1. Home
  2. Bible Characters
  3. Jesus
  4. 5. The Beatitudes – Hunger and Thirst

5. The Beatitudes – Hunger and Thirst

Matthew 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

The sense of unworthiness will lead the heart to hunger and thirst for righteousness, and this desire will not be disappointed.

Those who make room in their hearts for Jesus will realize His love. All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied. The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus.

He takes of the things of Christ and shows them unto us. If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image. The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”


This metaphor was especially forceful in a country where the average annual rainfall is not more than 26 inches per year. Let’s consult the Bible on this issue:

Genesis 12:10  Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 

What is true in Palestine is generally true throughout large sections of the Near East. Bordering on large desert areas, even much inhabited land is semi-arid. No doubt many in the audience now listening to Jesus had experienced pangs of thirst.

As illustrated in the case of Hagar and Ishmael, a traveller who lost his way or who missed one of the few springs en route could easily find himself in serious straits.

Genesis 21:14  So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water; and putting it on her shoulder, he gave it and the boy to Hagar, and sent her away. Then she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. 

Genesis 21:15  And the water in the skin was used up, and she placed the boy under one of the shrubs. 

Genesis 21:16  Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot; for she said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.” So she sat opposite him, and lifted her voice and wept. 

But Jesus spoke of the hunger and thirst of the soul.

 Psalm 42:1  To the Chief Musician. A Contemplation of the Sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 

Psalm 42:2  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God.

Only those who long for righteousness with the eager anxiety of a man starving for lack of food or famishing for want of water, will find it. No earthly source can satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul, whether it be material riches, profound philosophies, the satisfaction of physical appetites, or honour and power.

After experimenting with all these things, Solomon concluded that “all is vanity”

Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 

Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 

Ecclesiastes 3:19  For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 

Ecclesiastes 11:8  But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. 

Ecclesiastes 12:8  “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.” 

None of these things brought the satisfaction and happiness for which every human heart longs. The wise man’s cravings were disappointing.

Is you being a young person, Solomon has this to say to you:

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: 

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Everything has now been heard. And here’s the final thing I want to say. Have respect for God and obey his commandments. That’s what everyone should do.

Let’s look at the most important thing that we should pursue, righteousness:

MB. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”—Matthew 5:6.

What is righteousness?

Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and “God is love.”

1 John 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 

Righteousness is conformity to the law of God

Psa lms 119:172  My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Paul says love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 13:10  Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.

Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it.

Isaiah 55:1  “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price. 

Isaiah 54:17  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD. 

Jeremiah 23:6  In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. But Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” “I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall  never hunger; and he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” Revelation 3:20; John 6:35.

As we need food to sustain our physical strength, so do we need Christ, the Bread from heaven, to sustain spiritual life and impart strength to work the works of God. As the body is continually receiving the nourishment that sustains life and vigour, so the soul must be constantly communing with Christ, submitting to Him and depending wholly upon Him.

As the weary traveller seeks the spring in the desert and, finding it, quenches his burning thirst, so will the Christian thirst for and obtain the pure water of life, of which Christ is the fountain.

As we discern the perfection of our Saviour’s character we shall desire to become wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. The more we know of God, the higher will be our ideal of character and the more earnest our longing to reflect His likeness.

A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God and the longing heart can say, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5.

If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself.

We need not seek to quench our thirst at shallow streams; for the great fountain is just above us, of whose abundant waters we may freely drink if we will rise a little higher in the pathway of faith.

The words of God are the wellsprings of life. As you seek unto those living springs you will, through the Holy Spirit, be brought into communion with Christ. Familiar truths will present themselves to your mind in a new aspect, texts of Scripture will burst upon you with a new meaning as a flash of light, you will see the relation of other truths to the work of redemption, and you will know that Christ is leading you, a divine Teacher is at your side.

Jesus said, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. As the Holy Spirit opens to you the truth you will treasure up the most precious experiences and will long to speak to others of the comforting things that have been revealed to you.

When brought into association with them you will communicate some fresh thought regarding the character or the work of Christ. You will have some fresh revelation of His pitying love to impart to those who love Him and to those who love Him not.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38); for the word of God is “a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams of Lebanon” (Song of Solomon 4:15).

The heart that has once tasted the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft, and as you impart you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love.

The continual cry of the heart is, “More of Thee,” and ever the Spirit’s answer is, “Much more.” Romans 5:9, 10. For our God delights to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20.

To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So, it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling.

Our Lord Himself has given the command, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. Colossians 2:9,10

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, Colossians 1:19

God has poured out His love abandonly, as the showers that refresh the earth. He says,

Isaiah 45:8  “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the LORD, have created it. 

Isaiah 41:17  “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the LORD, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 

Isaiah 41:18  I will open rivers in desolate heights, And fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, And the dry land springs of water. 

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:16


Matthew 5:7  Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 

Updated on 15th Nov 2022

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles