“O God, you are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You . . . in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1, New King James Version).
Dog days, the dry month.
The front yard is like a worn-out carpet from lack of rain. Shrubs and trees are motionless, their leaves layered with dust.
You carry a bottle of water wherever you go; it seems to be growing to your hand. You park your car in the shade. You walk slowly, trying not to sweat. Every afternoon you go swimming in the park pool, which leaves you feeling clean and fresh, but by bedtime you are hot and thirsty again. You lie very still in bed, watching the heat lightning out your window and sipping from a glass of ice water.
Thirst is terribly uncomfortable, and if it goes on long enough, it gets scary. Your brain turns to molasses, your mouth tastes like cardboard, your arms and legs feel as heavy as logs. At such times you would almost sell your soul for a cold glass of lemonade.
And yet, thirst is important. It makes us aware that something is seriously wrong; something vital is missing in our lives.
On the surface we Americans appear to have everything: comfortable homes and luxurious cars. Entertainment at the touch of a button. Convenience stores on every corner, superstores in every suburb, fast food everywhere. Still, we feel dry, unsatisfied.
You can’t just swipe a Visa card and buy God’s forgiveness. You can’t dash into a convenience store and buy a bottle of grace, or tap a button and hear the angels rejoicing over your repentance.
But here at the Lord’s table you can admit just how thirsty you are. You can talk to God about your regrets and your shame, about your longing for righteousness. You can say, “Lord, I thirst for you in a dry land. Give me the energy that comes with purity of heart.”
And when you leave this place you feel fresh and clean, because you have been swimming in the river of grace that flows from the throne of God.
Dan Schantz is retired professor emeritus at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri.