Blessed, Day 6
I pretty much need tacos in my life.
My daughter asked me if a Mother’s Day lunch of tacos was too casual.
Bring the tacos, guac, and all the salsa!
Water, mixed with magical beans, is basically essential in my everyday life.
My rough mornings are dramatically improved by the promised hope of brewing coffee.
I jokingly need tacos and coffee for a happy life.
I’ve been hungry and thirsty, but never impoverished.
I haven’t gone days with only morsels of bread or only sips of water, wondering if I would live or die.
But the Israelites had.
Freed from Egyptian slavery and led into the desert by the very presence of God, they were utterly dependent on the kindness of God for food and drink.
The Jews, suffering under oppressive Roman rule, were also familiar with agonizing hunger and thirst. Would there be enough food for toddling babes to sleep without crying? Would there be enough grain for Jewish families after the Romans took their taxes and lined their pockets with Jewish harvested produce? Suppose the Romans took possession of their wells. Where would they get water?
Unlike my hunger for fried tortillas and cumin infused pork, these people knew exactly what it felt like to go to bed hungry and wake up again with a deeper gnawing of not enough.
The Jews longed to be filled; it was an ache so heavy it consumed their everyday moments of waking and sleeping.
It was set against this ragtag gathering of the impoverished, the overlooked, the diseased, the protruding bellies of malnourishment, the hungry and the thirsty that Jesus, in His gentle, commanding voice cried out with words that resonated deep into hearts,
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!”. (John 7:37)
While I haven’t experienced a groaning hunger for food, my soul has been wrecked for other desires.
When the kind-hearted, God-honoring son of a friend of mine was bullied to the point of death threats at his high school because of his skin color, my angry, broken heart begged and pleaded for justice.
When my little boy was whisked to the arms of Jesus far too soon and grief and loss etched themselves permanently across my heart, I agonized with the Lord through tears to please, please return. “I just want to go Home with you, Abba,” I pleaded.
When another marital conflict exploded, leaving its shrapnel deep in the hearts of our children and each other, my wounded heart begged and pleaded for our world to be set right.
To be set right.
I hungered for righteousness.
It was like going to bed hungry and waking up with the same, unsatisfied gnawing of not enough.
Jesus saw the crowds quickly gathering as He and His twelve disciples drew near the familiar rocky terrain of the Mount of Olives. He ascended with intentionality, knowing His disciples and the gathering crowd would hear His life-giving words as the sound of His voice carried to the valley.
Midway through His teaching on The Blessed Life, Christ declared with authoritative boldness, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Everything Jesus did or said was cocooned with purpose. As the Son of God chose human Greek words to descend on the ears of His hearers, He used “peinao” meaning “intensely painful hunger”, and “dispaso”, meaning “painful thirst”. There were other words Jesus could have used, but He specifically chose ones associated with a longing so deep it inflicted pain.
As He spoke, the attention of the audience intensified, as if with one collective sigh, they all deeply related to Jesus’ point.
They knew the pain of bellies from lack of food and of throbbing heads from dehydration.
Deeper still, they knew the gut-wrenching agony of watching unrighteousness play out around them in their relationships, their families, and their nation.
Pain-filled hunger and thirst was palpable.
They could feel it.
Can’t each of us?!.
How we hunger for the wholeness only ushered in by pure righteousness!
In fact, righteousness poured out over our hearts, churches, families, and world would feel akin to standing beneath a powerful waterfall in the dry, dusty heat of a wilderness desert, wouldn’t it?
Four words flooded with promise closed out Jesus’ statement on hungering and thirsting for righteousness. “They will be filled.”
We are the empty, the broken, the completely unrighteous.
He is the righteous filler.
As God the Son hung naked and dying on a Roman tool of torture, His flesh beaten to a literal pulp, gasping for His final breaths as the weight of the world’s sin pressed down upon Him, He became separated from the goodness of God.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?!” (Matthew 27:46)
In His separation from the righteous holiness of God as He carried my sin and yours, Jesus cried out, “I thirst!”. The water of Life had been cut off from its Source rooted in the goodness of Father God’s heart.
He took on our thirst for righteousness and paid for our sin in full, in order to lavish us with the flood of His own abundance so we can stand before the Almighty God spotless, holy, and blameless.
In the closing words of all of Scripture we hear this wide invitation,
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come;
let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17)
His full righteousness is here for the taking.
In the middle of our broken, our pain, our ache for wholeness,
Jesus cries out, “Come! Be filled!”.
Trust Him with the weight of your life, and let Him fill you to overflowing with His righteousness!
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