A People Who Thirst
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” - Matthew 5:6
Palo Duro Canyon is one of my favorite places on earth. For those who have not been, picture a portion of the Grand Canyon dropped right into the middle of the Texas Panhandle. It is a breath-taking location for sightseeing and an adventurous location for hiking and exploring. A few years ago, I thought it would also be a great location for a training run.
I was training for a marathon while visiting family in Amarillo and was slated to do my longest run yet – 15 miles. It was the perfect excuse to get out to the canyon and run some trails. I packed more water than I thought could ever be necessary, some snacks and my running gear and headed for the trails. I will save you the details of the run – which was so incredibly blissful – but I will share this detail with you. The Park Rangers at the Canyon suggest packing one quart of water per person per mile. A 15-mile training run would necessitate approximately four gallons of water.
I did not take four gallons of water. I also did not plan for how little air flow there would be down in the canyon. It was still, hot and dry. And I was completely parched by the end of the run. I had finished both of my large water bottles I was running with and my reserve water from the car. On the drive up and out of the canyon there was a small convenience store. The gladness in my heart at seeing it was open was overwhelming. I was so thirsty. I was so thirsty, in fact, that I did not care that I was paying around $5.00 per bottle. They were worth every single penny.
This is the kind of thirst Jesus references in Matthew 5. It is the kind of desire that brings the Psalmist to pen the words, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul thirsts for you, my God.” (Psalm 42:1, NIV) I think about how desperately I wanted water that day. My thirst would give way to no substitute. I needed water. Jesus makes a similar statement in John 4 about all of us.
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
I pray that we are a people who cannot be satisfied or pacified with substitutes. I pray we thirst for the righteousness of God to the point that it would consume us. In each passage referenced above the thirst for the Living Water is great, but it is met with a promise. A promise to never thirst again. A promise to be filled to the point of overflowing. - Jason Simon, Minister to Students