“The ultimate essence of evil—the root, the spring, what makes evil evil—is that we have lost a taste for God.”
I nearly walked off the back of the treadmill as I heard John Piper’s words during the Passion livestream this January.
I had known for a while that I have placed things ahead of God, whether intentional or not. I was aware of the wrongness of that, of course. But to be told that I have committed the ultimate evil—that made me take a few step back…quite literally and almost to my detriment.
Piper was digging into Jeremiah 2, a passage that God has kept pulling me back to the last four months.
Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
I have lost a taste for that which brings life and I have instead turned to an empty well. I have exchanged that which will quench my thirst, for that which will continue to suck from me until I am dead. I have looked for life where there is none to be had, when the spring of living water is right in front of me. This—Piper says—is the ultimate root of evil. From this, every other sin is permitted to live.
Guess what, friends? I have been so thirsty for so long.
I love what Jesus offers the woman at the well in John 4:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
She asks him to give her this water so she does not have to return to the well. Gently—oh so gently—Jesus invites her to unload her brokeness. He tells her he is looking for worshipers in spirit and truth.
He is looking for worshipers who drink from his fountain and he wants her to be one. Her, a woman in a culture that gave women little standing, a woman of a race intended to be his enemy, a woman who had let her hunger for life and acceptance lead her to many unfulfilling lovers. And he talks with her, he steps into her world, into her broken-cistern, dying-of-thirst life and invites her to drink of something better.
He invites us to something better as well. He invites us to drink deep from the freedom he offers. Freedom for money, beauty, power, acceptance. Freedom to not be enough, yet find enough in him.
Jesus is in the ministry of enough-ness. What is offered from his well is the only thing that will bring us life and, trust me, it is enough.
Jennie Allen’s latest book Nothing to Prove has been a great tool for encouragement as I have sought to revive a thirst for God in this season. As she explores the book of John, I was struck by not only God’s beautiful offering to satisfy our thirst, but to be more than enough. If my thoughts here or in my previous post on the topic interest you, I would highly recommend picking up her book!
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