I’ve been thirsty before… waking up in the middle of the night, guzzling anything I could find because of the Chinese Food or fried fish I ate for dinner that made my throat feel dry and hard.
Or I’d be thirsty after the many basketball practices because of outside conditioning on the pavement in the hot sun. Water fountains were my friend as it never would taste so cold and refreshing like it did after practice.
But in all of the times I have been desperate for something to quench my thirst, I have always had something available.
In the desert, it can take only two hours to start feeling the effects of dehydration. Dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea and confusion wreck the body as the hot sun bears down.
Some people can only last one or two days without water in the desert… I cannot imagine the desperation one would feel in that situation.
There was someone in the Bible who felt this desperate once, and her name was Hagar.
In Genesis 21, Isaac has grown and has now been weaned from his mother. Abraham hosts a feast to celebrate. During this time, Ishmael, the son who was born from Abraham’s concubine, Hagar, begins to mock Isaac.
And Sarah sees it.
Sarah has already regretted being desperate for a son that she gave her handmaiden to Abraham since she was barren. But now, she despises the woman and her son.
Seeing Ishmael make fun of her own child gives her the ammunition she needs to fire away.
She tells Abraham about the issue and urges him to cast her and the boy out. But Abraham is grieved by her request and struggles in anguish to find out what to do. So, he turns to God.
“But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed about the boy and about your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your offspring will be traced through Isaac, and I will also make a nation of the slave’s son because he is your offspring.’ Early in the morning Abraham got up, took bread and a waterskin, put them on Hagar’s shoulders, and sent her and the boy away. She left and wandered in the Wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she left the boy under one of the bushes and went and sat at a distance, about a bowshot away, for she said, ‘I can’t bear to watch the boy die!’ While she sat at a distance, she wept loudly. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What’s wrong, Hagar? Don’t be afraid, for God has heard the boy crying from the place where he is. Get up, help the boy up, and grasp his hand, for I will make him a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. So she went and filled the waterskin and gave the boy a drink.” (Genesis 21:12-19)
It was taking over them, and no doubt, Hagar knew without water they would perish soon.
God heard their cries in the desert and knew exactly what they needed. A mother, in desperation for her child, gave him everything she could. She put him in the shade but knew she had nothing else to give.
But God had the one thing they needed.
And now, here you are.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I’m desperate for something that will save my life too. I have this deep thirst for something, but nothing will quench it.”
Jesus is the living water (John 4:10).
He is what we thirst for.
Without Him, you will perish.
Sometimes the Lord brings us to our own deserts to remind us of our need for Him.
Are you thirsty? Seek the living water.
Cry out to Him.