We were playing paintball out in the woods at youth camp, decked out in our full camo gear (you know, ‘cause we were serious like that), and trying to endure a brutal late-July Texas day that was even more punishing than the flying paintballs we were trying to avoid. Back at camp a few hours later, we were exhausted and looking for any kind of relief from the scorching temperatures.
We found it in an ice cold can of Dr. Pepper.
I’m sure there was nothing special about that Dr. Pepper. It was the thirst and fatigue that made it seem so amazing. That’s the way satisfaction works. It has less to do with the thing that satisfies you and more to do with your desire for that thing.
Perhaps Jesus recognized a thirsty woman when he encountered the woman at the well in John 4. That day was a real scorcher too, so he could have just chalked up her thirst to a physical need. Instead, he saw something beyond; he recognized a thirst in her that only he could meet.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
— John 4:13–14
While Jesus was concerned about the woman’s thirst, the disciples were worried about his hunger. After they returned from their trip to buy food, “the disciples were urging him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’” (v. 31) But Jesus caught them by surprise when he said, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” (v. 32)
“Has anyone brought him something to eat?” they said to one another“ Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
— John 4:33–34
Did you catch that? Jesus didn’t say that his Father’s will was his duty, his responsibility or his mission. It was his food.
Food, like water, is meant to sustain, to energize, and to give life. Jesus was, in essence, saying, “My sustenance, my energy, my life, is to do my Father’s will.”
This was true for Jesus — is it true for us too? Is it possible that doing God’s will is more than just a responsibility, a calling, or an assignment? That it is actually our food?
Perhaps, if we want to change the world the way Jesus did, we must first look at the heart of his mission before we can really implement his technique. This begins by recognizing that doing his will is our food, too. And it is better than any other food you could aspire to on this earth. It is life itself.
If you are thirsty, come to the living water that only Jesus can offer. And then let your thirst become a hunger that leads you to do the only thing that will ever truly satisfy you: doing the Father’s will and accomplishing his work.
Thank God that Jesus didn’t just bring us bread to satisfy our stomachs. He brought us the bread of life — himself — to satisfy a much deeper craving. Are you hungry?