Today's Lectionary Text
Ho, everyone who thirsts,
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
As in any country, inflation plagues the budgets of many breadwinners in Zimbabwe, the country of my birth. I could not believe the price of bread and water in our supermarkets on Sept. 16, 1998, when inflation hit with a vengeance. The prices of both commodities had suddenly skyrocketed one morning. Everybody was complaining about it. Bread was and still is a primary or staple food at the family table. Because of rain shortfall some parts of the country experienced that year, reservoirs were exceptionally low, so water became scarce in Mutare, the city where I lived. The combination of hunger and thirst struck desperation in this part of the country. This was a stark difference in our region since other parts of the same country seemed to have exorbitant supplies of water.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs outline the connection between and among needs comprised in his five-tiered model of the human needs depicted as levels within the pyramid. At the very bottom of that pyramid are physiological needs: air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing and reproduction. Water and food are mentioned as basic needs in Maslow’s model, underscoring the necessity of this physiological need to human existence. I do not have to ask myself the question, “Is that all we need in life?” The answer is clear, without “bread” and water, life in not physically sustainable.
I see the similarity of the importance of food and water connected to Isaiah 55: 1-9: the invitation to the hungry and thirsty. I see this connectedness as the spiritual side of the psychologist’s equation. Physically we desire, search, and work for Maslow’s hierarchical needs yet on the spiritual side God invites his people to come to the living waters and bakery with fresh bread. Listen, those who are spiritually hungry and dehydrated and seeking a spiritual quenching, “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink even if you have no money! God has clean water that quenches our thirst and nutritious bread for our soul.”
Imagine how much we spend on food to meet our physical needs, while needed every day, the food lasts a noticeably short time. Isaiah encourages and invites us to receive the spiritual needs for the nourishment of our souls which lasts in perpetuity, marks of eternal provision. The scripture teaches us that God offers us free nourishment that feeds our souls. How do we get it? We are to come to God. There is a universal invitation for all humanity. “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink even if you have no money. Come, take your choice of wine or milk- it is free.” Salvation for our souls is free, we must decide to come as invited guests. Food for our souls is a premium benefit and at the top of God’s pyramid for the salvation of our souls.
As Christians, we must listen to the powerful voice calling us to come to his table. God wants us not to waste money on unproductive things and short termed life needs. His invitation desires us to be spiritually healthy through his provision. He says, “Listen to me and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.”
The children of Israel can attest to eating the finest food from God in the wilderness. They ate manna daily (“manner means, what is this?”) Jesus fed five thousand crowd who testified about God’s provision in times of need. They ate to their fullest and had leftovers to carry home. God has reservoir of clean water for the thirsty and a divine bakery for our daily bread.
The invitation to the hungry and thirsty call us to seek and call on God. This is the time to search for God diligently and wholeheartedly. The scripture alerts us about time. Time will cease on humanity one day as the invitation expires. God wants us to depend on him for all our physical, spiritual, economic, and emotional needs. Request is loud and clear to all. God is saying just come with an expectant and willing heart and he will provide.
-Pastor Ever Mudambanuki
United Church of Bennington and Solomon Yoked Parish UMC's
Prayer for Reflection
O God, we depend on your divine spiritual bread and living water daily. We yield to your call and listen to your wonderful words of life. Quench our thirst souls through your living water and feed us with your healthy bread of life Jesus Christ. Amen.
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