“So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
But they were not satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the LORD.
As I read the Bible and come across the stories of people who wandered from the Lord and whom the Lord sought to bring back, I am not really surprised that they ignored His work in their lives. I look at the Israelites and their slipping and sliding, and I somehow understand their sin. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t condone their breaking of the covenants with the Lord God. But I understand their stiff-necked nature. Why? Because I have seen it in myself and others.
As if saving them from bondage in Egypt wasn’t enough, as if handing them a land flowing with milk and honey wasn’t enough, as if overthrowing their enemies wasn’t enough, we read over and over in the books of Judges, Kings, and Chronicles about how the people of Israel fell away from their God. Then, in chapter 4 of the prophecy of Amos, we read a summary of how God tried to bring His chosen people back to Him. And when I look at the things the people did and see how God chastised them and allowed calamity to befall them, and I read how they still ignored their God, I see something very familiar: I see myself in the days before I knew Christ and His salvation.
As the Lord says to Amos, He fed and clothed the Israelites, and they did not return to Him. He brought drought on some cities and plenty on others, and they did not return to Him. He blighted their crops and sent plagues among them, and they did not return to Him. He destroyed whole cities like Sodom and Gomorrah, and they did not return to Him. At that point, we who see such signs as obvious, we who know Christ and His redemption, we who know the Spirit of the Lord firsthand, we may shake our heads and think, “How could they NOT return to the Lord?”
Look at the verse above from Amos 4:8, and you will see part of the answer. When there was a drought, what did the people do? They sought water from other people. In their pride, they relied on themselves to solve their problems, and they sought help from the world. They turned to other cities to help them, and “THEY WERE NOT SATISFIED.”
But what were they supposed to do? What water should they have sought? To whom should they have turned?
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
As the deer pants for the water, so we should thirst for the water of life that comes only from our Lord. When we are healthy and happy, we are to seek Him. When we are sore and troubled, we are to seek Him. When plague and drought and war come among us, we are to seek Him. When we are at peace and living without fear, we are to seek Him. The Lord our God is a never-ending source of life and love and mercy, and His grace will sustain us even when the world will not. We can travel the whole earth and seek the finest waters, and none shall compare to the sweetness and healing found in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.
If you are wandering today, if you are feeling as if you are in the desert, if you are unsure of direction, if you are assailed by enemies seen and unseen, then do not seek help from the world. You will not be satisfied! Return to the Lord, drink from His cup, share in the new covenant in His blood, and be satisfied in Him.
Lord God of heaven and of earth, we seek Your living water now. This world cannot satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness. It cannot give us justice nor true peace. We seek You, O Lord, and we desire Your loving river to wash over us, to cleanse us of all sorrow and want, to bring us the life only You can give. Forgive our sinfulness and our days of rejecting You, Father God, and give us the pure water of Your blessed Son, Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.