Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Below is the true story that I shared in the Sunday Night Live Service last night. Several people have asked me to share it. It is an awesome illustration of God’s love for us.


“Mommy, I’m so thirsty. I want a drink.”

Susanna Petroysan heard her daughter’s pleas, but there was nothing she could do.

She and four-year-old Gayaney were trapped beneath tons of collapsed concrete and

steel. Beside them in the darkness lay the body of Susanna’s sister-in-law, Karine, one of the fifty-five thousand victims of the worst earthquake in the history of Soviet Armenia.

Susanna had gone to Karine’s house to try on a dress. It was December 7, 1988,at 11:30 a.m. The quake hit at 11:41. She had just removed the dress and was clad in stockings and a slip when the fifth-floor apartment began to shake. Susanna grabbed her daughter but had taken only a few steps before the floor opened up and they tumbled in.

Susanna, Gayaney, and Karine fell into the basement with the nine-story apartment house crumbling around them.

“Mommy, I need a drink. Please give me something.”

There was nothing for Susanna to give.

She was trapped flat on her back. A concrete panel eighteen inches above herhead and a crumpled water pipe above her shoulders kept her from standing.

Feeling around in the darkness, she found a twenty-four ounce jar of blackberry jam that had fallen into the basement. She gave the entire jar to her daughter to eat. It was gone by the second day.

“Mommy, I’m so thirsty.”

Susanna knew she would die, but she wanted her daughter to live. She found adress, perhaps the one she had come to try on, and made a bed for Gayaney. Though it was bitter cold, she took off her stockings and wrapped them around the child to keep her warm.

The two were trapped for eight days. Because of the darkness, Susanna lost track of time. Because of the cold, she lost

the feeling in her fingers and toes. Because of her inability to move, she lost hope. “Iwas just waiting for death.”

She began to hallucinate. Her thoughts wandered. A merciful sleep occasionally freed her from the horror of her entombment, but the sleep would be brief. Something always awakened her: the cold, the hunger, or most often, the voice of her daughter.

“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”

At some point in that eternal night, Susanna had an idea. She remembered atelevision program about an explorer in the Arctic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave his friend his blood.

“I had no water, no fruit juice, no liquids. It was then I remembered I had myown blood.”

Her groping finger, numb from the cold, found a piece of shattered glass. Shesliced open her left index finger and give it to her daughter to suck. The drops of blood weren’t enough. “Please, Mommy, some more. Cut anotherfinger.” Susanna has no idea how many times she cut herself. She only knows that if she hadn’t, Gayaney would have died. Her blood was her daughter’s only hope.

Just like this story, it is Jesus blood that gives us life.

Beneath the rubble of a fallen world, he pierced his hands. In the wreckage of a collapsed humanity, he ripped open his side. His children were trapped, so he gave his blood.

“If anyone is thirsty,” Jesus once said, “Let him come to me and drink.”

So the thirsty come. A ragged lot we are, bound together by broken dreams and collapsed promises. Fortunes that were never made. Families that were never built. Promises that were never kept. Wide-eyed children trapped in the basement of our own failures.

And we are very thirsty.

Not thirsty for fame, possessions, passion, or romance. We’ve drunk from those pools. They are salt water in the desert. They don’t quench – they kill.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . .”

Matthew 5:6

Righteousness. That’s it. That’s what we are thirsty for. We’re thirsty for aclean conscience. We crave a clean slate. We yearn for a fresh start. We pray for a hand which will enter the dark cavern of our world and do for us the one thing we can’t do for ourselves – make us right again.

“Mommy, I’m so thirsty,” Gayaney begged.

“It was then I remembered I had my own blood,” Susanna explained.

And the hand was cut, and the blood was poured, and the child was saved.

“God, I’m so thirsty,” we pray.

“It is my blood, the blood of the new agreement,” Jesus stated, “shed to set many free from their sins.”

One comment on “Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

  1. July 2, 2009 Kallie

    Yeah, I’m just getting around to reading this (remember you told me to Mon.?) Well I was obviously the one that missed out by not coming Sunday? But you already knew that…


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