The thirst trap
Dr. Asha Fields Brewer
Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4:13 (ESV), “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again…”
Water can be lost via the kidneys (urine), gastrointestinal tract (feces), lungs (respiration), and the skin (perspiration). Water is valued so much in the body, that we have an alarm built in to alert us when we are getting low. This alarm is called “thirst.” According to Wardlaw’s 6th edition of Perspectives in Nutrition, once you perceive thirst in your body, you have already lost 1 to 2 percent of your body weight in fluids, and it is time to replenish.
Let’s do some water math to determine our point of thirst. Using the aforementioned percentage for someone who is 150 pounds, losing about 1.5 to three pounds of water would make this person thirst. For context, you can lose up to three pounds of water on a three-hour flight. However, would you consciously think that in the absence of sweat or even a restroom break that that much water was escaping from your body during such a short time frame?
That’s why it is important to replenish fluids in our body with pure, living water. But oftentimes, especially in the summer, we fall into the thirst trap. When we experience the sensation of thirst, we go for the flavorful lemonades, iced teas, flavored waters, and sodas. These beverages don’t have the hydrating properties of pure water. In fact, these beverages can dehydrate us even more.
The reason water is the best choice when we are thirsty is because of its natural restoration and healing properties. Trillions of cells in our bodies depend on water to participate in a process called osmosis. Osmosis is how tiny particles in the body are balanced inside of and around the cells. Maintaining this sensitive balance is what keeps 100 trillion cells alive. If we are not taking in the appropriate amount of water every day, we put all 100 trillion cells at risk. This also means we put all the jobs these cells are responsible for at risk, which includes every single life-sustaining function you can think of. Ultimately, to not engage in the most basic form of self-care—drinking an adequate amount of water every day—is to put our lives at risk.
That’s not to say that we can never drink other beverages again. What is most important is that we don’t rely on these other beverages when we are thirsty. Even Psalm 42:1 says that the deer pants for the water—not juice or tea, but water. Thirst is a sign that we are deficient in fluid, and to restore the balance, we need more water.
When we are thirsty, we must allow God to guide us beside the still water that is indeed still water (Psalm 23:2). We must not be swayed by the often more attractive teas, coffees, sodas, juices, sports drinks, carbonated waters, or a mixture of flavored powders and water, in place of that which is truly still water. To avoid the thirst trap, we should rely on water and all its natural properties to quench our thirst and sustain our lives.
Dr. Asha Fields Brewer is a creator of healthy conversations. As a national speaker and published author, she teaches the busy and overwhelmed how to live life abundantly. She is the owner of Temple Fit Co. wellness agency, which is home to 25-plus wellness speakers and fitness instructors. Tune in to “Temple Fit Devotions with Dr. Asha” on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. on Hallelujah 95.3 FM.