Thirst


It was another busy day at the Visitation Center, leaving only two of us holding down the fort. We met with a 17 year-old teenager, Susan*, who recently found out she was pregnant. She has been through a lot in her short years of life and towards the end of the meeting she said, “I just want to be loved… I haven’t been loved the way that I was supposed to.” Somehow, deep down, Susan knew what she was missing. Those who were supposed to love and cherish her had failed her in some way. 

Susan is not alone in her disappointment or her desire to be loved. The cry of the Samaritan woman at the well continues today. Her words strike a chord in every one of our hearts. This is the deepest desire of every human heart – we all seek to be loved unconditionally. We want this God-shaped hole in our heart to be filled, our desire to be satisfied and our thirst to be quenched. Fr. Thomas Dubay in his book ‘You Are Christ’s’ said, “You are a thirst in the flesh, an incarnated thirst. You yearn for endless beauty and joy, endless love and delight, endless security and happiness… You cannot help being an incarnated thirst. Nor can I. We were born that way and we will die that way. We may differ in how we seek to slake our thirst. Some go up blind alleys. Others go to the Fountain. But all seek.” 

Indeed, we all seek. Sometimes we try to ease the ache in our hearts by seeking the love of other people. Or maybe we hope to quench this thirst by filling our lives with work or other activities. Sometimes after many hurts and disappointments, it might feel easier to bury our thirst or just to deny its existence altogether because we think that if we don’t acknowledge it, our problem will be solved. 

But the truth is that as human beings created in the image of the Holy Trinity, who is Love Himself, we will always thirst. We are an incarnated thirst. Many saints, like St.Thérèse of Lisieux, have also been aware of this cry of their hearts. Yet instead of going to blind alleys, St.Thérèse turns to the Loving Father to satisfy this thirst of hers. She says in her autobiography, “He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfill them.”

This thirst is intentionally placed in our hearts by the Lord so that it can lead us to the Everlasting Fountain. Only Jesus, the Fountain of Living Water, can quench our thirst. Let us think more deeply: if this is how much we thirst for love, then how much more is Love Himself seeking to fill us? This Love will go as far as emptying Himself of everything to become man and die for us.

Jesus understands our hearts because He too experienced this thirst. When He was hanging on the cross, He cried out, “I thirst.” This Love is infinite and that means that His thirst for us is also infinite. He thirsts to fill our thirst but He also thirsts for our love. Jesus thirsts for our love! Because each one of our hearts is so unique, no one can love Him the way your heart can love Him. Mother Teresa understood this, and she not only identified His thirst with hers but she united her thirst with His: “I do not know whose thirst is greater, His or mine for His.”  

 One of the beautiful properties of water is that water always goes to the lowest place. This Living Water will go to the lowest place of our heart, where we thirst most deeply for love, and He will quench our thirst so that we will never have to draw from the well of counterfeit love again. Once we allow the Everlasting Fountain to quench our thirst, there will be in its place the spring of Living Water from which others can draw. We can see this so clearly in all the saints and most especially in Mother Teresa. In uniting her thirst with Jesus’ thirst on the cross, Mother Teresa embodied this thirsting love of Jesus for the poor and the suffering. Her heart was so united to His that those she serves are not only led to the Fountain but could be quenched by the Living Waters flowing through her. 

Eternal Father, thank you for placing this thirst for love in our hearts. We pray for the grace to turn to You, the Fountain of Living Water, to quench our thirst. Help us to allow you to fill us so that we can draw others to be closer to you. We ask this through the intercession of St.Thérèse of Lisieux and Mother Teresa and in Jesus’ name. Amen.