There’s this Greek myth about a man named Tantalus who is punished by the gods (clearly, this is a true story). Tantalus was punished by the gods to forever stand in a pool of water, under a fruit tree, but never be able to taste of either one (hence the word “tantalizing”). For all of eternity he would stand there within reach of everything that would satisfy, dying of dehydration and starving to death.
Jesus calls Himself the living water (John 4:10). Take one drink of Me and you’ll never be thirsty. He also claims to be the bread of life, and that whoever eats of Him will never go hungry. Like the Mary Poppins’ carpet bag of never-ending satisfaction, or the widow’s jar of oil and sack of flour in Elijah’s day (1 Kings 17:1-16), Jesus is the bread and water that will always satisfy. He came to restore what was lost at the fall, and to restore more completely than ever. He came to fulfill every desire, and here I stand, under a bread-of-life tree that is always in season, standing in a pool of living water, and dissatisfied with both.
Have you ever wondered why we find ourselves so often dissatisfied with the Christian life? With our bread-of-life tree and pool of living water? Because Satan has sold us on something else, and we will never have our thirst quenched by Christ while also drinking salt.
Satan will offer to answer my questions and sell me a lie in place of the truth. He will offer a better direction and sell me sin in place of what is right. He will offer to fulfill my heart’s desires and sell me salt water when I am thirsty, celery when I am starving. Worse yet, when I’m full and don’t believe it. He will give me what kills instead of gives life, what destroys instead of renews, what steals instead of satisfies. What he offers me does worse than not satisfy. It makes me hungrier, thirstier. It robs me of peace.
The first step is to know the truth: That won’t satisfy. I’ve tried it, I’ve fallen for it, but I know better now. If God hasn’t provided, it isn’t needed, and if I go after it, I’ll only hurt myself. The second step is to say, if it won’t satisfy, then I don’t want it. I’m under no illusions that Satan’s lie simply falls short of advertised. No. It is designed to steal from me, to kill me, to destroy me, to hack away at the riches of salvation that are mine in Christ Jesus. I won’t go near it. Danger: Keep out. And step three: This is what satisfies. Jesus Christ, living water, bread of life, hunger and thirst no more.
Excerpt from “Peace and How to Keep It.” Coming fall 2020.