A couple years ago I found myself without a good Bible. Summers of doing street ministry led to me giving my "gamers" away to hungry passers-by who were curious about this God that would cause obscure strangers to cook them a free hot dog at 2am.
Biblegateway.com is actually my regular scripture stop most days. Ear buds, Jesus Culture on Grooveshark and Biblegateway is my most common "secret place/prayer-closet". But I need a book too. I'm far from someone who revels in the memories contained in the smell of Abitibi newsprint... but there is something about a good book in a quiet place.
So because I like buying products locally if possible to support our economy, I went by our local Christian retailer to pick up a new Bible. I wanted a "reader". I love the deeper study of the history, cross-referencing, and entomology of words... but that stuff has never been more easily accessed online in the history of mankind. A book is different. A book is for reading. Devouring. Getting lost in.
Their suggestion was a tin-cased New Living Translation Bible, with the word "Thirsty?" posed as a question on it. It was actually a free throw-in when you bought a Kirk Cameron "Left Behind" video game. So I pitched the game in the trash and walked away with a new Bible. The publisher's description of this Bible is quite hysterical actually.
"... it's about giving teens something totally unique without directly saying it's for them. The Metal Bible has the hippest exterior ever! Style-conscious teens will find this lightweight, compact edition of the Scriptures irresistible."
Yep... that sounds like some serious Christian-Crap ad-copy right there. Right up there with "The Prayer Cross".
But what's funny is, that no matter how badly man bungles around with our feeble attempts to communicate God's goodness to others... the truth remains unspoiled truth. This Bible publisher and advertiser were handed the task of helping to facilitate young people opening what Christians believe to be a book that contains LIVING WORDS. And they did what they could with what they had at their disposal, likely because their lives had been revived and enriched by God too. This burden falls on all of us.
They posed the question "Thirsty?" on the cover, referencing one of the Jesus stories in the book in John 4. In the middle of Jesus earthly ministry, while the land was intrigued by him and what He was doing, he met an ostracized & messed up woman at a well. He gave her something to drink and let her know just how much He already knew about her and how much she thirsted for something better. Then Jesus said,
" Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 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.”
She ran around free... freeing others by introducing them to Jesus. Quenched. A powerful statement and story that still frees men today.
The internet has been out at our home for a few days. It's been days of book reading around the Carrol household. We really don't realize how much we're online these days until we don't have it! So this morning I was reading my Bible while the kids were eating breakfast and Aislin asked me why it said "Thirsty" on it. I told her the story of the woman at the well and what Jesus did for her... and us. It made her smile peacefully in that Aislin way she smiles with her head half-cocked, knowing that Jesus loves her.
The Bible is a profoundly beautiful thing. It's a pathway to water.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life."
Revelation 22: 16-17