This is the second installment in a series about Gratitude. Read the first post, "The Barrenness of Envy and Discontent," here.
While in college, I studied abroad in Jerusalem for a summer. It was hot, dry, and arid—surely, the most fruitless and barren environment I have called home. On a trip through the desert to visit Masada and the Dead Sea, the dusty, craggy mountains were stark reminders of the desolate aridity of this land the Israelites were given by God to call home. Jerusalem, though a city, also felt parched. After a day exploring Jerusalem’s streets, my feet were caked in dust. Modern Israelis are proud of their ability to thrive in such harsh, dry conditions—they’ve developed innovative farming and irrigation methods to produce fruit from the land while utilizing minimal water, and the brightest of pink blossoms still grow despite a lack of substantive water.
Perhaps what I enjoyed most about studying abroad in Jerusalem was dwelling in the context and environment in which Jesus and Biblical characters lived. In the time Jesus walked our earth, the climate of Israel was also semiarid and dehydrated. Water was drawn from a well instead of pouring forth from a faucet, yet Jesus goes to a well in the heat of the day in John 4, looking for refreshment and knowing He would meet a woman there who was also parched. We know this woman is a Samaritan, ostracized from the surrounding majority Jewish community, and is surprised that Jesus, a Jewish man speaks to her. She has been married five times and now lives with a man who is not her husband. She goes to the well during the heat of the day, perhaps to avoid interaction with other women. Jesus sees all of this and recognizes the state of her heart—she desires something that remains unfulfilled in this earth.
We share the feeling of dissatisfaction with this woman. It is a dry and fruitless land in which sin entangles our hearts. In this arid place, our minds desperately need reminder of the words Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well:
“‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’.”
In this sentence, Jesus promises to be the source of life and satisfaction for eternity. Later in John, Jesus cries out again:
“‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this He said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Sister, in the places of barrenness and discontent in your life, Jesus—knowing Jesus and loving Jesus—is your living water. Before our hearts may be moved to gratitude, we must accept the invitation Jesus makes to us and know Him for who He is in the Scriptures. He is the fountain that quenches our thirst and satisfies our souls, and once we place our trust and faith in Him, He promises continual, flowing, living water from our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
In first trusting Christ, we turn from the wells we once looked to for satisfaction and turn towards Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, we are filled each day by looking to Christ for our spiritual satisfaction and health. He promises to satisfy our souls, to quench our thirst, and provide all that we need.
May the following passage from Isaiah 55 fill our hearts with gratitude towards our Creator, Savior, and Guide:
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.”