This afternoon I went to coffee with some buddies at a local coffee shop. I’m not sure whether it was my fault for not speaking the cultural language of coffee or the barista’s fault whom took my order and attempted to make my custom coffee. Regardless, let me go on record as saying that it was one of the worst beverages I have ever tasted and by far the nastiest coffee I have ever put in my mouth. Needless to say the coffee left much to be desired and my thirst was not quenched. If anything, my yearning for a different type of coffee, aka “Starbucks”, was great.
I was thirsty. I was looking for a fix. My attempt at filling this need in the moment backfired.
My encounter with said coffee brought me to a place of contemplation…
I envisioned the coffee tasting like that of stagnant water.
What is stagnant water?
Stagnant water – (′stag·nənt ′wöd·ər):
Motionless water, not flowing in a stream or current. Also known as standing water.
Stagnant water = Dead water
The dangers in dealing with stagnant water are many and vast. Read any report on stagnant water and you’ll quickly find that this type of standing water is dead water. From an array of bacteria and parasites to mosquitoes mating, diseases like malaria and dengue run rapid and wreak havoc.
So here’s what I’ve been questioning? How often do I willingly settle for stagnant water when there is a wellspring of living water available?
Over 2,000 years ago Jesus addressed a culturally crass woman about this very topic.
“When a Samaritan woman came to the well to get some water, Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ The woman said, ‘I am surprised that you ask me for a drink, since you are a Jewish man and I am a Samaritan woman.’ Jesus said, ‘If you only knew the free gift of God and who it is that is asking you for water, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (NCV)
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not equating Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman as though he were rolling through Starbucks and placing his order for a Venti Latte, extra whip. What I am saying is that everyday people from every nation, tribe and tongue grow thirsty and experience a need for their hydration, or lack there of, to be filled and in relationship to my coffee experience, if we attempt to fill up with something that is gross and stagnant, we will continue to thirst, grow sick and eventually die.
Living Water – aka – “Holy Spirit”.
Here’s the deal in a nutshell. The Samaritan woman was so used to custom and tradition that she failed to see or understand what was right in front of her. She had the chance to experience a quenching in which she would never grow thirsty again. Instead of accepting the gift that was being offered she rationalized the situation with Jesus.
How are you going to get the water when you don’t have anything to scoop it up with? And the well…it’s more than 100 feet deep. You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan. You worship here and I worship there. Man I’m thirsty!
So here it is.
Each one of us has a God-shaped hole in us that we need to fill. We attempt to fill with things that don’t matter; temporal things, things that leave us empty, longing for more. This is no different from the Samaritan woman whom attempted to fill her thirst through relationships. She was married five times and the man she lived with at the time wasn’t her husband.
So what are the things that we try to quench our thirst with? When parched, what do we attempt to fill our heads and hearts with? Is it empty relationships? Is it votes of confidence? Is is climbing the corporate ladder? Is it trying to be good enough? Regardless of what it is, I am sure of this one thing, after trying to fill the obvious voids in our lives with things this side of heaven, we will be left in want.
The dangers in dealing with empty attempts to fill these voids are many and vast. Read the Word of God and you’ll quickly find that this type of fulfillment is dead water. From an array of bacteria and parasites to sin mating, diseases like brokenness and disparage run rapid and wreak havoc.
So here’s the question? How often do we willingly settle for stagnant water when there is a wellspring of living water available?