Lost on the open sea, survivors of the USS Indianapolis waited for rescue. For many it never came. Alone, without food or water, thirst drove men mad. Unable to stand the thirst, sailors began to drink water from the ocean. Slaking their thirst, the men rested, satisfied, while their fellow sailors, parched and half mad, warned and begged them not to drink the salty water.
The men knew that while salt water gave temporary relief, it would drain their bodies of more fluid than it could provide. Soon the sailor would thirst again, worse than before, and drink more ocean water; all the while knowing that it would kill him. The more he drank, the thirstier he became. In the end, seized by delusions, the sailor would see a phantom island or a restaurant just under the waves, serving cool drinks. Pulling himself free from the arms of his comrades, he would dive into the ocean and disappear.
Many of us have deep emotional, spiritual and psychological needs that are not being met. We have waited years for relief, knowing in our minds that only Jesus is able to make us whole. Yet, as time goes by, we are tempted to meet those needs in our own way, knowing it is sin, knowing that the result can only be tragedy and ashes. None-the-less, we decide to take a taste, just one taste of what the world says will meet that need. Relief seems so close, so real. We convince ourselves that just one taste will tide us over until we can get through to Jesus.
But one taste leads to another and before long we are meeting our own needs day after day. Each day drains us spiritually. We grow emptier with every effort. Unless we are stopped, in the end we embrace the delusion. Abandoning all hope of rescue, and unaware of our dire situation, we dive headfirst into the ways of the world, lost to all that God would have provided.