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Hymn Series

Posted on March 28, 2021  - By Tom Horvat

Hymns have provided God’s saints with centuries of encouragement, conviction and theological insight. These songs have, sadly, fallen into much disuse in our times, resulting in our own poverty. 

So much of music that is called Christian today is shallow and, many times, heretical. I wish no discussion of music in the church per se, but rather desire to share hymns that, through the years, have been very meaningful and hope they become so to you too.  

For this post, let’s look at the hymn “Satisfied”, written by Clara Tear Williams (1858-1937).

Empty hearts, thirsty souls

All my life I had panted
For a drink from some clear spring,
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.

Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.

Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.

When looking at the words “All my life I had panted”, we might think this was written when Clara was an aged woman. She actually wrote it when she was 17.  

The search for that drink to quench the burning of the thirst for meaning begins very early. Search your own heart, my friend. Empty hearts, thirsty souls, meaningless activities that leave us finally purposeless resonate in our hearts, do they not?

The husks that we try to satisfy our souls with are many. Earthly possessions, human relationships and callings of life frustrate us because they do not last. Material possessions dissolve with time; our friends, family members and co-workers are in a continual state of change. Dr Francis Schaeffer said: We all tend to live “ash heap lives”; we spend most of our time and money for things that will end up in the city dump. Oh, the dust that we gather around us that mocks the cry of our souls for satisfaction!

The husks that we try to satisfy our souls with are many… We all tend to live “ash heap lives”

The story is told of American prisoners of war held by the Japanese in WWII. When the war ended, the prisoners were found physically emaciated. They said they had been well-fed during their imprisonment. The mystery was solved when their food was examined. They had been given large helpings of a thick oatmeal-like food three times a day, yet continued to grow thin and unhealthy.  It was found that the Japanese were cutting the amount of grain with saw dust, which gave the prisoners a feeling of satisfaction but no nutrition.  

The things of this earth may give us the feeling of satisfaction while starving our souls.

Our treasure is a Person

Augustine said, God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him. 

Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.

Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings
Thru His blood I now am saved.

The hymn writer reflects the truth found in John’s Gospel, where Jesus says, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38). Also, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35).  

The water is ever springing and the bread is exceedingly rich and free. The treasure is not found in doing anything, or in striving for some sort of spiritual state of mind. It is found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I have found Him Whom my soul so long has craved!  

Octavius Winslow (1808-1878) wrote the following in his devotional entitled Morning Thoughts that I hope will encourage and challenge you as it did me:

“Oh, how full of grace and love is our adorable Immanuel! What a heart of overflowing tenderness and blessing is His! Knowing this from observation and from experience, supported by the innumerable proofs which crowd every page of the New Testament, is it not a marvel that we should seek our blessing from any other source than Jesus, or that we should breathe our sighs, pour our sorrows, or repose our aching head on any other bosom than His?

Our acquaintance with Him — our best, dearest, most loving friend — is so limited.  We walk with Him so coldly; we follow Him so distantly; we believe in Him so feebly. The greatest wonder is that in the midst of all, His longsuffering, forbearance, tender and unchangeable love toward us should still be so unwearied and so great.”

Tom Horvat

About Tom Horvat

Tom Horvat completed his BA in education and theology at Washington Bible College. He pastored a house church for 15 years and served as a volunteer chaplain in a local prison for 20 years. He is now retired and pursuing interests in hiking, kayaking, nature study and wood crafting. He is passionate about ecology and published a book entitled New Creation Ecology that is available on Amazon. Tom has seven children and 13 grandchildren with his wife of over 40 years.



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