One summer day, the scorching heat of the sun made a crow very thirsty. The crow flew from one place to another to quench his thirst, until he found a pitcher with water. The sight of it made him more and more thirsty so he landed on the brim of the pitcher to drink. But the neck of the pitcher was too narrow and his beak would not reach the water.
He was disappointed. But because of his thirst, he thought of many ways to be able to drink the water from the pitcher.
Wisdom came to the crow. He gathered pebbles and put them one by one into the pitcher. The more he dropped pebbles into the pitcher, the higher the water level rose. He did this tirelessly regardless of the heat and his thirst until the water reached close to the pitcher brim where he could drink.
Aesop’s fable on the Crow and the Pitcher is a perfect illustration of how man usually behaves when attempting to meet a need. Some pause to take desperate measures despite the risks, while others simply give up, accept what is at hand and suffer unnecessarily. A ‘risk-taker’ is someone who plunges into something that may cause harm but does it anyway for a potentially long-term benefit. On the other hand, a ‘risk-averse’ person is the opposite, one who stays in the comfort zone where everyone else is at to avoid potential harm and rejection at the moment.
As Christians, our identity is defined based on how we live our lives daily more than what we say we believe in. Jesus, through the way that He lived on earth, has given us pointers on how we should live our lives. As mere humans, we are prone to commit mistakes and to experience difficulties. Because of this same nature, we fumble for quick solutions whenever challenges hit us. In the same way that we are in a constant search for something that sometimes we cannot even pin point what it is that we long for.
The readings today reveal two things: (1) we belong to God, that is why we constantly long for God; and (2) to be with God is to live like Jesus.
All of us, children of God, regardless of color, gender, race, preference, social status, belong to Him. Our soul seeks God because we were created out of His love. God “breathed into his [Adam] nostrils the breath of life, and [we] became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). We thirst for Him because His presence is our only true peace. As St. Augustine perfectly puts it, “my heart is restless until it finds its rest in God.” Our thirst can only be quenched if we attend to it by taking in God’s Word, by living His laws. For a start, we can begin quenching this thirst by praying everyday. In prayer, we are united with God. We do not even have to say a word. Just by making time to quiet our hearts in the presence of the Lord is more than enough. The Lord uses our quiet times to speak to us, to let the Holy Spirit lead us to our next step. Then our hearts begin to be filled with His peace and love. We begin to feel ‘full’.
To be together with God is to live like Jesus – not an easy task at all! But this is what Jesus tells us: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Daily. Choosing to follow Christ is a constant, daily decision. No spiritual high experience can define how much we have already denied ourselves and followed Jesus. Everyday is a new opportunity for dying to self and letting the Spirit of God take over. To deny oneself is to strip off self-interests and worldly desires. This image was physically made visible to us on Jesus’ carrying of the cross; but, after the suffering came Jesus’ resurrection. We are invited to experience the same fate – we suffer with Christ, and rise to eternity with Christ.
In our constant thirst for God, we are given practical tips to quench such thirst. We can choose to be like the crow that decided to stand the heat as he gradually drops the pebbles, or we can just fly away and grope to quench the thirst from an unknown source. We can choose to carry our cross now to be one with God in eternity one day, or we can stay in our comfort zone where the world praises our ways.
Father God, I adore and praise You! Thank you for this constant thirst that I have for You. May You never tire to woo me to choose You over the ways of the world. I belong to You and no one else’s. As I work on being with You everyday, please use me as an instrument to draw others closer to You as well. Amen.