“Most people live their lives as a wandering generality, when they could be a meaningful specific” -Zig Ziglar
Think back to a time when you really looked forward to something. We’ve all had that anticipation at some point in our lives.
Maybe it was your first real job.
Maybe it was your wedding day.
Regardless of what it is that you were very much looking forward to, eventually reality always sets in. Maybe your job ends up feeling mundane once the excitement wears off. Maybe you realize that marriage is a lot harder than you thought it would be. Some of us have experienced that letdown with the “American Dream”. You may have set goals for what you think will bring you success and happiness, but even once those goals are achieved, your life feels no better than it was before.
In addition to this experience, external forces have a way of throwing life out of control really fast. At any moment, disaster can strike. Weather disasters, illnesses, economic recessions, job loss, and an infinite number of other unexpected problems can bring chaos and heartache. This can be so disillusioning. It makes one ask, “Why am I even here? Is this all there is in life?”
King Soloman, whom legend says was one of the wisest and wealthiest men in human history, asked this same question while self-reflecting at the end of his life.
“So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless- like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” Ecclesiates 2:8-11
I think in a lot of ways we can all relate to this. Solomon looked for meaning and purpose in everything you can imagine, and would have been considered extremely successful in every way you could desire, yet at the end of his life it all felt meaningless. It seems like not much has changed in the human experience over the past few thousand years.
Another story from history that illustrates this is recorded in the Bible, much later, in the book of John. It is about an unnamed woman with a few skeletons in her closet who goes to a well for some water.
“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refused to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, ‘if you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water’”
This woman had been coming to the same well for water over and over again. Every day she had to face the shame of her past mistakes with no hope for anything more in her life. But Jesus was offering her something much better… a spiritual well to draw from that offered life-giving water and never ran dry.
This living water Jesus offered the woman at the well was just what this woman had been searching for all her life, but didn’t know it. It’s what Soloman was looking for. And if we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s what each one of us longs for in our own hearts. No matter what we have tried in our lives to give us meaning, whether it’s money, or security, or good deeds, or relationships with other people, we’ll always wind up feeling empty in the end.
The Bible says that “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
That means that every person that’s ever walked the planet has chased the same fantasy. The truth is that your life will never change, and you will never find your true purpose until you meet The Purpose Giver. His name is Jesus.
How can we meet Jesus? The Bible says that first we must admit that we’ve failed. We’ve looked for meaning and love to fill us from places that were never designed to give it. Then you can simply pray. Tell God that you’re sorry that you have chased the fantasy. Tell him that you will only look to Jesus for the life-giving spiritual water to fill your life. I promise, friends, you will never feel empty or “thirsty” again. It’s time to come home to Jesus.