5.03.2015

i'm thirsty; who needs water?

A very nice person wanted to treat the Dandelion volunteers to a nice meal a few weeks ago. While at the restaurant, Todd, Caroline, and I started noticing that Ian was constantly checking to see if anyone needed their porcelain cups refilled with hot water. After he’d sufficiently checked, he’d refill his own empty cup. It didn’t take us long to connect the dots. One of us finally mentioned, “You know, you can fill your own cup without having to ask about ours.”

“Oh,” he said, a little surprised that we’d noticed, since it had been completely subconscious for him. “My grandmother always taught me to see who else needed water before filling my own. Now it’s just natural.” We all laughed a little, and we’ve kind of teased him ever since, anytime we see him serving us before he gets what he needs. But even in the moment I noticed a deep bit of meaning in the action. As he stated, Ian’s mindset is, “I’m thirsty; who needs water?”

What if we applied this to life? We all have a thirst deep within us for purpose, meaning, love, and fulfillment. Really, there is a “God-shaped hole,” a thirst for water that satisfies. Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give to him will never be thirsty again.” I’ll take that water!

But even after we begin following Jesus, there are times when we have an incredibly strong desire to know Him more, hear Him more, feel Him more – a thirst of sorts, a thirst that we know will completely quenched on the very day we go to be with Him. I know that I feel this thirst all the time. David said, “As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after You.”

Perhaps we can use even our own thirst for more of God as a reminder to think of others. We can think, “I’m thirsty; who needs water?” When we’re asking God to speak to us (yes, ask!), maybe we can stop and listen to whose name He might give us to pray for, and then we can pray for that person to be filled with God as well.

Last year, someone told me that an amazing passage to pray for others is Ephesians 3:14-21: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Here is it again, because if you’re like me, you may have kind of skimmed it briefly the first time. This time, read it – even out loud! – to yourself, and emphasize the words in italics. Often, just emphasis can show us an entirely new aspect of a passage:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

There is so much packed into these seven verses to think of as we pray for others, but here are just a few of my thoughts:

- The only request in this passage is for God to strengthen the person. Everything else follows from God answering that request. So especially if you’re praying with someone in person, remind them that the prayer is to God, it’s not a pep talk for them to do better next time. God will answer, and He will get all the glory.
- We actually need God to strengthen us so we can comprehend His love for us!
- We are rooted and grounded in love, because we are now part of the vine of Christ. Again, this is not a place for us to take a deep breath and say, “Okay, get your act together and try to be more grounded in love.” This is where we realize that we already are rooted in love, and we just need God to strengthen us to be who we really are.
- God wants to fill us with all the fullness of Himself. Whoa. Just think about that.
- God is at work within us. That’s what it says. His power is working, and we just consent to Him answer the prayers and doing what He loves to do.

This Scripture and these thoughts have helped me pray for others. But I hope to do so much, much more. For unbelievers, that they will know how much God loves them and wants them. For believers, that they will know how much God loves them and wants them. When I’m thirsty, I want to think of who else around me is even thirstier. “I’m thirsty; who needs water?”

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