The Gift of Thirst

Ever feel so thirsty that when you finally got a drink you thought you might drown yourself?

Ever want something so bad you felt physically thirsty for it, even though what you wanted wasn’t a drink but a thing, or a person, or an experience?

* * * * *

I’m not sure why it always goes downhill
Why broken cisterns never could stay filled
I’ve spent ten years singing gravity away
But the water keeps on falling from the sky

And here tonight while the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I’ve ever had in doubt
I’ve spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes

(from Jon Foreman’s song, “A Cure for the Pain”)

* * * * *

Whenever my son Sammy (18 months old) wakes up in the morning, there are two things he wants: the first is his mom. So we take a quick trip into the bedroom for him to get a few cuddles. But pretty soon he realizes he hasn’t had his second thing.

A drink.

So I take him out to the kitchen and give him some milk in a little cup. He drinks and drinks and drinks until he absolutely has to stop to take a breath. He gasps for air, his cheeks red, his eyes watering from the coldness. Then he takes another long draught of milk. And another.

This is what it is to be thirsty.

* * * * *

I think I live my life being thirsty for stuff. And when I get it I drink it, and it tastes so good going down. There’s that initial gulping, that insatiable swallowing that wants to consume the world. But then the thirst is gone, and I’m left holding the bottle. Or the credit card bill. Or the emptiness.

Drinking stuff always leads to this amazing satisfaction, followed by a subtle emptiness.

* * * * *

“Everyone who drinks this [physical] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

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