An Adventist musician, inspired by the Easter season, uses familiar hymn lyrics in a new way.
I wrote “As Water to the Thirsty” on April 3, 2020. It came out of the current sermon series at Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maryland, where the focus has been on Jesus’ last words while on the cross.
John 19:28 states, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” (KJV). I knew that lead pastor Chad Stuart would be using this text from the angle that Jesus understood our humanity and had empathy for all of us. I wanted to find text that touched on His people dearly longing for His return. [Editor’s note: You can listen to Michael Patterson’s song in two ways—viewing the score and/or listening to it sung by Robert Martinez, choral teacher at Spencerville Adventist Academy.]
While searching the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, I found #460, “As Water to the Thirsty,” with lyrics written by Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926-). The words were perfect! Not only did the text describe metaphors that related to how humans yearn for Christ, but it started with water, the very thing Jesus needed on the cross. Every single metaphor held a beautiful analogy, as I wanted to paint musical imagery that helped listeners connect with that deep hunger for Christ’s love. The tune wrote itself—divine inspiration, I’m sure of it.
The text of this piece is very relevant to today’s times. We’re currently in a history-making period that no one is escaping. I feel the words of this song somehow summarize hope in these uncertain times, no matter who the listener is.
I’m grateful to soloist Robert Martinez for bringing the melody and the words to life so eloquently through his voice. I hope that whomever listens will find the hope and peace they may be yearning for.