“Our kitchens and other eating places more and more resemble filling stations, as our homes more and more resemble hotels,” author Wendell Berry observes. “‘Life is not very interesting,’ we seem to have decided, ‘Let its satisfactions be minimal, perfunctory, and fast.’”
As we close this month’s study with Christ’s invitation to the thirsty to come and partake of the water of life, Wendell Berry’s criticism about our habits of eating could also be applied to our souls. The gift is free and the reward is eternal, but too many are willing to accept cheap substitutes instead. We have become persuaded that ultimate satisfaction is beyond our reach.
In a way, we are right. The kind of satisfaction that Christ promises really is beyond our grasp. It is not something that we can provide for ourselves, nor are we able to attain it through merely human means. Only those who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ have a place in the new creation. The only way to lay hold of this kind of satisfaction Jesus offers is to accept it as a gift; it is freely offered and must be freely received. Our paltry efforts to earn points or barter with God will always fail. Our best efforts at obedience will fall short. We can only do as Jesus asks and come. What could possibly keep us away?
Unfortunately, it is often our own willingness to settle for something less. “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea,” C. S. Lewis warns. “We are far too easily pleased.”
Today, let’s look back at our January Bible study and thank God for everything we learned this month, for the wisdom we can receive from His Word, and for His love and mercy that lead us along the paths of righteousness.