July 6 Devotional

Opening Prayer: O God, giver of life and source of living water. Forgive me for all the places other than you that I go to satisfy the deepest longings of my heart. Help me to see what broken wells I go to each day in search of the fullness only you can provide. Allow me to quench the thirst of my soul in You this day, and in nothing or no one else. Through Christ. Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 2:11-13

Journal: What are your broken wells? Where are you trying to satisfy the thirst of your soul apart from Christ?

Reflection: It’s part of my pastoral calling to look closely at the lives of those who go to church. They all clean up pretty nicely on Sunday morning. But just below the surface of their navy-blue suits and colorful dresses lie souls that are not nearly so tidy. On a typical Sunday in our church, I sit facing the congregation while the choir sings the anthem before the sermon. I gaze into the faces of people I know and love. I see the elder whose marriage is hanging on by a thread. Next to him is the Sunday school teacher whose daughter was arrested last week for driving under the influence of alcohol. Two pews behind them is the church’s newest widow, who is wondering how she will survive sitting in church alone for the first time in forty years. She happens to be sitting next to a young couple who desperately want to be parents, but not a single one of the fertility treatments seem to be helping. The details may change as I look from face to face, but the essential story remains the same. They are all thirsty.

My job is to remember that what we are struggling with is not just our families and jobs. No, the stakes are much higher than that. The real struggle is with our parched souls. We were created with a need to satisfy our physical thirst, and every morning of our lives we are reminded of this thirst. But this physical thirst is a symbol, maybe even a sacrament, that points to the deeper spiritual thirst of the soul. So also is our longing for better families and more satisfying jobs a symbol of our deeper yearning to be a part of the family and mission of God. We simply cannot satisfy the thirst of our souls by pouring on new relationships, experience, achievements, or careers.

We will never find what we are looking for in the things we pick up along the way. Not even the religious things. Not even important things like relationships. All of these things will leave our souls empty if we try to force them to satisfy our thirst. The true object of our search is nothing less than an encounter with the Holy One. (Sacred Thirst by M. Craig Barnes)

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself 

The Knoxville Leadership Foundation or KLF focuses on five important components of community life to ensure overall health within the city: family, youth, housing, racial reconciliation, and economic development. Chris Martin is the founder and president. KLF has a transitional housing ministry in Flenniken Landing. A recent video at reclamationstories.org tells the story of one man’s “Eviction Party.” Watch it today and pray for Tommy who now has a home of his own. Pray also for the Come Serve With Us CSPC volunteers who are serving ice cream at Flenniken Landing on July 27. To find out more, go here.

Closing Prayer: Forgive us, O God, for forsaking you, the fountain of living water and creating for ourselves broken cisterns, cisterns that cannot hold water. Help us, O Lord, to return to you and drink from the waters of life. Amen.