I'm a drinker. I love drinking. It is absolutely one of my favorite activities. I find myself drinking a lot - frequently, everyday. Water, sweet tea (preferably from Chick-fil-A), Dr. Pepper, and occasionally an adult-oriented beverage are my go to thirst quenchers. I have had this habit since the day I was born, and I imagine it is something I will continue to give in to until the day I die. I have attempted to hold off before. It did not go well. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, cramps…just to name a few of the awful side effects that I experienced. It is certain that I will not survive if I stop drinking.
There is another kind of thirst that I experience as well. It is a spiritual thirst, but the consequences of what I drink to quench it and where I get it from, often play out in my physical life. In John 4, we find Jesus sitting at a well, because he liked to drink too. As he is sitting there, a Samaritan woman approaches (because she, likewise, is a drinker) and they begin to have a discussion about drinking. In the course of their discussion, Jesus tells the woman that if she understood whom she was talking to, she would stop drinking that dirty well water and take a swig of His “living water”. He then goes on to make an astonishing claim that anyone who drinks of this “living water” will NEVER BE THIRSTY AGAIN!
NEVER. THIRSTY. AGAIN.
Jesus was not talking about a liquid beverage that you can touch and taste. He was brilliantly comparing our physical need to drink with our spiritual search for satisfying the thirst of our souls. Our souls are thirsty. We are all searching for something to quench this all-consuming drought in the depth of our souls. We are all drinking from dirty well water on a daily basis in an effort to take away the side effects of a soul that is dying of thirst.
So what does this have to do with the arts?
As a person who serves my church through the arts, I often find myself tempted to turn my guitar upside down in hopes I can find something to drink inside. Sometimes the microphone I sing into reminds me of a water bottle begging me to take a drink. Often the applause of the crowd appears to be an ocean wave enticing me to dive in headfirst. And more times then I care to admit, I have taken a drink and I have dived right in. I trade in “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” for dirty, toxic well water that poisons my soul.
Like many things in life, we take something that God meant for our good and for His glory and turn it into an idol that we worship. The way we serve God with our gifts, talents, and time can quickly become a well of dirty water that we get more disgusted with, the more we return to it.
- Brad Loser