The Hunger and Thirst
Hunger and thirst are so common to our existence we instinctively assign them certain behaviors. The logic is pretty simple: If we are hungry, we eat. If we are thirsty, we drink. But the closer we look at the process of hungering and thirsting the more fascinated we are by their design.
Did you know our sense of smell is responsible for 80% of the things we taste? The human tongue can recognize the basic sensations of saltiness, bitterness, sweet and sour, but the nose is necessary for anything more complex. This is why, when we have a head cold, hardly anything tastes good.
If the sensation of taste is not confined to buds on our tongue, then we shouldn’t be surprised if spiritual hunger and thirst exhibit similar complexities. Spiritual sense begins with some basic human needs: the need to be at peace with ourselves and in community with God and others. Adam and Eve weren’t spiritually hungry or thirsty before they sinned, since their relationship with God was complete and unsoiled. But when they fell, their perfect peace was destroyed and a dark void invaded their hearts.
For centuries humans have attempted to fill this void in two inadequate ways. First, they have immersed themselves in selfish ambition and self-gratification, hoping to find peace through pleasure, fortune and fame. These pursuits can make one happy, but only for a short time. Trophies tarnish, records are broken and earthly pleasure is momentary.
The second way humans have tried to find peace is through self-righteousness. Some have masked the true nature of their relationship with God by creating a code of goodness and awarding themselves a passing grade. This was how the Pharisees in Jesus’ day managed their spiritual emptiness. They emphasized the rules they were good at keeping and used their personal standard as a litmus test to judge others. Unfortunately, just as ambition and self-gratification are temporary, self-righteousness is hollow. One might even say righteousness that is defined by man is not righteousness at all.
In truth, the only way to restore true peace in our hearts, and make things right with God is to hunger and thirst after Him. We must pursue Him passionately, discover His will for our lives, and allow Him to guide, teach and even chastise us. Graciously, God has established a means of peace through the blood of His Son Jesus. When we accept Him by faith, we begin anew and experience a peace that surpasses anything this world has to offer.