A thirst like no other

Offhand, most of us couldn’t say how long someone can survive without eating or drinking, although we know that a person can go a lot longer without food than without water.

May 16, 2014

By Louise McNulty
Offhand, most of us couldn’t say how long someone can survive without eating or drinking, although we know that a person can go a lot longer without food than without water.

Anyone who’s ever run a race, eaten hot chili peppers or salty foods, or is getting ready for work in the summer heat, knows the demands thirst can make on the body. Once it sets in, a person isn’t comfortable, sometimes a person can’t think straight, or may even be in peril, until that thirst is met.

The worldly desire for success, or even for material things we wish to have – such as a particular work position, honour or even an object – works much like physical thirst. People express it in words like, “I want it so bad I can taste it.”

Unlike physical or mental thirst, such desires can be satisfied, but only momentarily, by people, things or achievements. But it is nothing compared to the soul’s hunger for God.

Of course, many people don’t profess a belief in God, let alone acknowledge a need for his presence in their lives. God is like spiritual wind. God is felt but unseen. And while people accept that there is air without seeing it, many will not admit to the existence of God without concrete evidence.

Even the most devout of believers sometimes sit in church and wonder if they are being fooled. After all, there is no visible proof in our lives that God exists, they say. Yet there is an undeniable need, a thirst in people across the world, raised in different cultural traditions, of different ages and socio-economic backgrounds, who acknowledge something greater that we can’t see.

Angels are a way some people “flirt” with that acknowledgment. The fascination with angels a few years back seemed like a manifestation of modern man’s shyness of a belief in God, a worry that it is not cool to tell others that we believe in God. Yet acknowledging angels begins to fill the longing for something not only greater but better than us.

Some people turn to the occult and are entertained by black magic and zombie, and vampire-themed movies. This makes one wonder why they seem to believe in evil beyond their power but not in good, greatness and divinity beyond their power.

I remember a scene in a movie: A man walks into a woman’s office well after 5 p.m. and tells her she needs to stop working and get some dinner. She asks, “Is this your way of asking me out?” He replies, “Only if you’d say ‘yes.’”

The man is obviously hedging his bets. He won’t admit that he’s asking the question unless he first knows the answer. In many ways, we’re like that with God. We want to be sure he exists before we acknowledge him.

Yet the point of faith would have us believe in the divine without physical proof. Surprisingly, this is not a modern condition. In fact, it goes back to the time when Jesus lived and died and was resurrected.

The apostle Thomas wanted to see the marks of the crucifixion before he would admit that the resurrected Christ stood before him. Christ said to him, “have you come to believe because you have seen me?” Then he proceeded to say, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (Jn 20:29).

This acknowledges that even when there is doubt in any human being, there is also an innate thirst in us, something that makes us reach out to the divine being who made us. This thirst is something inherent in all beings, from the tallest to the shortest, the richest to the financially poorest, the most educated to the least educated.

Among all we find that there is a thirst that no amount of food, books or money can satisfy.

Source: CNS

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