I'll never forget the looks of horror on my husband's and children's faces. As we made eye contact, my husband quickly tried to replace his expression of shock with a well-intentioned smile, nodding his head to encourage me. My children, on the other hand, had no such scruples and just stared, slack-jawed and squinting, as if to see if I was really the Mom they knew.
It was the home stretch of my first (and so far only) 5K, and they were waiting to cheer me on. I've always been an absolute, bona fide non-runner, but I'd trained for this first race for months. My only goal: Don't walk.
I accomplished that goal, but it was a lot harder than I thought. I had a side cramp within minutes, and my years' absent asthma showed up shortly after that. I was being passed by both 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds, and my legs felt like plodding stumps of lead. So when my family finally saw me, instead of the triumphant finish-line scene they might have expected, I was red-faced (read: tomato-colored) with accompanying splotches all over my arms and legs. I was sweating profusely, jogging jiltingly, and probably drooling too.
As I lurched over the finish line, I was bone-tired . . . and I was thirsty.
I guzzled water. I dumped it on my head. I drenched my clothes. Then I drank some more. Ever been there? We've all had moments in our lives when we were physically desperate for hydration—when we long for the refreshment and revitalization that only cool, clean water can provide. We know we can't go on without it.
We've all also likely had times when, spiritually, we're desperately thirsty—and we know it. Our spirits feel parched, we're bone-tired, and we're longing for the Living Water that only God can provide.
As we explore the new TCW Bible study "Living Water," we find experiencing such thirst is actually a good thing. Sometimes hurt, fear, or a deeply-felt prayer brings it on. Other times it's stirred up by passionate worship, the well-timed words of a friend, or the mysterious soul-working of the Holy Spirit. We dwell within a desperation for God like the psalmists who cried, "I thirst for God, for the Living God" (Psalm 42:2). This thirst may be painful at times, but it draws us toward the one true source of soul refreshment.
The real danger is when we don't realize how thirsty and dehydrated, we really are. When we mask our souls' thirst with busyness, commitments, and distractions, and lap up syrupy counterfeits to help us feel better, we go about life looking good on the outside—maybe even fooling ourselves—while we miss out on the amazing Living Water Jesus offers us.
It's easy—dangerously easy—to get into thirst-dulling patterns of distraction and spiritual procrastination that lead to soul dehydration. I have my excuses ready to rattle off: three kids to raise, writing and editing work to do, a household to keep in running order, and on and on and on. What's on your list?
Real-life physical dehydration can have serious consequences, causing seizures, shock, kidney failure, brain-swelling, coma, and even death. So why do we kid ourselves into thinking that soul-dehydration is any less detrimental?
Jesus said, "Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!" (John 7:38). I'm thankful, again and again, that the invitation is always there. It's a well that is fresh and clean and plentiful and welcoming.
Are you thirsty? Does your soul long for refreshment? Explore Jesus' personal invitation for you to drink his Living Water and share it with others in Today's Christian Woman's new 3-session Bible Study, "Living Water."
Kelli B. Trujillo is the creator of TCW "Living Water" Bible study and the author of several books, including the new Flourishing Faith devotional study series. Join her in conversation at www.kellitrujillo.com.