John 4:13-14, "Jesus answered, "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 to eternal life."
It was Mick Jagger who sang in 1965, "I can't get no satisfaction." I am amazed by the honesty of that statement. As a minister, who gets access to the inner lives of so many, I see this as one of the greatest themes in life—people looking for satisfaction, fulfillment in life, but can't find it.
I see people look in success. They claw and scratch to get to the top only to find when they get there nothing is there. They look in love, having one failed relationship after another, but though they give themselves away again and again they are always left unloved, empty and unsatisfied. They look in things, having and possessing, but no matter how much they have there is always the next thing. The hollow echo comes back to them, "a little more, a little more." More is never enough.
Jesus, with the incredible wisdom that only God can have, equates this as a thirst that physical fulfillment cannot satisfy. We drink only to have to drink more and never find enough. The problem, says Jesus, is that the thirst was never meant to be satisfied physically. When we find a thirst in ourselves that nothing in this world seems to satisfy perhaps that indicates that this world was never meant to satisfy it.
The reason why Mick, and countless others, cannot get satisfaction is simply because they are looking in the wrong place. Jesus speaks of a "Living Water" that is the cure for humanities thirst. That Living Water is a source that is never depleted and therefore continues to satisfy without end. The Living Water is the Holy Spirit living in us, a picture of perfect intimacy with God. Only intimacy and relationship with God satisfies our thirst. Then we bloom wherever we are planted.
Blooming where you're planted has never been a problem for Los Angeles elevator operator Ruben Pardo. For 35 years, he has driven and steered one of the last manual elevators in the city, located in an Art Deco office building on Wilshire Boulevard. His life is simple, some might even say mundane. But his purpose is clear and his heart is full of joy and gratitude.
Every day young, bright graphic designers, web branders, and search engine optimizers ride Pardo's beautifully ornate elevator to their loft offices. And every day, Pardo greets them by name with cheer. While young employees come and go, Pardo is a fixture in the building. One young executive said, "He's been in this elevator longer than I've been on the planet."
Pardo, the son of a shop owner, was born in Mexico City. When he was seven, his family moved to the States. Through hard work like painting garages, shoveling snow, and operating elevators like the one he still manages, he was able to support himself, and eventually, his wife. Pardo works six days a week and rarely takes paid vacations. Every Sunday, he takes his wife to dinner as a gesture of gratitude. Padro exclaims, "[My wife and I] are happy."
While the young people in the office building move off to school, get married, and travel the world, Pardo remains steady and constant, doing the thing that he's done for 35 years. "I love my small, little world," he says. And yet here's how Luis Zavala, a 33-year-old Web graphic designer, describes Pardo: "It's like a glass of fresh water every morning. I don't know how he does it, but every day for him just seems to be a bright opportunity for something." [Nita Lelyveld, "Elevator operator's overriding story: joy." Los Angeles Times (10-15-11)]
"A glass of fresh water every morning," is the perfect picture of a person who has discovered the secret to satisfaction. Real satisfaction in life only comes from intimacy with God. Are you thirsty? Stop drawing from the well of this world and start drawing from the inexhaustible well of God. Who do you think gave you that thirst in the first place?
Prayer: Our Father, You are the source of amazing satisfaction. Satisfaction unending. We seek You with all our hearts and know we will find You because You have promised we would. To find You is to be satisfied, filled, complete and whole. Teach us how to draw from the well that never runs dry. Holy Spirit fill us today with Your sweet presence. In Jesus name, amen.