>> Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10
Another Lent begins and this year (as many years), I am giving up soda. I have a real love-hate relationship with Coca-Cola. It’s the only soda I like to drink, but I also know it’s bad for me: the caffeine, the calories (I can’t abide by diet, so no help there) and how it just leaves me thirsty. Yet when I’m dehydrated, the first thing I want is a soda!
It’s a bad habit, developed through my own weakness. I’d actually given it up for the most part as an adult, until my sweet mom thought I deserved a treat now and then and started bringing it to my house. Of course, soda is everywhere—combo meals come with free soda, but you pay for the bottled water (tap water tastes awful where we live); restaurants offer free refills. It’s a standard. I’m not blaming my mom or society, however. I’m the one who took the treats, said yes to refills and let the bad habit develop. I’m the one who, after 40 days of abstinence, welcomes the bad habit back. I drink it even when it makes me more thirsty.
Sin is a lot like that. We don’t always see it for what it is. Sometimes, we think of it as a “treat,” a kind of vacation from holiness. Some things actually can be a treat if we keep them under control, but lead to sin when we make them a habit (like when a love of food becomes gluttony.) Society, especially today’s, offers us plenty of opportunities to sin; and indeed, considers many sins as harmless and something we have the right to indulge in. So, we give in to our appetites and our wants.
But just like Jesus tells the woman at the well, some drinks just leave you thirsty.
We don’t know the whole story of the woman at the well, but we know she had several husbands and was living with a man she was not married to. It seems to me that she thirsted for something—companionship? Love? Maybe simple financial support?—but she hadn’t found it. She drank the wrong kind of “water,” and it kept her thirsty, so she fell again into the bad habits—leaving one wrong man just to take up with another. Then Jesus comes and offers living water, the water that will quench with such thoroughness that you never thirst again.
Can you imagine being filled with such love and holiness that you could look at the “treats” of sin and say, “Know what? I’m not thirsty.”
So, forty days without soda for me. Will I have one on Easter? I’m not sure, but I know one thing: from now on when I crave one, I’ll take a moment to consider the woman at the well.
Jesus, fill me with living water.
Karina Fabian is an author, wife, and mother of four currently living in Utah. In 2010, she and her father wrote a short devotional, Why God Matters: How to Recognize Him in Daily Life. This year, they invite people to share their Lent stories at http://whygodmatters.com*"Thirst asks for nothing more" was the slogan campaign for Coca Cola in 1938.