One of the deep questions fasting is designed to stir within us is, “What do I depend on?”
A year or so ago I had a conversation with Dr. David Wray, a professor at ACU who specializes in spiritual formation. Wray drinks nothing but water. I asked him why. He told me that several years previous he had noticed that he needed a little pick-me-up in the late afternoon to make it through the day. When he realized this, and as a devote practitioner of the spiritual disciplines, he decided that he was not going to be dependent on any substance.
I realize, as our church works through these two weeks of drinking nothing but water, that people are dependent upon a great many things — though we’re all too refined to admit it. I typically have one and a half cups of coffee in the morning and one Diet Coke in the late afternoon, so I can sympathize when people say, “I have to have my coffee.” But I do often wonder, “Really?”
Do we really need our coffee? Do we have to have a Coke? I bet when most of us think about it, we know that we don’t “need” those things. Furthermore, we love to hear sermons and read books about Jesus being “living water” and “the bread of life,” but, I’d guess, more of us are less sure about God actually sustaining us then we say we are.
And I don’t say this to beat people up. I’d enjoy a cup of coffee right now, myself. But the reason we fast is to witness and re-orient ourselves to the fact that we are in need of God and God alone. Upon Him alone do we depend! When we feel the pangs of desire for our favorite drinks, we can recall the fact that God alone gives us life and has been feeding and nourishing us throughout, though we live mostly unaware. And this experience changes the way we experience God and interact with one another.
So as we move forward with The H2O Project, I am thankful for those we will choose to donate money for wells, but I am reminded today that the blessing and the transformation is discovered in the fast. God is in the sacrifice!
And that’s not something I can teach in a lesson, sermon or blog.