The Thirst That Drives Busy Living

By August 18, 2016 faith No Comments

A writing life often keeps me cloistered, with my thoughts, my journal, my laptop. Earlier this week, after hours of seclusion in my cave (i.e., my windowless basement office), I needed food and water and a break.

After cobbling together a lunch, I began eating as I stood in the kitchen. It’s exactly the sort of mindless eating Jennifer Scott decried in At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life. I took the rest of my lunch to the front porch for a true break, with sunshine and bird chirping and gentle—although steamy—breeze.

I soon noticed a trail of ants, hugging the bottom porch step, traveling across the sidewalk from one flower bed to the other. It was an ant highway, two lanes full of scurrying insects. I picked one ant out of the fray and watched it until I lost it in the mulch camouflage. Whatever these creatures were doing, they were busy doing it.

Likewise, whatever it is this creature is doing, I am busy doing it. Back and forth, to and fro, the daily grind keeps me going. Unlike the ants, however, I have the capacity for self reflection. And my busy-busy has been bothering me. I can feel the burn of it now that my work life has reverted back to freelancing. This past year I had to ramp up my pace to keep up with my writing commitments and ministry staff position. But the rigid work schedule was causing bottlenecks with deadlines; a change was needed, though difficult to make. Now, with the activity engine no longer revving, I feel the wear and tear the past year has had on me.

I have been busy-busy like those ants. The activity distracts from the pace and muffles the shortness breath for a while, but eventually, rest is required for the good of the soul. Over the cacophony of this busy-busy life, I could hear the still, small voice of God, beckoning me to slow down. So I did, as difficult as it was. As the buzz of work quieted, I am left to face the emptiness that comes with a life run ragged.

We are prone to this. Even when we are seeking the filling that can only come from God, it’s easy to downplay our neediness. God watches our busy-busy, wondering what we are doing and why we run back and forth, to and fro. When Jesus saw the weary crowds, He was moved by this frenzy, the lack of peace, the lack of rest that was driving people to fill the emptiness. One instance is recorded in John’s Gospel:

Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” (7:37–38, ESV)

Seeing the people thirsting for true life prompted Jesus to cry out; He passionately broke through the noise of the busy-busy, inviting people to find true spiritual drink for the thirst that was driving them. We are no different. Jesus cries out to us, inviting us to come and be refreshed, to come and drink of true life. Thirsty people are welcome here.

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