Prolific author and San Antonio pastor Max Lucado has easily earned his right to a mini department in Christian bookstores featuring his titles alone. At last count, he has written 50-plus books, and like most of the others, his latest release is the kind of valuable gem that should be set apart and given a place of its own.
COME THIRSTY offers a long drink of cool water to parched throats and "dehydrated hearts" --- people whose faith has run dry as well as those whose faith was never watered very well in the first place. As with Lucado's other titles, this one is saturated with grace, that aspect of God's love that drenches us with a favor that is incapable of being earned or bought. It's ours for the taking, regardless of who we are or what we've done or how we think of ourselves, and it's central to all of Lucado's books. If we allow it to, he writes, grace will saturate our lives and become as inescapable as the water that surrounds us on all sides when we dive into a deep pool.
The metaphor of water permeates this book, and as always, Lucado squeezes every last drop of imagery out of that metaphor. The writing style is pure Lucado, which never disappoints. A master of the one-word sentence ("Society labels you like a can on an assembly line. Stupid. Unproductive…Quitter. Cheapskate."), the author gets his points across in pretty much the way you would expect him to if he were sitting in a rocking chair on your porch, shooting the breeze on a summer afternoon. Holding a glass of tea, of course. Tall. Fresh. Chilled. Sweet.
Also part of the Lucado appeal is his ability to tell a story and relate it to some spiritual truth. To illustrate the lengths to which people will go to save their lives, for example, he recounts the widely reported story of Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who amputated his own hand, which had been trapped under an 800-pound-boulder. "Upon hearing the footsteps of the Grim Reaper at your door, what price would you pay for an extension?" he asks. "Would you give your right hand?"
And he proves he still has a way with subtle and ironic humor. In the chapter "Hope for Tuckered Town" --- home of weary, unspiritual people who try to work their way to God --- the daily grind and drudgery of life is so boring that Lucado maintains "you'll find more excitement at an Amish prom." Following a delightful anecdote involving a lost pot-bellied pig, Lucado addresses the problem of our struggles, but not before getting in a jab about our tendency toward pettiness: "Perhaps your Rubik's Cube has a square that won't turn. If God is our guardian, why do bad things happen to us?" (You may be heartened to know that he does not give a pat answer to that question, by the way.)
Nearly half of the book is devoted to a reader's guide that is as much a Bible study as it is a discussion guide for COME THIRSTY. Prepared by writer Steve Halliday, the guide combines a question and answer section with a "Drink Deeply" action step, all of which relates to a specific chapter. Those steps are as wide-ranging as watching the movie Les Miserables for the chapter "When Grace Goes Deep" to writing your own obituary for the chapter "When Death Becomes Birth."
Jesus invites people to "come thirsty and drink deeply," Lucado believes. That's not bad advice for the way to use this book as well.
Reviewed by Marcia Ford on November 13, 2011