When we attend a funeral, or speak with someone whose death is immanent, or even when we lay our own heads down on our pillows at night, do we not consider how short life is? Do we not wish that we could live in that light? Do we not wish that life could be different, that life did not have to be short, and filled with disappointments and struggles and hardships, finally coming to a permanent end, not just to life but to all of our relationships, the end of all that we love most about life? Do we not fall asleep at night in a state of unease, only to wake up in the morning with a renewed sense of hope and optimism? And are not most of our days filled with sufficient activity and distractions to keep us from noticing our underlying thirst? …until we read another obituary, or hear of an acquaintance hospitalized with cancer, or get wind of the death of a friend’s son in a senseless car accident. Then, are we not reminded, once again, that there must be more to life than what we experience during a typical day? Do we not wonder, at those times, what life is all about, and why, despite our earnest efforts and endless busyness, we cannot seem to discover that which is truly satisfying? Do we not wish that we could live above the apparent senselessness and arbitrariness of life? Do we not wish that we could live a life that held everything in its proper perspective, one in which we could be strong in the face of adversity, one in which we could find meaning in the most senseless of circumstances, the routine and the mundane, a life that was literally anchored on something permanent and absolute, rather than one that is blown about by the unruly winds that dominate our days?
Are we not perpetually thirsty for… something else? But, are we not exceedingly frustrated that we do not know what that something else is, our frustration being heightened by our sense of the preeminent significance of this something else?
Jesus said, “Everyone who lives life as if ‘this is all there is,’ will always be thirsty for something else, but those who figure out what they are looking for and find it in me will never be thirsty. Those people will find not only that for which they have long thirsted, but will find it in such abundance that their lives will be fundamentally changed because, no longer being taken in by the seductive attractions and distractions of this world, its power, honors, promises, and toys, they will be focused entirely on that which satisfies deep down inside.” (John 4:13-14, my paraphrase)