priests would parade down to the Pool of Siloam.
And they would carry water in golden vessels…
& pour them out on the altar…
Pouring out the water was a reminder of how God had provided water for them in the wilderness in the Old Testament.
The people were complaining against God & to Moses, & said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us… with thirst?’ (NLT Exodus 17:3)
So, God told Moses to strike a rock with the same stick God told him to use to split the Red Sea.
When Moses struck the rock, water gushed out of the rock & everyone who was thirsty had their thirst quenched.
         Now, going back to the Feast of Tabernacles… for some reason… on the last day of the feast, there was no priest parade. Maybe they forgot… maybe they didn’t feel like it… maybe they had checked out early even though the feast wasn’t over…
So, no priest parade meant there was no water poured out on the altar…
No reminder of God quenching the thirst of the Israelites in the desert…
So, Jesus took the opportunity to talk about thirst.
And Jesus says in…
John 7:37b-38 “Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from His heart.’” (NLT)
I just love how Jesus starts both of these sentences… Anyone…
Who does that include? Everyone!
Jesus opened His arms wide to everyone who was there that day &…
His arms are wide open to everyone here today…
That day Jesus said anyone who is thirsty
anyone who believes could come to Him.
         Jesus’ teachings are anything but judgmental or exclusive or bigoted.
Jesus says to anyone who is thirsty, I invite you to a better life, a deeper life…
Anyone who is thirsty… anyone who believes…
You might think you’re not worthy of His invitation & but you’re dead wrong… anyone who is thirsty… anyone who believes…
         Now, what is Jesus talking about when He says anyone who is thirsty?
Thirsty for what?
Thirst comes from a lack of water…
Jesus is saying, whatever you are thirsty for…
whatever is lacking in your life… He is the answer…
         It is pretty amazing when someone who has been trying to quench their thirst with the pleasures the world offers, only to still be thirsty, comes to Jesus & He changes their desires & He quenches their thirst.
Whatever you are thirsty for… He will provide…
He will quench your thirst…
And if you thirst for the wrong things, He will change what you thirst for…
so that what you will thirst for the right things… godly things…
Some thirst for power, but God will quench that thirst with a different kind of power…
A power that comes from having Him in your life…
Power that gives us strength to live every day @ work or @ home or @ school or wherever we find ourselves…


Becky Beard shared a story with me after church last week that she was in the hospital in unspeakable pain & she prayed & cried out to Jesus because she was afraid.
And when she was done praying, she felt a peace that no matter what happened next, everything was going to be okay… for the Lord was giving her strength…
She was thirsty… & He said, “Come & drink”
When we have a thirst, whatever that thirst might be…
we can have that thirst met when we go to Him…
         If you are thirsty & you are moving towards Jesus, you are moving in the right direction…
John 7:37b-38a “Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me! Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink!” (NLT)
         Jesus’ timing was impeccable for this short sermon…
He waited for the end of this Jewish feast to see if anyone was still thirsty…
He waited to see if everyone had really drawn close to the Father because of this religious feast…
This time of remembering how God freed them from Egypt, led them in the wilderness & eventually to the Promised Land…
         He knew that some folk had been to church for this entire week, but had probably still missed God.
Is it possible that they had gone through the motions?
Checked their box… punched the clock… but missed what was most important…
By going through the motions…
they had finished a full week of church & they were still thirsty…
Just going to church didn’t do it for them…
My mentor & friend, Roy Lauter says you can get baptized until the tadpoles know your social security number…
you can take communion until your tongue is purple…
you can get “Jesus loves you” tattoed on your forehead…
you can be a member of a church in good standing…
you can go to church every time the doors are open…
you can read the bible in a week every week…
but you will be forever thirsty going through the motions until you come to Him to quench your thirst…
Jesus wanted them to know, they didn’t have to go home thirsty.
He wanted them to know they didn’t have to miss Him.
If we aren’t careful, we can miss Him by going through the motions…
putting in our time… checking the boxes…
& still be thirsty down in our soul…
         All you have to do is come… but what does that mean?
Come is one of the smallest & most simple words we have in English.
It signifies our approach to an object.
It is a verb of action… an act of the will…
To come to Christ means that we do with our heart…
what we would do with our feet if Jesus were standing in front of us physically.
It means we move in His direction…
We come to Him empty handed & we drink…
To drink means to make Christ a part of you…
We receive Him into our life…
& that means you acknowledge & accept who He is…
Jesus is saying if you come AND drink, you won’t be thirsty anymore.
Our world is out of control thirsty for money, sex, power, prestige…

So, what is Jesus saying?
When you come to Him & you drink, that part of your life which was thirsty…
your deepest needs will be met…
Dr. David Jeremiah says that the amazing thing is…
We come to Jesus for that living water when He saves us, but we really never stop coming to Him do we?
We never stop drinking…
What the Lord wants from us is to be an empty vessel that He can fill…
& He wants to quench our thirst in life…

Vance Havner says that he was thankful that God’s hand led him to our Lord’s prescription for thirst. Here it is: Thirst. Come. Drink. Believe. Overflow. And based on the quote from Dr. Jeremiah, I would add ‘repeat’.
If you’re a Christian & you’re still thirsty, there is only one reason you’re still thirsty… you’ve forgotten the formula.
It’s the same formula as when we 1st came to Jesus.
It’s the same formula each time we come back to Him.
Thirst. Come. Drink. Believe. Overflow. Repeat.

Colossians 2:6 “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.” (NLT)
         What is the Apostle Paul saying?
You never stop following… each time you thirst… go to Him.
The formula is simple…
Thirst. Come. Drink. Believe. Overflow. Repeat.
Some of you have never come to Jesus for the 1st time.
And He only asks one thing of you… you must thirst…
You’re not going to come to Him if you aren’t thirsty…
You’ll never accept Him into your life if you never admit you’re thirsty…
if you’re never honest with yourself that something is missing…
something is lacking…
Maybe you’ve never told anyone else …
but you know you are thirsty…
Jesus says if you thirst, all you need to do is come & drink…
Thirst. Come. Drink. Believe. Overflow. Repeat.
If life has left you thirsty…
& your attempts to quench your thirst have failed…
Jesus says, “Come to Me”.
There is a thirst in all of us that goes beyond a physical thirst.
And we try to fill it with anything & everything…
even ‘religion’… or being “religious”…
or doing what we think are the right things or doing good deeds…
We try relationships & when they don’t work out, we think the next one will be different, but then that one doesn’t work…
& there just might be a common denominator there…
We try quenching our thirst with stuff…
Maybe I need a little bit more stuff…
Maybe I need to travel more…
Maybe I need to experience more things…
Maybe if I just worked a little harder @ work for that promotion…
In speaking about the woman @ the well who was thirsty, Andy Stanley posed an odd question I think connects to our sermon today…
How much sand does it take to quench your thirst?
Of course, we know the answer…
no amount of sand will quench your thirst…
in fact, sand would make your thirst worse…
And that’s what some of us are doing…
Trying to quench our thirst through experiences or relationships or stuff or careers… things that are good in & of themselves…
but are not good when we don’t properly use them…
So, instead of quenching our thirst with all of that, we make it worse.
If you were to go back to the chapter of your life that you’d like to rip out from your story…. the chapter you have the most regrets about…
Your regrets probably had something to do with trying to quench your thirst in a way that would never be possible… with sand…
& in the process, you made your life more complicated… more thirsty…
My biggest regrets are directly connected to the times I used sand to try to quench my thirst… & it definitely made life worse, not better.

And how do we respond when someone points out to us that we’re trying to quench our thirst in the wrong way?
We do one of 2 things… we either get defensive…
or we try to change the subject.
Don’t we?
The truth is, no amount of sand is ever going to quench your thirst.
What is the invitation Jesus gives to us?
Anyone who is thirsty may come to Me.
Only He can meet & satisfy your thirst.
When someone shares their story of how they came to Jesus, a part of their story usually includes a part where they say that they tried to quench their thirst with sand.
But then they met Jesus & everything changed.
But, here’s the interesting thing…
Would you agree that if you or I had gone to them while they were using sand to quench their thirst… & the sand was making it worse…
& if we asked them why they were trying to quench thirst with sand…
they would have tried to change the subject or become defensive.
I know I did when people confronted me about trying to use sand to quench my thirst… I got defensive… I tried to change the subject because I knew they were right… & I knew it was getting worse, not better…
But now they can say, I was thirsty, but Jesus has quenched my thirst.
Has life left you thirsty?
If you can admit that, you are a candidate for having your thirst quenched.
Jesus will give you His grace.
Maybe you’re here today & you’re a Christian…
& maybe you’ve forgotten that sand won’t quench your thirst…
but you’ve been trying the sand anyway…
& this morning you realize once again that life has left you thirsty…
& you know only Jesus can quench that thirst.
Maybe you’re here today & you have never accepted Jesus’ invitation to come to Him when you are thirsty…
you’ve tried all kinds of sand to quench your thirst in life…
& none of it has worked…
in fact, it has made you more thirsty…
And the Christians you know aren’t thirsty & you want what they have…
You want your thirst quenched…
You can come to Him today…
Today, if you admit that you’re thirsty & you come to Him… Jesus will quench your thirst.
You don’t have to be thirsty… just come to Jesus…
Anyone can… anyone… just come to Jesus.

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