“How do you like your water?”
Personally, I prefer mine cold instead of room temperature, with crushed ice instead of big cubes, and I like it in a glass instead of a bottle. However, after finishing a run or a challenging workout, nothing tastes better than water. And if you hand me a room temperature bottle of water with no ice, I will accept it gratefully, because I need it.
The truth is I need water to survive, but sometimes I forget just how much I need it and I start to get picky about how I want it.
And I want to talk about how easy it is to do the same thing with God. To get so comfortable in our lives and in our walk that we start choosing how we want Him, when we want Him, and how much of Him we want. We still need Him, but we stop recognizing our need for Him.
Let’s read Luke 7:36-47:
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him 500 denarii, and the other 50. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
We know that Jesus is not saying the Pharisee’s sins were little, but that the Pharisee was so comfortable in his religious works that he thought little of them. It’s not a measure of sin that is being discussed—Romans 3 reminds us that no one is righteous apart from Jesus—but a measure of how much we recognize our need for our Savior. How much we recognize that a lifestyle of repentance and a renewed mind require a daily acknowledgement of our need for Jesus.
Because when we lose sight of our need for Him, we start picking and choosing how we want Him: A Sunday service here and a worship song there. But only when it’s convenient. At church, but not at work. With this person, but not with this friend group. This way, but not that way. We open our home, but we close our alabaster jar. Like the Pharisee, our love for Him becomes little and we forget what it’s like to sit at His feet.
So let’s be reminded today of how much we need Jesus—as Savior, Rescuer, Redeemer, High Priest, and Shepherd. As the one who frees us from the power of sin and darkness and provides the grace and mercy we need when we are weary, overwhelmed, or burdened. Let’s be reminded that we need Him because apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from Him, we don’t have the ability to save, endure, lead, or bear fruit.
Let yourself be desperate for Jesus. Because when we are desperate for Him, we set aside our preferences and gratefully receive everything He has and everything He is. We stop approaching Him like a healthy patient who just wants a quick, scheduled check-up every Sunday. Instead, we abandon everything and run to Him like we are drowning and He’s our life preserver. Because He is.
So, as David says in Psalm 63, let your soul thirst for Him, the same way it would in a land where there is no water. Don’t settle for a cup that’s half full when He wants to give you a cup that overflows.