Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

What It's Like to Nearly Die of Thirst

Kenneth E. Bailey, who spent 40 years living and teaching New Testament in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus, writes:

While living in the south of Egypt, a group of friends and I traveled deep into the Sahara Desert by camel. As our trek began, the temperature soared to above 110° Fahrenheit in the shade, and there was no shade. On our way, one goat-skin water bag leaked all of its precious contents. With consumption high due to the heat, we ran out of water, and for a day and a half we pressed on while enduring intense thirst.

The goal of the excursion was a famous well named Bir Shaytoun, deep in the desert. Our guide promised us that it was never dry — ah, but could we survive to reach its life-giving liquid silver? My mouth became completely dry, and eating was impossible, because swallowing felt like the rubbing of two pieces of sandpaper together. My vision became blurred, and the struggle to keep moving became harder with each step. We knew that if the well was dry, our armed guards would probably have forcibly seized our three baggage camels, and ridden them back to the valley, leaving the rest of us to die.

As I staggered on, my mind turned to this verse ["Blessed are those who … thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled"]. I knew that I had never sought righteousness with the same single-minded passion that I now gave to the quest for water.

Editor’s Note: The group did manage to stagger to the well, and it was full of “the wine of God,” as water is named by desert tribesmen in the Middle East.


Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, (IVP Academic, 2008) pp. 76-77

Related Sermon Illustrations

NASA Sent a Message of Human Longing into Space

In 1977 NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to explore the galaxy. A golden record called The Sounds of Earth was affixed to each of the twin spacecrafts—a message from earth ...

[Read More]

Determined Boy Climbs into Claw Machine to get Toy

A little boy only identified as Mason was focused on a new toy in a claw vending machine at a local Beef O'Brady's restaurant. But it was out of reach, behind the glass of the vending ...

[Read More]