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  • Eric Kampmann

Genuine Thirst

I lift my hands to you in prayer.

I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

—PSALM 143:6

I was hiking in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Montana when I took a wrong turn. I thought I was on the right track, and I was comforted by the fact that the map showed a small body of water up ahead, so I continued on.

But as I climbed higher, the land grew drier; trees and vegetation gave way to dust and unrelenting heat, and my supply of water quickly dwindled to a few drops. I thought of turning back, but I foolishly made the decision to forge ahead to what became even drier and more isolated ground.

Within an hour, the water shown on the map became a longing, then an obsession, then an urgent necessity. With every step I was becoming more desperate. Then just when my hope was turning to despair, I stumbled upon a shallow pool of still water. Without hesitation, I drank it as if it were the sweetest water I had ever tasted. I experienced overwhelming relief and joy at something as common as water because my body desperately needed replenishment.

What is true for the body depleted of life-giving water is just as true for the soul of any person wandering in a spiritual wasteland. David says, “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1–2). And elsewhere, he says, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

Our physical nature mirrors a thirst dwelling deep within our heart. Will we find drink to quench this spiritual thirst, or will we continue farther into the dry land where there is no water to be found?

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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