Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: Matthew 3:1-11
Key Verse: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” Matthew 3:11
His words suddenly ring like a bell in my memory: clear, strong, and true. It was the testimony of a man whose heart was still across the sea with his people, though I met him while on a speaking trip in the American Midwest.
“My people are thirsty,” he told me. “Spiritually thirsty, that is.”
And I knew it was true. My sister and brother-in-law spend six months of the year working with the beautiful people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. So I’ve been introduced to the burning thirst that these people have—a thirst that we in more developed parts of the world could use more of.
Today I’m confronted by thirst once again.
For the past few weeks I’ve been working alongside many others to spread the gospel here in Harare, Zimbabwe, as part of the Zimbabwe Union Conference’s Mission to the Cities* initiative. After my experience here, it suddenly seems as though all former encounters with spiritual thirst have been outdone. Here in Harare I have seen thirsty people perhaps as never before, and I have seen the deep satisfaction that always comes when people finally encounter Jesus.
As I reflect on the recent memory of standing beside the baptismal pool, watching them stream in and out of the water, the words of my new friend in the Midwest take on a new meaning. “We’re thirsty.”
Perhaps that is why you can find the thirsty by the water, and often in such great numbers . . .
The waters of baptism part and then come together again. They ripple and sparkle, while scores of voices send praises wafting on the wind in every direction. Tears stand in many eyes as we take in the spectacle.
But surpassing the beauty of even this Zimbabwe baptism is the promise of another. My soul is drawn to the words of John the Baptist, as recorded in Matthew 3:11: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
Now I’m thirsty, really thirsty. This is the baptism that I long for.
I’m thirsty to see God finish what He’s begun in His church. I’m thirsty to see the children of God join hands, forget themselves, and focus on their mission. I’m thirsty for the power of the living God to be poured out, that we might live out the full implications of our redemption, that we might constantly exude the joy of our salvation, that we might be prepared to go home.
Aren’t you thirsty?
I have full faith that we’ll find whatever we seek for. Then let us spend our lives seeking this heavenly Holy Ghost baptism of fire (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7).
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Dear Heavenly Father, many of us in this modern day have become so saturated with the things of the world that we have lost our intense hunger and thirst for You. We have become satisfied with the superficial, we’ve become content to be lukewarm. Please give us this intense spiritual thirst again—the thirst for a living, vibrant relationship with You, the thirst for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Help us to be thirsty to reach others so the work can be finished and we can go home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
By Seán Nebblett, guest contributor from New Mexico
*This Mission to the Cities initiative in Harare, Zimbabwe, was in cooperation with ASI, Share Him, the General Conference, the Southwestern Union Conference, and others. To read more, click here.
[If you haven’t yet watched “What Might Have Been, Can Be,” we encourage you to prayerfully do so and also share with friends and church members. Multiple languages of the video are available on our website.]