Our body is made up of up to 70% water. It’s essential to our organs,
skin. Drinking water then makes a lot of sense. Just like when we’re hungry,
there’s a mechanism between our body and brain that tells us when we’re
thirsty. If we drink water, we get hydrated, and everything is fine. But
sometimes we ignore the signal. We get busy; we’re distracted. If it’s
suppressed long enough, the signal gets weaker because it’s going into
scarcity mode. We adapt to the environment, telling our brain and body that
we’re somewhere that’s closer to a desert than a rainforest. Of course, it’s not
true. We’re dehydrated and our body needs water, but we’re not listening. A
leading expert said that most of the clients he sees are chronically
dehydrated. When he asks why they don’t drink water, the common response
is, “I’m not thirsty.” Yet they are.
I bet your body/brain thirst linkage is firing right now and you’re
thirstier than you’ve been in some time. Some nice cool water would be so
good—just like this…. I wonder how many of us are chronically dehydrated.
Who here drinks enough water? By the way, if you sip water, then you’re not
drinking water. Sip tea or coffee. You drink water. If you interested in
knowing why I care enough to go into all this, it’s because I have pastored
women who late in life died from UTIs, urinary tract infections, which
happen more often to them than to men. The first cause listed for UIs? Not
drinking enough fluids. Realize your thirsty and do something about it, each
Psalm 107:9 says, “God satisfies the thirsty soul with good things.” Do
you have a thirsty soul, or have you adapted?
2 Kings 3 tells about the time when the armies of Israel and Judah
headed out to meet the king of Moab’s army. They decided to travel a way
that unfortunately led through land on which the rivers or wadis had all dried.
Day after day they had no water for themselves or animals. They were thirsty
but they knew it. On the seventh day they were camped in a valley where it
never rained; it was the worst place to run out of water. Parched, weakened,
suffering, it looked like they were easy targets. The prophet Elijah was asked
to prophesy, that is, to inquire of the Lord what they should do and what was
going to happen. Elijah told the kings to “get me a musician.” After listening
to music, Elijah said the Lord would fill all the dried rivers with water—
water was on the way. Did it ever! After drinking their fill, they went on to
win the battle.
Let me say something about music and thirsty souls. Even the great
prophet Elijah needed something to bring him to the presence of the Lord—
music. If you’re living your life devoid of music, you’re living with a thirsty
soul. If you’re only watching TV, news, sports, or other shows, and not
listening to music, then you’re suffering from thirst of the soul. If you’re
reading books, even as good as most are, but not listening to music, you’re
not as parched, but you’re still dehydrated. Of course, there’s music that does
little for your soul, but there isn’t much of that. Just about any music touches,
moves, and transforms us. Music makes us less anxious, less afraid, less
lonely, more hopeful, joyful. Music from other worlds gives us a window
into others, their worlds, a fuller humanity. Music takes us out of our
thinking, out of analyzing, comparing and contrasting, dividing and
differentiating ourselves from others. It makes us feel our bodies and spirits,
our humanity, and our individual aliveness. Music lets us resonate at the
vibration that restores our souls.
So yes, my message today is to drink water and listen to music. LOL!
You can handle that, right?!
The thing is, the kings that went out to face Moab didn’t seek the Lord
first, which was customary to do. They went out on their own and landed in a
desert of thirst. As our psalm described the same action saying, “Some
wandered in desert wastes, hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within
them.” The kings and those armies thought they had it all together; probably
used a map and figured it was easy-peasy. All of a sudden, they’re in a world
of hurt. But they’re not the only ones who do this.
I know we think we know what we’re doing, where we’re going, what
we’re going to find. We’ve got the map right in here. We’ve got it figured
out! Before you know it, however, it’s like a desert around you. Things can
get real real fast. That wasn’t a good choice; she wasn’t the right person; that
was the wrong business or job; I shouldn’t have gone there or done that. How
often we don’t know what we’re doing, where we’re going, what we will end
up with. A lot of people end up out there somewhere, somewhere where
there’s very little water, very little sustenance, a lot of thirst and hunger. But
the saddest of all is when someone doesn’t recognize how thirsty she is, how
hungry he’s become, how lost they are. Others can see it. Someone else tries
to help—and is rejected. We don’t want to hear that we don’t know what
we’re doing. It’s easier and better sooner rather than later. Recognize your
condition. See your state. Being hungry isn’t the problem; not knowing you
are is.
This is where we may be, but the same doesn’t go for God, as our
scripture makes clear when it continues, “Then they cried to the Lord in their
trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight
way, until they reached an inhabited town…. For he satisfies the thirsty, and
the hungry he fills with good things.” That is what the God can do with us,
even when we can no longer do anything for ourselves.
We’re never so hungry that the Lord can’t feed us. We’re never too
thirsty the God can quench our thirst. Perhaps we might want to put down
our maps and seek the Lord’s way. Align yourself with God’s purpose. Put
yourself at the Lord’s disposal, so you can truly be satisfied.
Our psalm has a chorus motif: “Let them thank the Lord for his
steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.” This is repeated in
each stanza.
Now here’s the thing about gratitude and being thankful to God. It’s
fine for a season, but it’s not the last station of your journey. It’s wonderful
when someone comes out of the desert, gets saved, and when the Lord helps
them find a new life, new love, health and well-being. Everyone has this
experience to a greater or lesser degree. We’re both close to being saved and
closer to being in the desert than we often know. Someone who looks like
they never saw a grain of sand is only a step away; the person who traveled
deep into the dunes is never more than a hand away from solid ground. How
deep all our gratitude should be.
Being thankful, however, is just one part of it. Living satisfied that you
aren’t who you used to be, praise God, or satisfied that you’ve lived your life
on solid ground, praise the Lord, can’t be the end all, however. Gratitude
isn’t enough. You can’t live on gratitude. You live by doing. You live by
building. You live by growing.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a world-renowned architect. He designed
some of the most beautiful buildings, and some of the most magnificent
structures. Toward the end of his career a reporter asked him, out of all his
buildings which one was his favorite. Without skipping a beat, he said, “My
next one.” He had all the success in the world, but he wasn’t done.
Don’t be satisfied with being saved, or should I say, safe. Don’t be
satisfied, as if God said, “Well, she’s no longer in danger. I’ve pulled that
one out of a pit. Or he never walks there, so, my work and their work are
done.” Sorry, that’s not how it works.
Gratitude is great but it harbors a danger. Gratitude’s danger is that it
comes too often with a large serving of complacency. Resting on God’s
laurels, for what the Lord has done for us, means we’re satisfied, which
means we’re complacent, which means we’re not hungry anymore or thirsty
any longer, which takes us back to the start: We can be thirsty and hungry
and not know it, anywhere. We can be walking in a desert and not know it.
We might have a little bit of a water and a little bit of food and think it’s
plenty—but it isn’t.
There was a little frog that lived at a well’s bottom. She was so happy.
Every day she’d play in the water, splash and have fun. She thought she had
all the water in the world and life was good. One day, she looked up, saw a
light at the top of her world, and decided to go check it out. She climbed to
the top, cautiously peered over the edge and much to her surprise saw a pond.
She couldn’t believe it; never had she seen that much water. She climbed out
and hopped to the pond and then a little farther up, she saw a lake. She
couldn’t fathom that much water. She went a to the lake’s edge, and there she
saw the ocean. All she could see for miles and miles was water—water,
water and more water. She thought she had all the water, and had only been
playing in a puddle, really.
It’s easy to get satisfied in our well. We’re happy; God’s been good to
us; we have no complaints. Can I tell you? There’s so much more. Don’t be
complacent. Don’t rest on laurels you’ve received. They dry up after a while.
I love the story a pastor told. “I met a 106-year-old man after the
service a while back. He was so likable, he looked like he was 70 years old.
He didn’t have one wrinkle on his face. I commented on how good he
looked—he’s African American—he touched his face and said, ‘Pastor, black
don’t crack’. He was so funny and so good-natured. I asked him how long he
was planning on living? I’ll never forget what he told me. He said, ‘I have
seven children. One of them, one of my sons is not serving God. He’s off
track, not making good decisions. God promised that as for me and my house
we will serve the Lord. And I’m not gonna die until I see him back on track’.
A hundred and six years old, and he’s still thirsty, he’s still expecting
God to bring something good to pass. Check yourself. You’re still hungry.
You’re still thirsty. Let the Lord satisfy you now, not with what happened
before, but with what is yet to be. Can the church say amen?