Readings: Isaiah 55:1-9 • Psalm 63:1-8 • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 • Luke 13:1-9
This week’s theme is God our provider. The prophet Isaiah reminds us to thirst and hunger for the things that really matter. God’s ways are higher and better than ours and we can trust his provision. Paul reminds the church in Corinth that our food and drink is Jesus, who is the One God provided for all humanity. Luke reminds us that all need to change the way we look at God and repent. He is the only one who can save. The sermon focuses on our need to thirst after God.
Introduction: Talk about a time you were very thirsty and how good the water tasted. Perhaps let others share a story of when they were really thirsty.
Have you ever noticed there are times when the only thing that satisfies your thirst is a glass of water? It’s almost as if your body knows nothing else will work; you want water and you want it as soon as you can get it. Have you ever been this thirsty? Maybe for you, it’s not water, but something else that takes care of your thirst like nothing else.
Thirst is powerful; it can sap our energy, cause headaches, give us muscle spasms or cramps, and can affect our appetite. Chronic thirst can even affect our mental status, making us confused or even causing hallucinations. This topic might even be making you thirsty. Thirst must be quenched for good health.
In a similar way, spiritual thirst must also be quenched. Have you ever felt just as thirsty for God’s goodness and grace? What in your life makes you thirsty for God? And going a bit deeper, how do you participate in the ministry of Christ that generates the thirst for others to want what God has to offer? Let’s address both of these questions.
First, recognize your own thirst.
Before we can be the salt of the earth and bring others to seek relationship with God, we need to know where (and in whom) our thirst can be satisfied. The prophet Isaiah lays out a description of sustenance that is available to us all.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live (Isaiah 55:1-3).
We thirst for more than water, don’t we? We thirst for success, fame, money, material possessions, attention, and recognition. These are not necessarily opposed to how God might bless us, but when we thirst for these things, they can easily become our priority—our focus, what we strive for. And they satisfy only temporarily. The prophet is telling us to thirst for what is eternal—for what money cannot buy.
The Psalmist put it into perspective for us.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me (Psalm 63:1-8).
It is God – Father, Son and Spirit – who truly satisfies. We might get physically thirsty from pretzels or potato chips, but we can get spiritually thirsty from mistakes we’ve made, sins we’ve committed, stepping away from God or from living with an incomplete picture of who God is and how much he loves us. We all have issues (interpretations) of the things that make us thirsty. But whatever the case, whatever issue or shortcomings we have, there is a place—a person—to go to. That place, that person, is Jesus.
When we forget this, we try to satisfy our thirst through other means. And while some choices may temporarily give us relief, there is only one lasting source. Jesus can satisfy your spiritual thirsts through forgiveness, redemption and grace.
Go to him. Take a drink. Sip slowly and guzzle deeply. Savor the moment and splash in his mercy and forgiveness.
When you believe you are in a “parched land” where you think there is no water, look to God. These “thirsty times” are designed to help us to seek God—to find his presence and drink in of his goodness and glory.
Personal Anecdote: Tell of a time you went through a time of spiritual thirst. Share how God entered into this time of thirst and filled your cup to overflowing.
Second, tell others where their thirst can be quenched.
This living water is not just for us. We are also called and created to guide and minister to others who are thirsty. Where will we take them? To whom will we point them?
When we’ve tasted and seen that God is good, it gives us strength, courage and spiritual nutrition to then reach out to others. You know and remember the times when you were thirsty. God satisfied. And you know that there are others who are thirsty. Share with them that God is the one who truly satisfies.
When we give ourselves to God, we can truly live. When we lead others to the source of living waters, they too can truly live.
Small Group Discussion Questions
- What do you eat that makes you thirsty? And how do you quench that thirst?
- When you are spiritually thirsty, how do you quench that thirst?
- Do you feel satisfied?
- Describe a time you helped someone else receive “water” when they were in a “parched land.” In other words, how do you share the living water of Jesus Christ with others?
- Read 1 Cor. 10:1-14 and share your thoughts from this passage. Why was God not pleased?
- Read Isaiah 55:1-9 and share some observations – what speaks to you?