WHAT’LL YOU HAVE
T. PIERCE BROWN
I was sitting at the table with a preacher’s family. The smallest child was not over three years old. The preacher’s wife was asking those at the table what they wanted to drink, for she had milk, tea and water. When she asked the smallest child, “What’ll you have?” he replied, “Pabst Blue Ribbon.” I do not think he had the remotest idea of what he requested, but apparently he had been listening to some television commercial, probably a great number of times.
That could lead us to examine the trash that we have fed into the minds of our children. We may expect them to reject it because we tell them it is not nice, but they will not. It always concerns me a little when I hear a preacher tell about the filthy scenes in some specific television program, and then warn his congregation not to look at them. It reminds me of the woman who was reporting on the preacher’s sermon. She said, “He preached on adultery. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about.” Is a preacher impervious to the filth against which he warns others?
However, I started this article to raise the question, For what do you hunger and thirst? Most of us probably do not understand very much about what real hunger and thirst are. I have been thirsty enough to drink muddy water out of wagon track in the road. I have been hungry enough to chew on the bark of a tree limb. But when I ask myself how often I have had that kind of hunger and thirst after righteousness, or the water of life, I feel uneasy.
When Jesus offered the Samaritan woman living water (John4:10), he meant far more than most of us realize. While the five conditions of the one who goes the route of Pabst Blue Ribbon will probably be jocose, verbose, bellicose, lachrymose, and comatose, the five conditions of the one who would drink the living water are hearing, believing, repenting, confessing, being baptized.
Recently I received communication from an elder who seemed to think that such expressions as Isaiah 43:19-20 were promises of God to literally give water to the Israelites of today! Isaiah says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.” I have not learned how he thinks the jackals and ostriches will honor God when he gives the water in the wilderness, but I am persuaded that we miss some very significant lessons if we do not realize that such prophetic references are fulfilled in Jesus as he indicates in John 4:14. The water of which Isaiah speaks has transforming and life-giving power. So it is with Jesus. He says, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.”
It is interesting to note that the living water that Jesus gives will quench our spiritual thirst, but at the same time will leave us yearning for more of the same kind. It is almost a paradox that He gives us that which satisfies our hunger and thirst (“they shall be filled” — Mt. 5:6), yet leaves us still hungering and thirsting after more!
It is also marvelous that we can have this water even without digging as deeply as some among us are able to dig. We do not have to be like the man who was hired to paint lines on the highway. The first day he painted over 100 miles, and the supervisor told him he would recommend a pay raise if he kept up that pace. The next day he did only five miles, and the next day only one. So they fired him. He walked away muttering, “It was not my fault. I kept getting farther away from the can.” Though we have to go back to the source, we can take the can with us. If we properly thirst for God’s word, it will become in us a well of water, not only sustaining us in this present desert of sin, but into eternity.
Our basic problem is that we do not really hunger and thirst after it. Most of us are like the student at one of our lecture programs that saw V. P. Black walking in the hall, and asked him a question about the Bible. Brother Black said, “Brother Gus Nichols is over there. Ask him.” The student replied, “I did not want to know that much about it.” Do you really thirst for knowledge of God?
I was told to drink about eight glasses of water a day. I do not always get that thirsty, but I drink some anyway. So, if you find yourself not hungering and thirsting after righteousness as you should, drink some anyway, according to the prescription of The Great Physician, and you will discover a wonderful truth. It will not only help your spiritual health, you will find yourself thirsting for more and growing in vigor.
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.
Cookeville, TN. 38501
Phone: (615) 528-3600