Contemporary English Version (CEV)
I've been thirsty before, but we're talking mowing-the-lawn-on-a-hot-day thirsty, not walking-across-a-hot-desert-with-no-water thirsty, which is in an entirely different league. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be stranded somewhere with no hope of finding any satisfaction for your parched throat, only the merciless sun beating down, taunting your condition.
And yet, that's how we would be without Christ. We would be slaves to sin with no hope of relief, no promise of deliverance from the ravages of sin and death. We would be in bondage with no thought of freedom, parched with no dream or hope of salvation. Without Christ, we would wander through a sin-drenched wilderness and never find relief from the suffering.
With Christ, however, two things happen. One is that we realize the full weight of our sin. The illusion of sufficiency is dropped and we recognize the state of despair in which we live. We realize that sin taints our every effort, it lives in every relationship, it twists our thoughts and our hearts. But the second thing is even more amazing -- that our thirst for hope and goodness and love and joy is not unquenchable, but we can drink from the purest, highest, most wondrous source ever, the author and perfecter of life itself. In Christ, we go from despair to joy, and we are invited into an eternal journey of love due to his willingness to pay the price of our sin, to absorb all of our thirsty wandering, so that we may drink of his love forever.