Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Stories of the Thirsty
Confronting the Poverty of Curiosity
By Jerry Wiles, President Emeritus, Living Water International
Special to ASSIST News Service
HOUSTON, TX (ANS) -- One of the things we notice among 3- and 4-year-old children is that they ask a lot of questions. They are always asking, “Why?” “How?” and “What?” They have a healthy curiosity. They learn fast because of their curiosity, thirst for knowledge and high level of interest to and desire to understand.
A question I have been pondering lately is, “Can curiosity, interest or thirst be created or developed?” It is often said that we don’t know what we don’t know, and many people have no interest or curiosity in finding out what they don’t know. However, the Scripture says that we should let our speech be with grace, seasoned with salt. Salt does create thirst, but it can also irritate or offend. Jesus said that, as His followers, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are to let our light shine that others may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
One of the advantages or benefits of working with, volunteering or being associated with an organization like Living Water International (LWI) is that often people ask what we do, just based on the name, Living Water. It may be a bumper sticker, a lapel pin or a garment bag that stimulates a conversation. Many times I’ve had the opportunity to share the vision and mission of LWI with someone in those encounters, and occasionally, to share the Living Water of Jesus, who satisfies the deepest thirst. Sometimes we connect with those who are receptive and eager to embrace the Good News and become a follower of Jesus.
A lady in a Central American country, who participated in one of LWI’s Orality Training Workshops, told us she has never learned to read or write. She went on to say that she can now share her faith with her family and others in her community.
A man in his 80’s, who attended an Orality Training in the United States said, “I wish I had learned this 70 years ago.” The training was truly transformational for him, and he began to have a new passion for sharing Christ with others and using the methods in his Bible teaching. He found that it increased his effectiveness for engaging people in conversation, communicating spiritual truth and assisting others on their journey of following Jesus.
The Apostle Peter said to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us, but we should be prepared to sow the seed of God’s Word, which tests the soil. Sometimes we just sow a seed, at other times we water a seed that someone else has sown, and occasionally we may reap a harvest, but it is God who gives the increase.
There are all kinds of thirst and we find thirsty people everywhere. In the physical realm, when people do not have clean, safe water, they drink whatever is available. In some of the places where LWI works, we’ve heard stories of the desperate measures people go to in order to satisfy their thirst for water.
Children have resorted to eating dirt or sucking on tree limbs in order to get some moisture. A young man who escaped while a child soldier in an African country, told me that when he could acquire a 16-ounce bottle of water, he could make is last four days. Physical thirst is not a bad thing, as it lets us know that we have a need, an indicator that our bodies need water.
In addition to physical thirst, there are various other kinds of thirst, like a thirst for change or a thirst for knowledge. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who … thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” It is actually sad when people do not have a thirst, when there is a lack of curiosity or interest. Many are content with the way they are and have no real desire to change or grow. Others are in their comfort zone and resist change; you might say they are living in the poverty of curiosity.
Something we often observe when people experience a demonstration of the love and grace of God, is that it sometimes creates thirst, curiosity and interest in hearing and knowing more. For example, in some communities a new water well, hygiene training and sanitation can cause people to ask why we do what we do. They become curious and interested in hearing about the love of Jesus.
God is doing an incredible work in the world today, often in the midst of crisis and difficulties, and many are becoming curious and thirsty for spiritual truth. These are strategic times for us to pray, care and share with those we encounter every day.
For additional information about the Orality Movement and training opportunities, visit – www.water.cc/orality
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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.
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