“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”

A friend in our community group read this passage from Isaiah 55 to us as we celebrated communion together. It struck her as appropriate for the Christmas season.

B and I try to live simply. We don’t own a TV. I don’t buy popular clothes or toys for my girls. I buy most of their clothes consigment and try to only have a minimum of natural, open-ended toys. We use cloth diapers. I breastfeed and sling my babies. We don’t buy Gerber baby food. We recycle and compost and try to grow some food in our garden.

And yet, I still get sucked into materialism. The cutest, trimmest, softest, most absorbant, most natural cloth diapers (yes, there’s a whole subculture out there). The coolest European toys. Another outfit courtesy of Hanna Andersson (I just love those clothes). The best in children’s literature. More often than not, I spend naptime, the brief time of the day that I might have a little time to myself, surfing the web for these things. I haven’t rejected the mainstream consumerist culture, I just consume non-mainstream stuff.

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”

I think I’m afraid to be thirsty. It’s so easy in America to clutter our lives with enough distractions that we never have to feel the ache in our souls. But when I don’t feel thirsty, I don’t drink. When I’m not still enough to feel the longing of my soul, I can’t hear the Lover of my soul calling my name.

“Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”

“Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (Jn 6:27)
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4:13-14)