“Sinful, mortal, dying creatures as we all are, with souls that will one day be judged and spend eternity in heaven or hell, there lives not the man or woman on earth who ought not to ‘thirst’ after salvation. And yet the many thirst after everything almost except salvation.
Money, pleasure, honour, rank, self-indulgence,—these are the things which they desire. There is no clearer proof of the fall of man, and the utter corruption of human nature, than the careless indifference of most people about their souls.
No wonder the Bible calls the natural man ‘blind,’ and ‘asleep,’ and ‘dead,’ when so few can be found who are awake, alive, and athirst about salvation.
Happy are those who know something by experience of spiritual ‘thirst.’ The beginning of all true Christianity is to discover that we are guilty, empty, needy sinners. Till we know that we are lost, we are not in the way to be saved.
The very first step toward heaven is to be thoroughly convinced that we deserve hell. That sense of sin which sometimes alarms a man and makes him think his own case desperate, is a good sign.
It is in fact a symptom of spiritual life: ‘Blessed indeed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled’ (Matt. 5:6.).”
–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1869/2012), 29-30. Ryle is commenting on John 7:37-39.