Have you ever seen a mirage? A genuine mirage, shimmering in the distance, promising a cool oasis from the brutal summer sun? How disappointing it must have been for the ancient desert travelers on their trade routes to find the expectation of relief was, in fact, just a trick of the eyes. A fantasy gone horribly wrong. I would imagine it probably led to the literal deaths of many who relied on the lie of implied respite. After all, one who is thirsting to death doesn’t always think logically.
Even today, we can sometimes find ourselves being deceived by different types of mirages. With the lure of things that look so real and tempting but that also end up being just a trick of the eyes. Things that grab our attention and imagination but once attained, do little to satisfy the deep thirst inside of us.
For instance, walk slowly through your local mall and take the time to really look around you. Pause at the window displays, so beautifully designed to catch the eye. The wares for sale promise so much. The implication that shouts loudly through the advertisements is that you will be changed into a person of physical beauty and social acceptance if you would only purchase their products.
If you study the surroundings carefully, the degree of Madison Avenue deception is downright insulting. They are hoping to hypnotize us into thinking to ourselves, “Oh, if I could only buy those $180.00 jeans, I would be SO cool!” “If I could only get that brand of make-up, I’ll look exactly like the model in the picture.” “That perfume will help me attract that special someone, and I won’t be alone anymore.” And so on…
There are a plethora of mirages satan throws in our path to distract us from our mission of telling others the good news of the gospel of Christ and of living joyful lives while we’re walking this earth. Not only things we could buy, but trips we could take. Another person besides our spouse who truly “understands” us. The latest sports or luxury car that would make a statement of our success to our neighbors and family. A bigger, better house with all the accruements popular today. Perhaps even a new baby for the family to show off.
These things in and of themselves are fine. But when we look to the horizon, licking our lips in spiritual thirst, they can shimmer and beckon us giving us the expectation that once attained, all will be well with our lives and we’ll finally be “happy.”
Isn’t it ironic how we sometimes continue to strain to attain “stuff”, even when we know deep inside it’s not what we’re really looking for? Let’s make a pact to stop this silly race for more material things. Let’s look to the one who can truly satisfy the longing in our souls, Jesus Christ, like the woman at the well whose life was a mess but was changed forever by a gentle encounter with her Creator.
He made you and me and knows and loves us so intimately. He alone can take us into his perfect embrace and give us all that we truly thirst for. Our quest and clawing to get more, more, more will be soothed away and those earthly things just won’t matter much anymore. Like that sweet, old hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”