Key Verse: John 7:38 , “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
Weary and exhausted, discouraged and lonely. So often feeling bereft of my identity and adrift, floating aimlessly, in this unpredictable sea known as motherhood; craving just a few moments to myself, perhaps to rediscover who I once was; my interests, talents, worth, passion for God. There are many joys in this parenting journey, but also many trials and moments of doubt and discouragement. Yet I know I’m not alone in these feelings, for many of you moms feel the exact same way. In fact, you may be nodding your head in assent as you read this, trying desperately to enjoy your morning coffee while the kids scream in the background, disrupting your one peaceful moment. You are tired in every possible way and thirsty for more of Jesus, yet never seeming to find the energy or time to pursue Him.
I often think back to a time in my life when it felt like all I did was seek God, and life seemed so easy. I was twenty years old, having just graduated from Bible college, and I had moved back home with my parents to figure out where God wanted to take me next. I was able to spend lots of quality time with my family, especially my Grandma, who had lived far away from me my entire childhood. I had a job that I loved, with lots of time to write and dream about my future, and I was involved with the youth ministry at my parents’ church. Of course I had my struggles even at that time: feeling fat, unattractive, and often despairing that this elusive husband God had promised would never find me, and I daily had to surrender those things to Him and rest in His promises for me. But I remember just being oh so content, so happy, so full of Jesus. Eager to sit at His feet and fellowship with Him, to worship, to pour my heart out before Him as He filled me with His amazing peace and joy. He spoke to me daily, never disappointed or failed me, and I was completely satisfied with Him alone. Overflowing with the goodness and faithfulness and love of God, and so secure in knowing I was His, and He was mine. Life really had never been so good.
And then, everything changed. God opened doors that I knew I was supposed to walk through, but gradually the busyness of life and ministry took more and more time away from my time with Him. And still, He faithfully fulfilled His promises by continuing to open doors of ministry, helping me lose that extra weight and bringing me my godly husband, then blessing me with a beautiful child, and now, another on the way. I can honestly say that He has fulfilled my heart’s desires. I feel so grateful and blessed, but with the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood, quality time with Him has become an almost insurmountable challenge.
Recently I found myself meditating on this verse in John 7:38, and I was amazed at how easy Jesus has made it for us to be filled with His life if we will simply come to Him, even if only for a few minutes a day. He said, “If anyone THIRSTS (whoa, that’s me!), let him COME to me and DRINK. He who BELIEVES in ME, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Instantly, I knew God was speaking to me. I have been so thirsty for so long and yet…why is it so easy to do anything BUT come to the One who has the water that will satisfy? When I have some down time, it always seems easier to read a good novel, or sit exhausted and mindless on the couch in front of the TV, or simply go to sleep. I had to ask myself, do I come to Him when I’m thirsty? Exhausted? Empty of all strength? Do I come to Him when I’m overwhelmed with dishes and piles of laundry, and disciplining the seemingly endless rebellions of a determined 3 year old? Do I come to Him just to rest and receive, or do I go somewhere else? I realized that with all that is expected of me, it often feels that He is just one more thing on my plate, one more obligation to fulfill. But He has gently shown me that is not the truth. You see, He has already done everything. He has torn the veil and made the way to the Father. He has defeated the enemy and won the battle. He has provided all things for my life on earth and my life in eternity. He has done it all! What more is there for me to do than to simply COME, to DRINK, and to REST in His arms? Matthew 11:28-30 is such good news to me because I’m not required to “do” anything when I come to Him, but rather to rest and receive from His fullness. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest…you WILL find rest for your souls.” Oh, what joy! To know He is saying to me and to you today, “COME to Me, RECEIVE from Me, REST in Me! It doesn’t matter what burden you carry. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, come and I will take that burden and give you rest. I AM to you whatever you need!”
Tears threatened as I listened to what He spoke to my heart, and I was reminded of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. I’ve always identified more with Mary, but like Martha, I tend to become anxious and troubled about earthly things, which can and usually does rob us of the ONE thing that is needful…sitting at the feet of Jesus and letting Him minister to our souls. Letting Him breathe life into our spirits, rest into our weariness, joy into our dreary days, peace into our chaos, and, for those like me, identity and meaningfulness into our lack of it. Quenching our aching thirst with His never-ending living water, that revitalizes and strengthens, and in turn flows out of our hearts into others. Wow. I’m amazed that all we have to do is COME and He does the rest. So beautiful, so amazing, so wonderful is our Jesus, and He delights in fulfilling our needs. So I invite you to come to Him today. Come with me, come to find rest and life and the quenching of your thirst. Be filled to overflowing with all that you need and more. Even now He is waiting, and His arms are open wide.
Father, in Jesus’ name I come to You. I am thirsty and needy, but I thank You that You are all that I need. Help me to continually come and drink deeply of this living water that never runs dry, to shut out the distractions of life, even if only for a few moments, and just look to You and find rest and hope and help. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I! Thank You for loving me and providing all I will ever need in Your embrace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.