I love sweet tea.
Really, I could end the whole post with that statement.
For real ya’ll. I love sweet tea.
There’s just one problem. It doesn’t love me back.
In my journey towards better health, sweet tea is one of the “thorns” that threatens to derail my best efforts and slingshot me back into a familiar yet bad habit. And as you’ll see in the video below, I’m quite familiar with the sweet tea offered in various food establishments.
Now this post got a little longer than I originally intended for it to be. If you don’t have time to read it all (I hope you do), at least you make sure you scroll down and watch the video. It’s one of my favs.
Sweet tea is simply… good. to. me.
But because it’s not good for me, I’ve taken to drinking it only on occasion and even then in some serious moderation. No more “free refills” at a restaurant where my belly will have more sweet tea in it then the actual meal I showed up to eat. No more regular requests for that sugary goodness in a large styrofoam cups – with no ice to make sure I get my money’s worth. No more hiding my tea in the back of the refrigerator so no one else in my family would see it and gulp it down.
Well… I’m stretching the truth here. Technically I shouldn’t say “no more” but rather “seriously limited”.
The point? Sweet tea isn’t good for me.
And here’s another thing I’ve discovered. It doesn’t satisfy.
Anybody who loves a sugary drink can testify. The more sugar you have, the more you tend to want. Sweet drinks never quite quench your thirst. You always need more. And more of a “not-good-thing” is even more “not-good”.
Water is good. Even if you don’t LIKE water. It’s still good.
Water satisfies. It quenches a dry, parched throat on a hot day like nothing else quite can.
Water gives life. We can’t live very long without it.
And Jesus offers me living water.
Not living sweet tea.
Not living Coke, Pepsi, or Root Beer (I could drink all of those actually).
Just like water does what nothing else can do for my physical body, Jesus does what nothing else can do for my soul.
He is good.
He gives life.
Now I know that many people would tell me that I can learn to enjoy my sweet tea in a different way. Maybe I can drink tea sweetened with an artificial sweetener, learn to drink less of it, or learn to drink it with no sugar at all.
Many of us do this very thing with our soft drinks.
We know that the regular version of the soda is not good for us, but we don’t want to give up the sugary sensation, so we ingest drinks that are a substitute for the real thing. This phenomenon doesn’t stop at sweet tea or soft drinks. We haven’t even started to talk about the coffee thing.
We will make it non-fat, switch to decaf, or ask for a “short” instead of our usual “tall” – all to make a choice that is “not-best” a little better. The problem is, the substitutes, while not as bad as their full sugar and/or caffeine counterparts, are still not the best that there is.
And to top it all off, sweet tea, soft drink substitutes, and Starbucks habits can each put a whole in a girl’s wallet.
Ya’ll. That’ll preach.
While we can debate the health benefits or detriments of artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and low-fat dairy till the cows come home, there is one fact that no one will disagree with.
Water is best.
There is nothing that can quench your thirst like water can.
There is nothing that can cleanse your body like water can.
There is nothing that can improve your complexion, promote energy, or boost your metabolism like water can.
We are made up of mostly water. We were designed to need it.
And water is free.
We just have to pick up the glass and drink it.
Jesus offers us living water.
He offers water that can purify our souls, detoxify our hearts, and stimulate us to live purposeful, effective, satisfying lives.
We are made with a spot in our inner being that only He can fill. We were designed to need Him.
And He offers us this living water at no charge.
We just have to pick up the Word and read it.
We just have to make time to talk to Him and give Him time and space to talk to us.
We just have to stop filling up on substitutes, and start filling up on the real deal.
And Jesus? Yup… He’s the real deal.
Oh… and when sweet tea, diet soda, coffee, or starbucks won’t always love you back…
Jesus always does.