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Are You Thirsty?

The word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters… Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live” (Is 55:1-3).

Brothers and sisters, I am thirsty. Like you, I am surrounded on all sides by political instability, economic uncertainty, ecological crisis, social irresponsibility, moral chaos, and the threat of war. I am thirsty for a better world. Do you know how I feel?

Every place I go there is greed, selfish-ambition, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness, and division. That’s just the church. I am thirsty for a better church. Do you know how I feel?

Whenever I examine my own heart, I face the demons of fear and despair, the long shadows of anxiety and threat of depression, the temptations to compromise or quit, the bondage of self-justification, performance and reward. I am thirsty for a better me. Do you know how I feel?

Well, here is the good news. It will not always be this way! Before the invitation from Isaiah is a mighty promise. A day is coming when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Is 11:9) On that day we will thirst no more. In the meantime, there is life-giving water, here and now, for all those who will come to him and drink.

This promise was first given to a people in exile, desolate and dismayed. The word through Jeremiah was, “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer 2:13). Isaiah’s invitation was to renew their thirst for the Lord himself. To be immersed again in his presence. To be filled with hope that they are his, that he reigns overall, and will have the last word in history, a knowledge that changes everything, right here and now, no matter how things seem.

Brothers and sisters, are you thirsty for the knowledge of the Lord? For his real presence, his perfect love, and his holy reign. For the prophetic hope that one day the Lord himself will captivate every eye, rule every heart, bow every knee, transform every life, and fill the whole earth with his glory (Hab 2:14) To know the Lord is to thirst for something big, really big. Can you glimpse it, taste it, feel it coming?

O Lord, let it begin with me. May I have eyes only for you, a heart that desires only you, a life that glorifies only you. May you be the air that I breathe, the bread of my life, the water I thirst for. Be my everything, in every moment, of every day. Send me where you will, rank me with whom you will, do with me what you will. So you may be known and glorified.

At the end of a great outpouring of the Spirit, the question is not whether we have been satisfied. The Lord does not want spiritual consumers. The question is whether we have been left thirsting for more. Not for more outpourings, but for more overflowing of the Spirit in our hearts and lives. The Lord wants us to truly know him, and to thirst for his in-filling, life-transforming, over-flowing, and world-changing power.

And so I ask you:

Are you thirsty for the Mission of the Spirit? 
Are you thirsty for the fellowship of the Spirit?
Are you thirsty for the holiness of the Spirit? 

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”Filled with the pure joy of discovering that this way of mission, fellowship and holiness is the way of abundant life.

He calls, and his voice is “like the sound of rushing waters” (Rev 1:15) The Spirit and the bride say “Come”, and all those who have tasted for themselves say “Come”, and take the free gift of the water of life (Rev 22:17) He is calling now and tomorrow “Give ear to him,  listen” (Is 55:1)

Extract from ‘Are You Thirsty?’ By Philip Meadows, sermon at Asbury Seminary on 9 March 2023 

Click here to listen to the whole sermon.  

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