Experiencing Living Waters: Jesus Christ Quenches Our Spiritual Thirst
While working as a seminary teacher–a religious youth instructor for The Church ofof Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to by the media as the “Mormon Church”)– I heard the analogy that in our fallen state, each of us is like a person stranded in a burning desert, dying of thirst. At the point of complete exhaustion and dehydration, we suddenly notice a pitcher of cold water sitting on top of a sand dune. If we choose to crawl to the water and drink it, we can be saved. In this example, what actually saves us? Is it our own efforts to crawl to the water, or is it the water itself? While our efforts to crawl to the water are necessary and essential, they alone cannot save us. only the water possesses the elements sufficient to sustain life. We can crawl to the ends of the earth, but without the life-saving elements contained in the water, there is no salvation.
My carnal-minded understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ had me crawling like a crazy person but never arriving at the life-saving refreshment only the Savior offers. I was desperately trying to do what I thought was necessary without experiencing that which was sufficient. Carnal-mindedness kept me from believing in Jesus Christ’s almighty power of deliverance. It kept me trying to resolve life’s problems on my own, and it caused me to forsake the fountain of living water. The Lord, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, said, “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living water, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
While in mortality, we journey in a distant land. This fallen world is not our home; we are but strangers here. As the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) hymn “O My Father” says, “yet ofttimes a secret something whispered, ‘you’re a stranger here,’ And I felt that I had wandered from a more exalted sphere.”13
On this journey, many of us have lost sight of our dependence on the Savior to direct our way; many of us seek to quench our nagging thirst in ways that will never satisfy or sustain life. Our broken cisterns cannot sustain spiritual life because they contain no living water. They represent our false gods with no life-giving water to offer. We erect these barriers to grace as we seek happiness in and of ourselves and as we cling to vanity and unbelief. These broken cisterns can be anything from our personal aspirations to our man-made philosophies for happiness.
In our search for that which can satisfy our parched spirits, Satan may present fulfillment in the false god of self. This broken cistern will impede us from coming to our Savior and experiencing life in Jesus Christ.
For some of us, the modern god of self beckons us with programs for self-development, fulfillment, and achievement. We may feel that the next goal or the next diet will finally satisfy that for which we deeply thirst. Perhaps our personal ambitions or our hunger for personal achievement become the barriers that keep us from taking Christ’s yoke upon us and relying wholly upon Him. Maybe our hearts are set on the next bonus check, the incentive trip, or even the next promotion. Maybe it’s a certain income, an award, or an academic degree. For others it might be the showplace home, the new car, or the dream vacation. None of these things in and of themselves are evil, but when our hearts are set solely upon them, they become our gods and deprive us of living water.
As we continue on our wilderness journey toward realizing the privilege of beholding our Savior’s face, we will experience an emptying or hollowing process. Spencer J. Condie, an LDS Church leader, said, “ofttimes we must hollow our lives before the Lord can hallow them. . . . Emptiness precedes the fulness.”14
Rather than hallowing us and leading us to the deeper levels of humility, these false gods fill us with pride and self-centeredness. They are distractions from the hallowing process, and they will deter us from experiencing Jesus Christ. They will keep us living far below our spiritual privileges as they prohibit us from surrendering our lives to Christ. They will keep us from “com[ing] boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) and claiming the gifts and privileges the Lord is eager to grant us.
Our broken cisterns will never allow us the experience of coming directly to our Savior, that He may receive us into the arms of His love and quench our thirst with living water. His invitation to each of us is this: “Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely” (Alma 5:34).
We are all invited to come and partake freely of all our Savior has to offer. No one is forbidden. There is no other way.
R. Brown, Experiencing Living Waters: Jesus Christ Quenches Our Spiritual Thirst, (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Inc., 2009, pp 45-92.
1. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New york: HarperCollins, 2001), 165.
2. Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, 181.
3. Robert L. Millet, Alive In Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997),112.
4. Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 71.
5. Colleen C. Harrison, He Did Deliver Me From Bondage, 8.
6. Don Colbert, M.D., Deadly Emotions (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 9.
7. Ibid., 20.
8. Ibid., 46.
9. Ibid., 101.
10. Shayne M. Bowen, “The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim, and Sanctify our Lives,” Ensign, Nov. 2006.
13. “O My Father,” Hymns, no. 292.
14. Spencer J. Condie, The Song of Redeeming Love, 1–2.
Living out a great season of my life, thanks to Jesus Christ, and two wonderful daughters, a great life's work. Loving this opportunity to share faith online... I'm a single Mom, convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, second-gen Italian, from the East coast originally. Love the fine arts, dance, frozen yogurt, temples, scriptures, writing, jazz, helping others reach their potential, king salmon, ....and not in that order. God is good. I feel it deeply when people have a misconception of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, His Son, that lessens or cheapens Them and blinds one's ability to feel His presence or to trust in an ultimately good eternal end to life's circumstances.