by John Eklund
I am not really much of an outdoorsman.
So when my brother-in-law, Luke, suggested a weekend camping trip along the Appalachian Trail, I resisted. I’m quite fond of roofs, mattresses, refrigeration, and indoor plumbing. I really like indoor plumbing. Conversely, I am not such a fan of malaria, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and poison ivy. I pretty much like to avoid anything poisonous. He shrugged off my quick refusal, challenged my manhood, and began painting pictures in my imagination rivaling the best L.L. Bean and Cabela’s catalog covers. The next thing I knew I was trudging up the side of a mountain with a hastily purchased army surplus rucksack bouncing heavily against my back.
Luke had mapped out our trip, meticulously gauging and packing the precise amount of supplies we would need for our journey. We planned to hike up to and then down the trail several miles, make camp, and spend the night. We would wake up early, make for a spring that marked our halfway point, refill on water, and spend the rest of our final day trekking back to the start.
The first day went as planned. We did have a brief and terrifying encounter with a bear, but he wasn’t poisonous or interested in two sweaty out-of-shape pastors. He simply lumbered on by us like an annoyed local ignoring the tourists. The next day the sun came out hot and oppressive. As we made our way to the spring, we found ourselves emptying our water supply faster than expected. We talked about how we would have to be careful to be more conservative on the way back after we filled up at the spring. Turns out, we didn’t have to worry about all of that. When we got to the spring we found it had completely dried up.
It’s hard to describe the disappointment, the fear, and desperation that occur when the hope you have relied on to keep you moving forward proves false. Maybe you have experienced a dried up spring in your own life. It could be a relationship, a career, an addiction that hasn’t kept its promise to satisfy.
Jesus promises to eternally quench the most vital of our thirsts with a very different kind of spring. A spring that he generates on the inside of every surrendered life:
“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14 NIV).
Are you thirsty? Stay away from the poisonous thirst-quenching solutions of the world and satisfy yourself in him.