All of us have experienced the natural instinct of physical thirst. Physical thirst can, therefore, be an effective starting point for a fruitful catechetical meditation on our desire for God and the fundamental disposition of the soul needed to seek him.
Throughout salvation history, we see numerous examples of thirst. After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they became so thirsty in the desert that they grumbled against their liberator (Ex 17:3). Samson also cried out to the Lord in his thirst (Jdg 15:8). In both of these circumstances, God himself satisfies them. The Psalmist recognized this as he prayed, “O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water” (Ps 63:2). Another Psalm compares the longing of the soul for God to a “deer that longs for streams of water” and desires to “enter and see the face of God” (Ps 42:1). Through the prophet Isaiah, God invites “all who are thirsty” to “come to the water” (Is 55:1) and he assures the Israelites that they will “draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation” (Is 12:3). These examples of thirst give us a sense of the longing of the people for something more, something that will ultimately satisfy.