Beijing, China

Caught this moment during our stop over in Beijing and didn’t think twice about. But today, it got me thinking about thirst.

It was just reported that Beijing has been dangerously short on water. The devastating droughts of 2011 along with its voracious consumption of water (3.5 billion liters of water a year) has left the city depleted of its drinking water. And the resulting impact on the city: Beijing is sinking into the ground, at a rate of 4 inches each year!

What lengths would we go to quench our thirst? At the peak of our desperation, we would do anything to soothe it and quiet that excruciating voice within us. It drives us to the point of acting contrary to our own good. Even if it means losing our own soul in the process.

There are voices all around that offer to quench that thirst. They’re the ones that prompt us: “What kind of name have you made for yourself?” “Do something relevant with your life.” “Show us that you’re good enough.” “What makes you significant?” “Prove to us that you’re worth something.” And then “when enough people love you or you’ve reached a certain level of power, or accomplished enough things, you’ll be satisfied.”

And so we do everything we can to drink from that cup. We beg others for it. For an ounce of praise, a bottle of acclaim, a liter of pleasure, a gallon of success. Though, they may quench our thirst for a moment, it’s only a matter of time before we become thirsty again. And we become trapped in our own cycle of desperation. We aren’t free. We lose ourselves to these lies. We’re all dried up. And we begin to sink into the ground.

We find ourselves in the shadow of death, unable to muster up enough hope to keep striving. But it’s when things are darkest, we find our truth. It’s in the quiet stillness we find what we’ve been looking for.

In a lonely place called surrender. Out of the dark solitude, we hear a voice that tells us, “You’re my beloved child. You are worth it all.” And it tastes like a cold glass of water after years and years and years of drought. And you never go thirsty again.