Have you ever been really hungry - so hungry that you felt sick or faint? Has your tongue ever been so parched for thirst that all you could think about was water? Hunger and thirst lead us to seek nourishment. And the hungrier and thirstier we are, the more diligently, determinedly we will seek relief. Jesus used those terms, hunger and thirst, to refer to how we should feel toward knowing Him. He said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
To hunger and thirst means our bodies or our souls are seeking something. We are not content with the way things are. And that's a good thing, because if we are never discontented with our state of hunger and thirst, we will never be filled.
Of course, Jesus was speaking on spiritual terms. The hunger and thirst were of the soul, not the body. God spoke to Israel in similar terms in Deuteronomy 4:29 of how they would feel when they were living in captivity, "But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul."
Such seeking is a diligent, determined, desperate seeking - the kind that intends to find - that longs to find. But unfortunately, none of us are not spiritually hungry or thirsty enough to seek Him whole-heartedly, to the depths of our souls. Not without help.
Which is why it takes God himself to stir our discontentment - to make us aware of our hunger and thirst in the first place. Like the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness, who survived on the bread dropped form heaven each day or perished, so we too, are born into a spiritual wilderness where only spiritual food can sustain us.
"...whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe."
Unfortunately, for the religious leaders of Jesus' day, they were perfectly contented with the way things were. They loved sitting in places of honor and having authority over the Jewish people. The did not like the way Jesus stirred up the people to be discontented with their religious system or with the state of their own sin. He preached repentance and faith, and they despised Him. He entreated them to come to Him, to seek Him, to hunger and thirst for His righteousness, not their own. And they diligently, determined to kill Him.
They would have been better off being perfectly discontented with themselves, for it is in our discontent that we will seek to change. It is in our hunger we will seek food. And in our thirst, drink.
Or as Jeremiah put it: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
May we be perfectly discontented with our own sins and failures to do the same.