Our core longings are actually rooted in eternity.
NOVEMBER 3, 2021
Matt Heard: Our core longings are actually rooted in eternity. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Matt Heard is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the founder and principal of a ministry called THRIVE. He’s been teaching us all this week.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. Well, here we are middle of the week. I hope your week is at least survivable, so far. And we’re taking a journey through John chapter four and we’re walking alongside a woman by a well in Samaria. And Jesus has having a discussion with her about her soul thirst, her sehnsucht, is the German word for the week, her deep yearning, deep longing. And she’s been going to men and marriage, nothing wrong with men and marriage, but thinking that those pursuits and she’s had five marriages and she’s living with a guy right now, and she has been thinking that will quench my thirst. And Jesus is convincing her otherwise, in verse 10 of John chapter four. If you’ve got a Bible with you, look it up. If not listen to this statement that Jesus tells her, he says.
“If you knew, if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
And then she responded and then he comes back.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks, the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up
Okay, pay attention
to eternal life.”
Now, when I say the phrase eternal life, we don’t typically think of soul thirst, but Jesus is saying to her what she’s really thirsty for. And he brings up a statement that if I mentioned eternal life to a lot of people fairly quickly, most are going to think of heaven. And it’s not that eternal life and heaven don’t have anything to do with each other. Of course they do. We’ll experience eternal life in heaven in an undiluted way, but they’re not synonyms. And so, let’s break eternal life down a little bit. And, my grammar teacher from school long ago, that was 18 centuries ago, I think, would be very proud of me, Mrs. Tucker, that I know the difference between an adjective and a noun. And so, when we say eternal life, we’ve got an adjective eternal and life is the noun. And we’ll talk about that noun tomorrow, but let’s talk about the word eternal. You know what he’s saying to this woman? He says, your thirst is actually for something eternal. And no matter how good of a pursuit or how sinful a pursuit, you are not going to satisfy your eternal thirst with temporary things. Ecclesiastes chapter three, verse 10 says.
I have seen the burden. God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time.
I love this passage. You know what he’s saying? He says, as image bearers, we all can notice beauty, we all can see it, as image bearers, we have the capability of great beauty and great laughter and creativity and ingenuity as well as of course, because of the fall, evil. And he points out in this, he said, he’s also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. It’s a great description of a fallen image-bearer. We have eternity in our heart, that’s true of all of us, not just church people. But we can’t make sense of it, that’s why we need Jesus’ way and truth and life, to come speak into our journey. But that whole notion of eternity in our hearts, think about it for a second. We’ve got an eternal yearning in us, and temporary, temporal things, whether they be sinful or just superficial, aren’t going to do it. I was writing one time, my publisher had given me a deadline for a particular portion of a book I was writing to be done. So, I went up into the Rocky Mountains to a cabin that some friends loaned me and I had two days and I had to make a lot of progress. I sat down and everything’s going great, until I saw the little blinking battery icon in the top right-hand corner of my laptop screen. And so, I realized, okay, I’ve got a charge my laptop. And so, I got the plug out and then I started looking around and this is going to be highly technical. I’m not sure you’ll be able to follow along unless you’ve got an electrical engineering degree, but my plug had a two thingy on it, right? No, my plug had a three thingy. Now, you know what a three thingy is. All the outlets only had two thingies. And again, I realize this is real technical. So, bottom line it’s this old cabin that hadn’t been rewired and I’m walking around with my three thingy plug from my laptop and I’m staring at all these two thingy outlets, that are mocking me. And I’m starting to panic cause I’m an hour and a half away from any civilization, any store that’s going to get me behind, big time. Finally, I found a three thingy plug back behind the refrigerator, unplugged the refrigerator, plugged in my laptop, we’re good to go. I mean, the milk spoiled, but I got my deadline taken care of. That image has stuck with me because you know what, we’ve got an eternal plug in every one of us. And, we try to force that eternal plug into a temporary outlet. And it’s not going to fit. And Jesus is telling this woman, you’re thirsty for something eternal. And I’m the only one that can provide that for you. You see, our longings are rooted in eternity. They’re rooted in creation. Yes, we have fallen, but we’re still image bearers and we’ve gotten lost, but we still know that we we’ve got a home, it’s what Chaucer says in The Canterbury Tales, when he says.
A drunken man knows he has a home, but he doesn’t know how to get there.
We all know we’ve got a home. We all know that there is something eternal that needs to be addressed, but we just don’t know how to get there. You remember CS Lewis, our sehnsucht instructor, he wrote a poem one time called Vowels and Sirens. I actually found it, in Oxford one time, when I was on a study break there, in this used bookstore across from Christ Church. I don’t know what it is about used bookstores, maybe it’s, I get high off of the mildew that comes off of the used books, but I wandered in and I came across this book and here’s what Lewis says in Vowels and Sirens, he says.
A vanished knowledge was their intemperate song, a music that resembled some earlier music, that men are born remembering. This is what all the gods refuse, the backward journey to the steep rivers, hid source. The great returning, the sirens fain to give.
That is just brilliant because he’s saying we’re all born with a music deep within our consciousness, that music that we’re born remembering. And we try to trace that music, but the sirens as Lewis brings up, Greek mythology, the sirens that would distract us, that would block the way. And so often, as we’re trying to trace the source of that music that we’re born remembering, the enemy comes along and we head down very temporal paths at best and sinful paths at worst. He says, don’t get distracted by whatever your sin is, trace your longing to the source, don’t get distracted by careers or parties or Facebook or visits to the hospital, vacations. Go to the source, go to the source that says, this is what I’m thirsty for. You know, I told you that so often movies and music points the way for us, that’s image bearers that are phenomenal creatives. And, the beauty of art is that often it will help us articulate, you know, art acts like a hand that comes up to the shutter of our hearts and opens up and enables us to articulate something that we weren’t able to articulate on our own. And that’s why the arts means so much, especially in this whole realm of engaging with our longings. Woodstock is a song that came up on a car I rented recently, it was on Sirius, by Joni Mitchell in 1970, and the line is.
We’re Stardust, we’re golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.
That’s what Jesus was telling that woman. That’s what he’s telling me. That’s what he’s telling you, that in the midst of board meetings and school board meetings and vacations and golf games and doctor’s appointments, we’ve got to remember that we’re from the garden and we’ve got thirst, that goes way back, thirst that is God sized. And we can’t be forcing, these temporary pursuits that so many of us go after. Some of them are fine, they’re not sinful, they’re beautiful, they’re fun. Just don’t expect to get from them, what only Jesus can provide. Marriage might be an example. Boy, it’s a dangerous thing, when a husband or wife wants to receive from their spouse, what only Jesus can give them. You talk about creating tension in a marriage, is when you’re trying to bring those eternal longings and get that spouse to fulfill them, or may be a bank account or a job, maybe it’s a hobby. So, take a good look and say, you know what? My longings are eternal and I want to bring them to the only one who’s able to do something eternal. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about what that looks like. So, in the meantime, make sure you keep the eternal adjective in focus and say, that’s what we’ll look to. That’s what’s going to satisfy me, is Jesus. And as a result of hope you thrive today.
Of course, that was pastor and author, Matt Heard. He’s been teaching us all this week and he will wrap up his series tomorrow. Make sure you catch that. Hey, by the way, if you’ve missed any of this week’s episodes for Matt or any from Steve’s ongoing study of Acts, you can access those anytime you want at keylife.org with our new layout on the website, it’s never been easier to find what you’re looking for and to discover new content that you are going to love, from Steve and our other Key Life voices. Also on keylife.org you’ll find transcripts for this radio program. That means everything you hear, Steve or Matt or Pete teach, you also have it in print. Also on the website, you’ll find our brand new digital magazine, sermons, video versions of Steve Brown Etc,, Key Life Connection, and even a link to our brand new Key Life app. And all of it is still free, thanks to the generous support of listeners, just like you. If you would like to donate, just call 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. Or you can mail your donation to
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