Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13, 14 NIV).
Today, I explore what I can do for my thirst and consider Jesus’ promises.
Today is a beautiful, sunny Sunday. Soon after waking, I felt the urge to read several chapters in the Bible. I read Genesis 1, Isaiah 1, and Romans 2 and 3. A library book I read over the weekend, Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God by Max Lucado, prompted these readings.
Max urges us to turn to the Bible for thousands of God’s promises and build our lives on those that have meaning to us. He singles out a few biblical promises to unfold in his book. To me, churches seem to fall into two categories: those that emphasize what we must do for God and those that emphasize what God will do for us. There ought to be a balance. Churches that broadcast God’s blessings without mentioning conditions do us a disservice. Those that emphasize our duties can cause us to forget the rewards that are due to us now and later and make life a drudgery.
I have had some unanswered prayers regarding my bipolar disorder. At one time, after praying about it, I felt absolutely amazing. I thought I was healed and no longer needed my medication. Later, I was bitterly disappointed and so upset that I did not want anyone to tell me I was healed, even God. Bipolar disorder can tell you that you do not have it. It takes a lot of convincing to learn that you still have a condition that needs medication. If you care about someone who has bipolar disorder, you may want to be alert to this likely situation.
Why Would He Not Heal Me?
Knowing that the Lord can heal, knowing that he knows me personally and loves me, knowing that I have been a faithful person, asking for healing, why would he not heal me? Did I miss something along the way? I do not know why God has not healed me, at least not yet. I know that he has given me many rich experiences anyway, but some he has withheld. There must be something about having bipolar disorder that will provide me with the mortal experience he wants for me.
It is hard to see the silver lining in bipolar disorder, even though I often see the bright side. I will not catalog my difficulties from bipolar disorder. That would make me depressed. I hope that in some way, I will have them made up to me. Maybe that is selfish. However, I believe in the justice of God. Perhaps the promise I need to focus on is that God is just. He will make it up.
One of the most wrenching experiences I had was when I called for a blessing from the elders. They came and blessed me. However, when they learned I was not healed, they said I must be lacking in faith. I even thought, “Surely, I would be healed if I had enough faith.”
What Can I Do Then?
What can I do then? I can take medication. That helps. However, there is a bundle of side effects. Sometimes, they are almost unbearable. I asked my doctor what he could do for them, and he said there was nothing he could do medically. I mentioned my meditation. He encouraged that and said it could help. So I do medication and meditation. Meditation helps me to abstract my thoughts and keeps them from taking me down. It helps me manage pain and encourages mindfulness in my activities: from eating, to walking, to driving. Though I do not have a control group to prove it, it seems to reduce depression and anxiety.
Beyond that, I continue my love of learning. I keep hoping I will find a better way to live. Besides getting help from better nutrition, this new idea of building my life on the promises of God is one I will follow up on. I already have an increased desire to study the Bible to review and learn more about God’s promises. Max Lucado mentioned the justice of God, which is a good quality for me to remember.
In a recent prayer that I posted in this blog, I asked the Lord about his promise to give living water to those who thirst. I wondered what that meant because I am always thirsty because of my medications and would love some relief. I cannot drink enough to quench my thirst, at least not for very long. Dry mouth is one of the most uncomfortable side effects of my medication.
If my body is losing fluid, though, I need to be alert to it. If my body needs water, I would not want to inhibit my thirst. On the other hand, I do not desire to retain fluid and suffer edema. If I stopped drinking as much, would my body conserve water? It probably would, to an extent, but dehydration symptoms set in. It may not be worth it to stress the body by depriving it of water when it is thirsty.
Lithium increases the excretion of ADH, the antidiuretic hormone that concentrates urine. Instead of concentrating urine to conserve water in the body, a lithium patient often excretes many liters of water daily. The effect? Misery. It is called diabetes insipidus. I have had it for at least 20 years. It may go away, though, if I can ever get off of lithium. I feel like I am always drinking gallons and still ending up dehydrated.
What does that have to do with living water? The Lord said, come unto me, and you will never thirst. I understand that living water is the Holy Spirit, which according to Max Lucado, “enters the believer upon confession of faith (Ephesians 1:13)” (Lucado, Max, Unshakable Hope, Thomas Nelson, 2018, p. 133.)
What Does Living Water Have to do With Thirst?
Exactly how the Spirit has kept me from being thirsty, I do not quite understand. There may be some metaphorical meaning to it. For one thing, I have never been far from water. I have always had a drink for nothing more than the effort of getting up. Perhaps, there is a spiritual thirst that the Holy Spirit has been there to lift me out of.
The Samaritan woman at the well sought to slake her thirst with living water. She was tired of carrying her water jar to the well in the noon-day sun. Jesus did not tell her, “No, that’s not it!” She suddenly had enough energy to call for people, however. I suspect she had to keep visiting the water source afterward, again and again. What was Jesus offering?
Jesus was saying he was offering eternal life. If living water is the Holy Spirit, is it not a supporter of eternal life? Does it not give us power? Encouragement? Direction? PUSH Max calls it: Power, Unity, Supervision, and Holiness. I know this short blog entry cannot do justice in describing the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.
Different churches differ on our relationship to the Spirit, but all Christian churches believe in the Holy Spirit.
Eight New Activities
Yesterday, I added eight new activities to JV Life Tracker: four for the New Testament, four for the Old. Added to the single point, “Bible reading,” that I already had, each day, I can earn up to nine points for immersing myself in the Bible. I probably will not get all nine every day, but the points encourage me to read chapters from the Bible’s major sections. I also got out a colored marking pencil, so I can mark the chapters I have studied. When I find a promise that speaks to me, I will spend some time with it.
I believe I will find a better way to live.
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One. If you wish to download a FREE copy of my ebook (with no need to enter your name or email), click on the book below.