Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6
I am putting together ninth grade lesson plans for Steinbeck’s The Pearl, and what was done in the past is a little sketchy. I am one of those spell-it-all-out sort of planning teachers, and pretty much have inherited one or two word bullet points for curriculum, one of which is “compare to The pearl of great price parable.” Which gives me lots of opportunity to mull things through and make it my own.
So I am working through breaking down, scaffolding for us teacher-types, what does it mean to “hunger and thirst” for something. Really hunger and thirst. Above all else. Willing to sell all that he had to obtain it hungry and thirsty. Because in Steinbeck’s book this unexpected pearl that is found not only takes possession of Kino’s plans and dreams, it becomes his very soul.
This pearl has become my soul... If I give it up, I shall lose my soul. -Kino
Hungry and thirsty. All that matters.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Well, it certainly doesn’t work, seeking blessed happiness elsewhere. Life is just one long stream of moments that do not satisfy. That evaporate in the morning sun, leaving not a trace. And lots of uneasy moments that tie my stomach up in knots and take away my appetite for what is good.
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
Believe. That is the question. Do I really believe? Is He my only option, or do I drag my foot along looking for another shelf to stand on? Is He my only hunger and thirst? He who became sin so that I might become the righteousness of God? Can I join Simon Peter in his confession: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
If I give You up, I shall lose my soul.
Oh, to be satisfied. A belly full of fat goodness and an overflowing stream of living water.