“Dear Christians,” a young Muslim girl wrote from the distant nation of Uzbekistan in Central Asia, “please do not send me any more of your literature. My father has promised to kill me if you write me again.” She added to this sad note, though, a powerful postscript. “Here is the address of a friend. Write to her, and she will give your letter to me.”
This brave girl was taking a Bible correspondence course when her father’s threats fell upon her, but her thirst to know the only One who can satisfy was so intense that she was willing to risk everything to know Him. Thirst—deep, desperate thirst—is a painful thing. That’s why to me the most heartbreaking words Jesus uttered on the cross were words exhaled in agony: “I thirst.”
The longing, life-and-death nature of thirst makes it a perfect descriptor for our need of God. There is Spirit-driven desperation in those who thirst to find the water of life. Even though the path to this spring is often filled with twists and turns and pitfalls, sovereign love is strong.
That was certainly the case with Yassin, a man in Morocco who was thirsting for something—or Someone—outside of the only religion he had ever known, Islam. In his search, Yassin pirated a copy of the Hollywood film Son of God to try to learn who Jesus was. That led him to the Roman Catholic church in his city, but he never got past the door because the guards ran him off. A person leaving Islam isn’t something to be encouraged because it could mean trouble.
And so, this thirsty man went on searching until he stumbled onto a Christian radio broadcast, where he got patient, biblical answers to his questions. He then found a church. He wasn’t cast out—instead, he was welcomed and spent many hours with a pastor, who is himself a trophy of grace from Islam. Together, they examined the Scriptures and the claims of Christ on this wanderer’s life. At last, Yassin tasted for the first time the cold, refreshing, life-giving good news of the gospel and believed.
When someone in Morocco comes out of the prison house of Islam, where the darkness is deep and the bars are strong and the cost of escaping is great, it can only be a work of God. Like the Samaritan woman, this Moroccan man also was brought to a well where he drank deeply and was satisfied, for Jesus said: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
So rejoice and join in the joy in heaven over Yassin, our newborn brother, and for all those who are being gathered from across all nations. For God’s life-giving invitation continues to reach the ends of the earth: “Come, everyone who thirsts” (Isa. 55:1).