For What Does Your Soul Thirst?

Thirst - physical, emotional, relational, spiritual - we all have it, even before we feel it. Jesus, the one who offered streams of living water to slake our thirst, he felt thirst too. Vulnerable, naked, poured out - he speaks of his thirst on the cross. He goes before us, identifying and naming our human condition, without shame. It’s ok to be thirsty. What if we entrusted our thirst to him?

Isaiah 55:1-9 NLT
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink—
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
it’s all free!
2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
3 “Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you.
I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.
4 See how I used him to display my power among the peoples.
I made him a leader among the nations.
5 You also will command nations you do not know,
and peoples unknown to you will come running to obey,
because I, the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious.”
6 Seek the LORD while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
7 Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

For Reflection and Prayer:

What caught your attention as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

Reflect on where you are noticing your thirst or hunger for God. What is truly nourishing it? Offer up your need in prayer.

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.

print pdf

Pastor Laura VanNorman preached on Jesus’ words, “I thirst”. Listen here for a poignant teaching and reflection on two of Jesus’ last words before his death.

More Food For Your Soul

We eat and drink a variety of foods and beverages every day. In this story Jesus invites us to recognize from where our real life nourishment and wholeness comes.

If we really believe that Christ is the Bread that is most needed, how might that change our daily rhythms? Taking in food and drink are essential to fuel our physical bodies (including our mind) for our work and daily life. How is it we can feed on this Bread from heaven, the One who gives us life, now and forever? Might you see this food as essential to sustaining your life? What might this look like for you?

Prayer and the Word are "feeding tubes" for our soul.

John 6:35-51 (NLT)
 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.  However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.  For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.  And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
 But Jesus replied, “Stop complaining about what I said.  For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.  As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.  (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God, have seen him.)
 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.  Yes, I am the bread of life!  Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.  Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What spoke to you as you listened? What feelings seemed to accompany this? Sit with this and see what else the Spirit may reveal.

What do you hunger for? How do you experience Jesus as your bread of life? Take this into your prayer.

Notice any “murmurings” rising up in you and have a gentle conversation with Jesus about what you truly need.

Consider the inclusivity of God and His desire for all.

Bread for Today

Today's text is teeming with of treasures of truth. The gift of the Lectio Divina method of slow, prayerful listening to and meditating on a small portion of the text is that we awaken to our hunger for God. By humbly slowing down we discover our place of need. We make room for God's Spirit to work in us supplying food for our need while renewing how we think and transforming our how we act. Keep on bringing your real self and real needs to the text. Stay in conversation with God. Wrestle with the Scriptures. Freely ask your questions in prayer and make your needs known. This is a real relationship you are cultivating with God. Keep listening. God's Spirit will continue to speak long after your designated times of prayer. Stay alert, watching for the manna falling from heaven for you each day. And always, it is given with great love. Say thanks.

John 6:25-34 NLT
They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
32 Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. 33 The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What caught your attention as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the story? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

Reflect on where you are noticing your hunger for God. What is truly nourishing that hunger?

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.

    Tags: desire, food, hunger, listening, need, soul food

Hungry for God

After the exuberant praise of the day before and time to ponder and pray about what he carefully observed in the temple, Jesus returns to his Father's House. He knows what it is like to experience physical and spiritual hunger. He knows the desperation of finding food which will satisfy and the deception and obstacles in finding it.

Jesus still longs for us to find free access to God in our prayer, our worship, our praise.

Mark 11:12-19 NIV
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What did you notice as you listened? A word, a phrase, a feeling? Continue to listen or pay attention to that with Jesus. What else is He showing you?

What, if anything, surprises you about Jesus in this passage? Does anything about Him in that resonate with your own story? Have a fun discussion with Jesus about it. Does He show you something new about Himself or about you?

This passage points out that those who wanted to kill Jesus feared Him. Do you have points of contact in your life with this? -with people who hurt you that might actually fear you? (Or vice versa). How does this affect your perspective of people you encounter or live with? Where might Jesus be with you in these encounters?

What "tables" in your own heart keep you distracted from your prayer, worship, and praise? Ask Jesus to give you new perspective on them. What does he show you?

Pause. Be still. And remember again that your heart is a house of prayer. Join the prayer which Jesus is already interceding on your behalf and the world's.

Are You Hungry?

Four thousand people came together back in the day, sat on the ground, and listened to Jesus for three compelling days. Compelling, we presume, because they did not leave. They stayed because they were hungry, hungry for Jesus and for every word that came out of His mouth. So He fed them, and they were satisfied.

But before they left, He fed them, all four thousand, a feast given to them from broken pieces of 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. He had compassion on them and did not want to send them home hungry. And He didn’t. “They ate as much as they wanted.” (Mark 8:8a)

How gently Jesus offers to enter our hungry lives and lead us toward satisfaction, satisfaction that brings wholeness to our entire being. No longer do we need to demand a sign from Him proving He is who He says He is. We know, because we’ve been hungry and He has fed us.

Have you noticed where your heart feels hungry lately? Where do you see Jesus with you in that? How have you been fed?

Are you still hungry?

Mark 8:1-13 (NLT)
Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

8 About this time another large crowd had gathered, and the people ran out of food again. Jesus called his disciples and told them, 2 “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. 3 If I send them home hungry, they will faint along the way. For some of them have come a long distance.”
4 His disciples replied, “How are we supposed to find enough food to feed them out here in the wilderness?”
5 Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”
“Seven loaves,” they replied.
6 So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to his disciples, who distributed the bread to the crowd. 7 A few small fish were found, too, so Jesus also blessed these and told the disciples to distribute them.
8 They ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. 9 There were about 4,000 people in the crowd that day, and Jesus sent them home after they had eaten. 10 Immediately after this, he got into a boat with his disciples and crossed over to the region of Dalmanutha.
11 When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had arrived, they came and started to argue with him. Testing him, they demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.
12 When he heard this, he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign.” 13 So he got back into the boat and left them, and he crossed to the other side of the lake.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What phrase or word spoke to you as you listened/read?
What miraculous signs have you seen or are you waiting to see?
How do you respond to Jesus when He asks you to distribute the bread to others?
What message do you hear God speaking to you through this text?

Do You Need God?

Knowing what we need most can be hard to name, but is worth considering.

We often fill our days and our lives with what we think we need, ignoring invitations to go deeper towards what we most need. The stories of Jesus place him right at that very place of inviting another to go deeper, to see their deepest need and hunger for God. Jesus invites us to "eat at the table" with him. He invites us into a relationship of friendship and soul nourishment no matter who we are or how others might see us. God gives us what we most need.

We are invited to come to the table and to follow Jesus into a life of God-permeated and empowered living. As with Levi, we may then have a desire to have our friends be in the conversation with Jesus, too.

Mark 2:13-17 (NLT)
Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple." Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, "Why does he eat with such scum?"

When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

For Reflection and Prayer:
What stands out to you as you read/listen to the text?
Where are you in the story?
With whom do you most identify in this story?
What do you sense? What do you need?