I remember waking up with my head in my Astronomy book, realizing that I had literally fallen asleep mid-sentence. My heart panged, jolting me up--I was shocked at myself. I had fallen asleep in the middle of studying in my college library! I looked over my shoulder. How long had I been sleeping? Had anyone seen me? I rummaged through my backpack to make sure that my keys and wallet were still there.
I am not one comfortable with sleeping in public spaces, particularly when I am by myself. But a steady stream of long days and nights on campus filled with classes, reading, writing, projects, and rehearsals had me weary. And my weariness had me not acting like myself.
Over the next several months, my schedule continued to make me so worn that not only did I grow to not have an aversion to falling asleep alone in public, I actually started to look forward to it. I began to love to set up shop in my favorite cubicle or study room, spreading out my books, class notes, and to do lists, allowing myself to be lulled to sleep and awakened by the sweet smell of the dewy ink and paper of a textbook. I was weary, a walking shell of myself. Depleted. And I was more than happy to accept the respite offered up by the library study rooms.
I have known several forms of weariness throughout my life. I’ve found that all forms of weariness, whether they stem from physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual depletions, leave me feeling zapped, like life has been sucked out of me. Aside from the weariness I experienced in college due to a long-term rigorous schedule and little sleep, weariness has also come upon me in an instant—like when a friend betrayed me, and the air vanished out of my sails. Weariness has also come in times of grief and loss, or when sickness has taken over me (or a loved one). I’ve grown weary of this old world and its ways. Weary with work. Weary from the road. Weary bones. Weary mind. Weary of waiting. Weary from the sting of rejection. Weary, weary, weary. And I am not alone. Weariness, I have noticed, is common to humanity.
Even Jesus, our sweet Savior, was a man well acquainted with weariness. In John chapter 7, we find Him in the midst of several weariness-inducing situations. First off, we learn that Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him (see 7:1-5). Wow. I know that when one of my relatives rejects or betrays or mocks me, it stings and sucks the life out of me in an instant; I can only imagine the scale of the impact this disbelief had on Jesus.
This chapter of the book of John also finds Jesus subject to the religious leaders’ constant doubting of Him, hostility towards Him, and attempts to seize Him. This oppression grew particularly harsh over the course of the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Yet right in the middle of His own personal sorrows and potential weariness, Jesus does not succumb to the weariness nor look for a way to avoid it. He does not abandon the sources of His weariness in search of respite for Himself. He continues going back to the people. And on the last day of the festival, Jesus stands up in the temple courts and shouts to the crowds (what an image!), “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart’” (John 7:37-38, NLT).
Jesus is tenaciously pleading for people to come to Him, to believe in Him as their Savior. He is literally shouting and crying out in a loud voice in the midst of a crowd hostile to Him. He is begging the weary to come home. Jesus offers mercy and hope for the weary—a lasting hope, not just for one moment, but eternal hope, living water, the Holy Spirit flowing and filling within, reviving the weary human with a whole new life source. Jesus reminds us here that believing in Him brings instant and continual revival, because it brings the Holy Spirit inside of the believer. The Living Bible translates it this way (John 7:37-38): “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” Eugene Peterson paraphrases the latter part as “rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way…” (John 7:37-39, MSG).
Those of us who believe in Jesus, let us heed His call and not forget what flows inside us. Let us not ignore, deny, nor quell the Spirit within us. Let’s drink of our living water. Partake. Do the thing. Live the life. Walk in our hope. This Scripture makes me want to ask myself the next time I succumb to a bout of weariness, “Am I a man or a Muppet? Am I a Spirit-filled person or not?”
In a dry and weary land, we who believe in Jesus do not have to wander around and wither away as though we were one without water, without a source of revival and rejuvenation. When we rummage through our backpack, we find a handwritten note. “Hello, my love. Reminder! I packed you some water. Don’t forget to drink!:)”
“Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Come home, come home
Ye who are weary, come home
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling
Calling, O sinner, come home!”
--From “Softly and Tenderly” by Will L. Thompson, 1880
Destiny Teasley lives in Nevada, where she is a lover of the arts, pop culture, and travel (you'll often find her daydreaming about being in Israel or Disneyland). She delights in encountering beauty in the world and helping others to see and celebrate it for themselves. Destiny studied at Baylor, UNLV, Oxford, and Dallas Theological Seminary. You can find more of her writing at her blog,whentherockscryout.com .