We each have a thirst that we cover and try to deny.
We try to satiate the thirst with things that don’t satisfy the thirst and make us even more thirsty; then, in fear, we deny the thirst; we feel shame.
In the beginning, God said, “It’s not good that the Adam (humanity) is alone.” Adam is alone in the presence of God, for Adam is not thirsty for communion with God; Adam doesn’t know that God is Good; He doesn’t know that “the Good” is Love; He doesn’t know that God is our Helper.
So, the Lord caused a “deep sleep” to fall upon the Adam.
We don’t read anything about God waking the Adam, until, perhaps, through Isaiah God calls to Jerusalem saying, “Arise shine for thy light has come . . .” And then Isaiah prophecies the most amazing things about Jerusalem—things we now see at the end of the Revelation.
The Lord took from the side of sleeping Adam and formed Eve.
Adam thirsts for Eve, and Eve thirsts for Adam.
“This mystery is a profound one,” writes Paul, “and I am saying it refers to Christ and the Church,”—that’s the New Jerusalem, us. Your sexuality is a sign; communion with God is the substance. Do you suppose that our Lord would thirst for us . . . to thirst for Him?
In the Garden is a tree; it’s two trees in one spot that look just the same, or one tree, that to us, looks like two.
The serpent tempted the woman to take knowledge of “the Good,” who is “the life, from the tree to justify herself; humanity felt shame. They hid themselves and they covered that spot on the body designed by God for communion in a covenant of unconditional love producing life; they felt shame.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” says the Bridegroom.
Why don’t we let Him in? We feel shame. And we have cause for shame; we’ve each taken knowledge of the Good to justify the self and crucified the Life, who is the Good. We’ve taken the Good like a beast and used the Life like a harlot.
In Revelation 21:2, John sees the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God adorned as a bride for her bridegroom.
In 1983, I watched my bride walk down the aisle adorned for me.
It all meant that she was thirsty for me. And I had—so to speak—purchased that thirst for me with my love for her.
I was thirsty for her, just her, under all that adornment.
I was thirsty for her, adorned with nothing but me. In particular, I was thirsty for that very part of her that she had hidden from everyone else in shame, that part where I was made fit for her and her for me, that part where two become one in the sacrament of communion in the covenant of marriage producing life in the image of God. I wanted to fill her self . . . with my self.
Just the mention of it . . . may cause you shame.
Perhaps you’ve abused the sign longing for the substance?
Perhaps you’ve tried to satiate the thirst with things that don’t satisfy?
Perhaps you’ve been abused by the sign and are terrified of the substance?
And now you hide that place of empty longing . . . particularly in church?
Well, maybe Jesus, your Bridegroom, is attracted to that very place in you.
And maybe His greatest sorrow is that you would hide it from Him?
It really doesn’t matter what you’ve done in and with that place; if you hide it from Him it’s evil . . .
But if you were to surrender it to Him, perhaps He’d fill it with Himself, such that your true self would be Him in you, and all would be new—as He promised: “Behold I make all things new.”
Imagine if my bride came down the aisle dressed like me in clothes that she stole from me claiming to actually be me? To steal your identity—to take the Good to make yourself good—is death and sin. But to receive your identity like a bride receives her groom is Salvation by Grace through thirst.
“I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts,” says Jesus. “He who conquers shall inherit all things . . .” (Rev. 21:6-7).
“This is the victory that conquers the world, our faith,” writes John, in 1 John.
Faith is thirst . . . Of course, our Bridegroom wants faith!
And of course, He arranges all things to create it in us.
As Jesus hung on the tree in the garden just outside the walls of old Jerusalem, He cried, “I thirst . . . it is finished,” and He delivered up His Spirit. It fell on a Roman Centurion who dropped to his knees and confessed. And it fell on a group of disciples in the old Jerusalem on Pentecost; they drank and were drunk with Love and by Love; they worshiped. They knew the Good because they were known by the Good, and this is the Life.
He thirsts for us to thirst for Him as He has always thirsted for us so He creates, in us, a thirst that can only be satiated by Him. He is Grace . . . And “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”
Are you thirsty for Grace?
A thirst for Grace will manifest as deeds of Grace, like a beautiful white wedding gown—the righteous deeds of the saints. God’s love for you, in your place of shame, makes you beautiful.
We agree to our own creation, and an entirely new creation, the way a beloved bride agrees to a communion of life on her wedding night. “Awake, O sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light’… This mystery is a profound one and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:14, 32).
*Sermon discussion questions are available here: “Feeling Sexy?” Discussion Questions