Tuning In: 3 Signs of Spiritual Dehydration

(written by Emily Matthews)

It is so hot outside this time of year. We tend to know it’s important to drink lots of water and to stay hydrated because of the temperatures. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

As a runner and a nurse, I know I have to drink a lot of water. Personally, I shoot for 100 ounces of water daily (not including coffee or an evening beverage 😉). That’s a lot and I have to pay attention throughout the day to keep up. We need water all day for our bodies to function properly. When we don’t have it, all kind of unpleasant things result — headaches, hunger, sluggishness. (Don’t worry, I won’t go anymore Nurse on you than that.)  I am ashamed to say that for most of my 20s my fluid intake was almost entirely Diet Coke. Not good … but I’ve come a long way.

So, hydration is important. We know this.

But what about spiritual hydration? What are the signs of “spiritual thirst?” Unfortunately, we can’t measure it in ounces.


Is our spiritual intake as important as the state of our actual water intake? I venture to say even more so. Scripture uses water and the idea of thirst many times throughout it, because I think because people can relate. We understand thirst — it’s a common human experience.

Just like I drank Diet Coke all day and not water, we need to quench our spiritual thirst with the right stuff.

Here are some warning signs of spiritual dehydration:

You feel dry.

Mommas, I get it. We have all reached the end of our abilities at one point or another. Maybe it’s with the time and energy small ones consume. The toddlers who are always moving. The babies who won’t sleep. Maybe it’s the older kids who are intentionally rebelling or pushing boundaries. When we feel used up, it’s time to find the water of life.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)

You feel irritable or angry.

You know what I’m talking about … You’ve lost your joy. Everything gets on your nerves. Or as Lysa TerKeurst says, it all has “bumped into your happy.”

I know I am out of whack when I reach this point. One time during a phone call when I called my husband to complain, he asked, “have you had your quiet time today?” (Rude much? *wink*) I know, I know … but he was right. I needed to quench my spiritual thirst.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. (Psalm 42:1)

You don’t care.

Apathy. You lack feeling or interest and have zero emotion. Just … nothing. I’m not talking about clinical depression. That is another real thing, that needs real attention. I mean “I just don’t care.” If you are feeling indifferent about most things in your life, it may be time to fill your spiritual tank.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Of course, your spiritual dehydration will look different than mine or the next person’s. We are all different. Pay attention to your own unique warning signs and go ahead and get you a big glass of water. Because it’s hot outside, you need a drink. Spend some time with Jesus. He’s the Living Water.


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