Hopping And Hoping
Author: Susan Thomas
“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”
(John 4:16-18, NLT)
We are talking about an epidemic. The human heart knows something is lacking inside of us all. As people, we go on our own search and rescue mission to somehow quench the thirst of desire that consumes our souls.
When Lindsey was sad, Lindsey would shop. She would spend hundreds even thousands of dollars on purses and shoes. Her spending habits caused friction with her husband who urged her to stop. She would spend more money than they had income as she racked up the credit card bill. Yet, she describes the lure of pleasure when she made yet another purchase. Hopping from one purchase to another, she hoped that she would simply feel good.
Justin started looking at porn when he was sixteen. He and his friends would look at the images on their phones. It was a laughing matter. A guy thing. No big deal. Now ten years later, he cannot stop. He desires to meet a girl and get married one day. Strange how the relationships never work out. He finds himself hopping on the internet with an unspoken hope that this time he will be filled.
The pounds started packing on in his thirties. Paul would egg on the people around him to eat one more helping or take that extra slice of pie. If he wasn’t overeating alone, he was convinced he was not overeating. Food became his entertainment. His distraction. His pleasure. Hopping from meal to meal, he hoped the extra portions might fill his empty soul. Obesity eventually robbed him of his life’s potential which spiraled him back to the fork and spoon.
Stephanie always had a boyfriend. As a bubbly, attractive teenager, she was a magnet for that handsome football player. They dated for years and then broke up once college came. From there, she entered into several long-term relationships. Each one promising to be the one. Marriage happened. The love lacked. Her heart ached. Then someone else made her feel beautiful and adored. Her family wrecked in the wake, she hopped into the arms of yet another man hoping this time to be filled.
These stories and more expose the longings that grip us all. While the expressions change and the sources of fulfillment may vary, the truth remains the same. We are thirsty people. We are lacking on the inside. We hop around purchasing again and consuming more. “This makes me feel good.” We hop in and out of relationships. “I just want to be happy.” We hop from church to church. “This church is not feeding me.” All the while, an unspoken hope cries “please fill me up. Please quench my thirst.”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14, NLT)
Only a relationship with Jesus will satisfy. Only the water of One will quench the insatiable thirst of the soul. Our relationship with Jesus begins by accepting His invitation and believing His gift of grace. As the waters of baptism wash over our bodies, the waters of His presence fill us with life. We grow and flourish as we daily drink from our relationship with Jesus.
Regardless of the counseling issue, the client need or the crisis at hand, we must point people to their Source of living water. This answer is the thread that runs through every counseling session and human encounter. While applications, problem solving and techniques are vital the foundational truth remains that only Jesus can fill us. Only Jesus can meet the need.
When filled by a relationship with our Creator, we are able to follow Him and enjoy His creation in its intended design. Things work. Relationships work. My life is filled abundantly more than I could ask or imagine. I am no longer lord over my life, but Jesus is now my Lord. I am free to love others because I do not need them to fill me. My feeble search and rescue attempts can cease, because my Rescuer has completed His mission. No more hopping. Only hoping. And this hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for my soul. I am saved. I am daily filled. I thirst no more.
Posted on April 15, 2015