“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 labor 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)
The end of May always signifies an important time of transition: the warming and lengthening of days as the spring season presses toward summer; generally, the completion of school-year tasks and preparation for new, hopefully lighter endeavors; and finally, a shift in the body’s diet as we begin to crave juicy, hydrating fruits and other cool drinks to satisfy our insatiable summer thirsts.
This May, I graduated from college, said temporary goodbyes to friends and housemates, goodbye to our small kitchen and favorite coffee-haunts, and traveled back to a home and family with whom I have not lived for four years. The changeover has been difficult: dial-up as opposed to instant internet connection, a fifteen-minute commute into town, finicky if perceptible cell-phone signals as our house is situated in a valley, and while battling out all of these petty signifiers of the privilege to which I have become accustomed, I have developed an incurable thirst.
This past week my sister and I headed into town to fetch some groceries. We took our time, trying to find the healthiest, most sustainable foods for our budget, and opted to splurge on some Crystal Light Raspberry Iced Tea instead of sugary juice or soda. We got to the checkout, handed over our cotton bags and green, and then smiling, headed for the car with our fresh foodstuffs. While unpacking at home, we discovered much to our dismay, that the prized Crystal Light was no where to be found. The packer must have forgotten the peach-colored canister in lieu of all the brightly-colored bags. I guess this would be a week of milk and well-water.
As both my parents and siblings have been away at work and school during the day, I find myself stalking around the house, in search of something to satisfy. Hunger or thirst, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish which calls: Maybe coffee will do the trick? Perhaps tea? Cereal? I want that Crystal Light. I sneak away into townin search of a coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks, to loiter and find solace in a book, a journal, and a cup of fairly-traded coffee. All of my old café-hubs are lost, and new, foreign territories have moved in. None is open past eight p.m. It takes a while before I realize that I am not contented with home, or well-water, or coffee-joints because I have not been looking for satisfaction in any of the right places – I have not been mindful or thankful thus far, for the rich wealth God has already given me. How can I be so ignorant?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). Jesus himself declares “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never go thirsty” (John 6:35).
I drive home and it begins to rain as it has been doing off and on these past few days. At night I flip though my Bible and snag a few verses from the middle of Isaiah:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Perhaps momentary droughts – even if psychological – are necessary for us to realize that all we thirst for is rooted in the fulfillment that flows from God and His promises alone. And God does not leave us empty, He does not disappoint. God is intentional, quenching the thirst of all people equally, with streams of justice and rivers of peace and righteousness. In God’s perfect, nutritive wealth we are more than satisfied, we are enriched.