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Sacred Thirst

Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jan 30, Eric rated it really liked it. Using the framework of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan Women at the well, Barnes seeks to address the spiritual yearning and thirst that is found in most every human life at one point or another. He accurately assesses the strains on the human spirit in our modern society and clearly helps us to notice our areas of spiritual disconnect.

Then, in a very positive way as compared to more Evangelical writers , he speaks of the movement and power of the Holy Spirit to help us reconnect with, and Using the framework of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan Women at the well, Barnes seeks to address the spiritual yearning and thirst that is found in most every human life at one point or another. Then, in a very positive way as compared to more Evangelical writers , he speaks of the movement and power of the Holy Spirit to help us reconnect with, and to rediscover our love for, God. This is not a book of 'answers. Vintage Barnes.

An very good read. Oct 08, Dawn Stark rated it it was amazing Shelves: faith. I am a thirsty Christian currently wandering through the desert looking for living water. I found myself on nearly every page. This book articulated so perfectly the quiet and lonely cries of my soul. Thank you Rev. Barnes for tackling this tough subject in the goal-focused, perfectionist-driven world that we live.

It's not that you gave me answers, as much as you gave me the assurance that the solitary point of the journey also has a purpose. Dec 17, Gary B rated it liked it Shelves: read I enjoyed parts of this book and found some of it helpful. There were other sections where I think I got lost in some of the more ephemeral talk of the author.

The basic premise of the book as I see it is that we are all thirsty with a God-given thirst. That thirst can and will only be satisfied in God by the Holy Spirit. No amount of prayer, fellowship, friendship, church or bible reading will directly satisfy the thirst though some of those things can point us to where our thirst can be quenc I enjoyed parts of this book and found some of it helpful. No amount of prayer, fellowship, friendship, church or bible reading will directly satisfy the thirst though some of those things can point us to where our thirst can be quenched, and others should nurture or intensify that thirst.

Overall I'm not sure I wanted to engage with the author at every point. Some ideas he raised were new to me and true, whereas other aspects seemed to get lost in a sea of words. Feb 18, Dana Gisser rated it liked it Shelves: christian. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Craig Barnes. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

Return to Book Page. Preview — Sacred Thirst by M. Jesus once said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. We throw ourselves into church work, Bible studies, prayer, missions, fellowship. Yet still we search restlessly for something more.

What are we missing? Perhaps the answer is, more of Jesus. Church meetings and programs, ministry, Christian couns Jesus once said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. Church meetings and programs, ministry, Christian counseling, and home groups are all good, but they are not him. It doesn't matter how devoted we are to these wonderful activities; they are not the same thing as communion with Jesus.

Our souls crave him alone. In Sacred Thirst, author and pastor Craig Barnes brings us face-to-face with our desperate longing for God. Like the woman at the well, we have tried to satisfy our parched souls with so many other things—even religious things. But when we get to the bottom of our desire, we find Jesus quietly waiting with his living water—intimatecommunion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This book is filled with unique insights into human experience and the character of God. With his keen understanding of the needs of contemporary Christians, Barnes points to the only way our thirst will ever be satisfied.

Drawing from his rich background in the Bible and his tender insights as a pastor, he leads us into a new understanding ofourselves and the uncontrollable but gracious God we seek. Get A Copy.

Published January 9th by Zondervan first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Sacred Thirst , please sign up. Lists with This Book. As these views of psychological needs moved into the fabric of Western culture, many Christians were immediately attracted to them. They seemed to map out life; and, especially with Freud and Maslow, they seemed to offer a deeper explanation for these experiences than did the Scripture itself.

For example, the suffering wife who felt like she needed love now had her sense of need legitimized and explained. She felt the need for love because that was one of the deepest needs with which God created her. We are designed, she now understood, to need love. Furthermore, if we have not received it from significant persons, then we will be in a deficit and must get that love from somewhere else. Any reactive sin and misery result from living in a deficit state from unmet needs.

Popular writers in the Christian recovery movement have assumed these needs and helped establish them as an interpretive guide for many. For example, Sandra Wilson, in her book, Released from Shame , simply states what many people feel: past hurts reveal our psychological needs. As a child, Sarah was emotionally abandoned by both parents, and she learned to disown her legitimate needs for companionship, encouragement, and comfort The problem is that fearing and denying our natural human needs and feelings prevents us from being fully the way God created us.

So how can we be more real, more fully human? We begin to own and experience those painful unmet needs and the emotions that accompany them. This vignette suggests that Sarah was sinned against by her family and that these hurts do not leave quickly. But did God create us with certain psychological needs for companionship, encouragement and comfort?


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It feels as if God created us this way. In fact, it feels that way so much, we probably would not even raise the question if it hadn't been that these critical needs were "discovered" by psychologists who knew nothing about God's Word. Why does it seem that Scripture is relatively silent on these critical features of the human condition? The catastrophes that bring about emotional vulnerability usually shake our sense of security and significance.

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Psychologist Larry Crabb proposes that these are our two greatest emotional needs. They can be just as strong as our biological needs to eat and sleep. The influential Minirth and Meier Clinics agree that there are biblically-supportable, biologically-rooted psychological or relationship needs. Love is a Choice unequivocally states that we have a "God-given need to be loved that is born into every human infant. It is a legitimate need that must be met from cradle to grave.

If children are deprived of love--if that primal need for love is not met--they carry the scars for life. The person, the authors state, is actually a cup that is in various stages of fullness.

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Deep inside are love cups that need to be filled. We are cups that feel empty. The Christian community walks right in step with the secular theorists up to this point; but then it adds a significant twist to the secular, Maslovian view of needs. The popular evangelical view, like the secular view, is that problems arise out of unmet relational needs.

However, the way these needs are satisfied is uniquely evangelical. Instead of looking for relational needs to be met solely in another relationship or some type of autonomous self-love, Christian theorists suggest that we can have these needs met in Christ. Christ offers unconditional love and a sense of personal significance; Christ meets our need for companionship, encouragement, and comfort.

At first this has a distinctly biblical ring to it. Christ is a friend; God is a loving Father; Christians do experience a sense of meaningfulness and trust in knowing God's love. It makes Christ the answer to our problems. Yet since these needs remain unsupported biblically, we should pause to consider whether there may be a different biblical interpretation for the experience of emptiness. The experience is real, but embedding it in constitutional, psychological needs may be wrong.

Notice, for example, some of the fruit of this psychological-evangelical model. It essentially creates two different gospels: one for spiritual needs and one for psychological needs.


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  • The good news for spiritual needs is that our sins are forgiven, we are adopted as children of God through faith, and we are given eternal life. The good news for psychological needs is that Christ fills us with identity, significance, personal respect, and self-worth. He makes us feel good about ourselves. But is that really the gospel? Doesn't the gospel, in a very real sense, obliterate our preoccupation with ourselves, equipping us to be preoccupied with loving God and others? Is it possible that looking for self-worth or significance is a fundamentally misguided goal?

    Should we be asking other questions such as, "Why am I so interested in me? Before developing this further, there is one more stage in the history of need theories that brings us to the present. Currently, this popular and widely assumed view of the person is being questioned seriously in secular circles.

    The concern is that an absorption with neediness and emptiness is "unhealthy" both individually and culturally. For example, the popular press has criticized need theories as the theoretical justification for our culture's rampant selfism and chronic victimhood.

    Many have observed that if we are truly in the shape of a cup, then we are passive recipients rather that active interpreters and responsible actors in our world. The blame never rests with ourselves because all pathology is a result of deficits forged in past relationships. At least, suggests the media, this creates chaos in the justice system. The academic press is also challenging the adoption of the empty cup as the definition for the modern person. In a significant article in the American Psychologist , Philip Cushman argued that the empty self is a dangerous product of a culture that wants to be filled, both psychically and materially.

    Both attempt to create a sense of need in order to sell products. Furthermore, the psychological selling of needs has led to a generation of empty, fragile, depressed individuals. This brief historical overview of the development of need theories suggests that these theories arise more out of an amenable culture than a God-given predisposition. They can comfortably exist only in a culture that is oriented to the individual more than the group, victimhood more than responsibility, and consuming more than producing. If this is true, the task still must be to biblically explain the experience of needs, but there is no urgency to locate them in God's creative act.

    They are not necessarily inherent to humanness. While there have been Christian critiques of the category of psychological needs, [9] within the Christian community the psychological needs construct has been resilient. One reason for this persistence is that most people feel this sense of need, and it is hard to argue with what people feel.

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    Another reason is that many Christians believe that a need theory has already been biblically established. It has not been established by finding "psychological needs" in a Bible concordance or theological text. But they believe that these needs reside in one of two prominent biblical categories: the person-as-created-in-the-image-of-God and the person-as-body-soul-spirit. The Person as Three Substances.

    The tripartite view of the person was the first biblical category asked to carry the freight of psychological needs. In essence, this view states that the whole person consists of three parts or substances: the body, soul, and spirit. The popular thought is that the physical body has physical needs, the soul has psychological needs, and the spirit has spiritual needs. Accordingly, the person with physical needs goes to a physician, the person with psychological needs goes to a psychologist, and the person with spiritual needs goes to a pastor.

    These three categories offer a hand-in-glove fit with the popular definitions of "needs. This basic formula, however, as simple and biblical as it appears, is actually full of problematic implications. It has essentially given secular psychology permission to give shape to one-third of the person. As medicine has contributed many details to the category of the body, so secular psychology can now contribute to or completely flesh out our understanding of the soul.

    Furthermore, there need by only cursory biblical analysis of this data because it has already been done "up front" by naming the category as "soul. The Image of God in Man. The other category used as the biblical background for psychological needs is the image of God in man. This is the core doctrine for understanding the person. If psychological needs cannot be found here, then they are not God-given, created needs. The biblical theorist who has made the clearest and most explicit connection between our sense of psychological need and being created in the image of God is Larry Crabb.

    He is keenly aware that the experience of need, if it is to be considered as the essence of personhood, must be embedded in a biblical understanding of the image of God in man. Articulated most clearly in his books, Understanding People and Inside Out , [10] Crabb indicates that the image of God in man has to do with what is similar between God and man.

    What is similar, Crabb suggests, is that God is a person and we too are persons. To be a person means that we have deep longings for relationship: "We all long for what God designed us to enjoy: tension-free relationships filled with deep, loving acceptance and with opportunities to make a difference to someone else. Deep longings, in Crabb's model, are the defining essence of both God and ourselves. These longings are defined as a subjective experience that is deeper than emotion.

    It is a passion for relationship. It also means that God has a "longing for restoration of relationship with His children. It means that "each of us fervently wants someone to see us exactly as we are, warts and all, and still accept us. To this longing for love and acceptance Crabb adds a second basic need. We also long to make a difference in the world. We have, according to Larry Crabb, a "thirst for impact. Lacking an exegetical referent, this particular aspect of the image of God in man tends to be less apparent in Crabb's later theoretical work, and longing for relationship is the sole survivor.

    Therefore, a summary of the image of God in man is that persons are made for relationship, and they long for it. Without this longing fulfilled we are empty cups. These core longings are the ultimate explanation for human feelings and behavior. Everything comes out of this central essence. How will I deal with my longings? According to Crabb we answer this question in one of two ways. People either act independently of God and look to fill themselves with other objects or people, or people look to Christ in dependence and find relationship longings met in Him see Figure 2.

    This is the basic model of the image of God in man that Understanding People teaches, and it provides the theoretical structure for Crabb's counseling model. It is also the theology that undergirds much of what is happening in Christian counseling. When this model is evaluated by our experience, it can seem to fit perfectly. Like other influential models, this model tends to "work. For example, this model has made a dramatic statement about our deepest problem: it is longings, not sin. Followed consistently, the model would then suggest that the gospel is, most deeply, intended to meet psychological needs more than cleanse from sin.

    The "hollow core" of longings becomes our basic problem. Taken to its logical conclusion, Christ becomes first a need meeter for our deepest need then secondarily an exalted redeemer for the way we react to our deepest need. Human relationships are also affected by this theoretical foundation. For example, marriage and relationships become mutual need-meeting. Of course, Crabb indicates that people are not capable in themselves of filling what only God can fill, so the sole responsibility of filling longings does not reside with ourselves.

    Yet the basic structure for marriage is that it consists of two psychologically needy people whose mutual need-meeting is an expression of God's more perfect need-meeting. This certainly seems to fit the experience of marriage, and it also seems to square with Scripture's view of love.

    People are commanded to love because we need love. Is it possible, however, that we are called to love not so much because the other person is empty and needs love but because love is the way in which we imitate Christ, reveal Him in the way we live our lives, and bring glory to God? Is it also possible that the center of gravity for need-based relationships is myself, and not God, as it should be if we take seriously our identity as bearers of God's image? Beneath the commitment to love the other person, and beneath the thankfulness that God is meeting needs in Christ, is a core of desperate longings that focus primarily on me.

    The natural resting point of need theories is my need , not the perfections of God, whose image I was created to reflect. The difference may be very subtle, but need theories rest on the individual person rather than God. This certainly does not mean that Crabb and other Christian need theorists are not interested in the glory of God. But it does mean that these theories, because of weaknesses in their understanding of the image of God in man, may make it a slow process for the Christian to focus on it.

    The theory of image-as-relationship has very little exegetical support. Neither Understanding People nor any other evangelical discussion of this version of the image of God in man can establish a clear biblical foundation for itself. Instead, as even Crabb himself admits, this most critical theological category is developed from inferences in Scripture.

    On the subject of what we long for, Crabb states, "the Scriptures, however, seem quiet on the subject. In contrast to a trisected view of the person [16] and a need-based understanding of the image of God in man, there are alternatives that seem to rest on a firmer exegetical foundation. The Person as a Duality. The tripartite view exists because there are different shades of meaning for spirit and soul. Like most words, these two have fuzzy boundaries. They are not technical words such as "electron;" but they are more like the word "need," deriving much of their meaning from their context.

    The question, however, is whether these shades of meaning are sufficient to suggest that they are two distinct created substances. Or, are spirit and soul like "heart," "mind," "conscience" slightly different perspectives on the immaterial inner person II Corinthians ? A number of passages suggest that the person is best understood as two substances--material and immaterial--"which belong together although they possess the capability of separation.

    For example, Matthew suggests that the person is two substances, material body and immaterial soul: "Don't be afraid of him who can kill the body [material substance] but cannot kill the soul [immaterial substance]. James is consistent with this duality and refers to it using body and spirit: "the body without the spirit is dead. The two passages most frequently cited for the trichotomist view are Hebrews and I Thessalonians Hebrews states, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    That is the Word of God can separate soul from spirit; therefore, they are two separate substances that are part of the whole person. However, if the intent of the passage is to speak technically about the parts of the person, then there are at least four substances that comprise the whole person: the soul, spirit, body, and heart; and the heart would be further divided into thoughts and intents. It is more likely that the passage suggests that God's Word penetrates the indivisible aspect of the person.

    It goes to the very depths of the person's being. It goes within the substance of the person, not between , slicing it up into neat pieces. The fact that the inner person is referred to as soul, spirit, and heart is a common poetic means of emphasizing that the whole person is involved. For example, Mark indicates that we are to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. It is a dramatic way of emphasizing that loving God is a response of the entire person. Perhaps the most the Bible can say about the distinction between soul and spirit is that "soul" emphasizes the person in a weak, earthly existence, and "spirit" highlights that our life is derived from God.

    Neither term suggests that we have morally neutral, psychological needs. Instead, they are overlapping words that refer to the inner person, the immaterial aspect of humanness, or the person-who-lives-before-the Holy God. A Biblical understanding of the doctrine of the image of God in man should also lead naturally to seeing that people are, at their very root, people-who-live- before -God and people-who-are-to-live- for -God.

    To establish this on a firmer exegetical basis, consider the critical questions posed by Crabb: "Who is God? Only after a right understanding of God can we begin to ask, "Who is the person? Who is God and What is His Passion? God and His kingdom are, simply put, about God. The Father is ravished with the Son. The Son is ecstatic about the Father and wants nothing but the Father's will. God's greatest pleasure is Himself.

    God's goal is His own glory, and God's glory is God Himself. He wants and intends to magnify His great name. To Him be glory forever" Romans Notice already a difference between this and image-as-longing need psychology. In need psychology the natural way to praise God is for what He has done for me. However, in God's self-revelation, even though God deserves humble thankfulness because of what He has done for me, God deserves praise simply because He is God. The natural, "deepest" resting point for our thoughts is not our own deep longings but the immeasurably great "God of glory" Acts Rightly seen and understood, this glory is all-consuming.

    The Israelites did not break out into song because of met longings; they exalted God simply because He is exalted Exodus : "Who among gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you--majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Look for a moment at this glory. It is utterly overwhelming. See it in His greatness over all the greatest and most powerful kings of the earth. See it in His wondrous signs to Pharaoh and His control over even the sanity of Nebuchadnezzar. His throne is above them. Isaiah fell down as dead before this great glory Isaiah 6.

    And the visions of His glory recorded by Ezekiel Ezekiel 1 and the Apostle John Revelation 4 are astonishing almost beyond description. Whenever God appears to His people, He is glorious.