Babies know that they want. They don't know what they want. And they certainly don't know how to express what they want. They only know how to cry when they want something.
We are all born with desire. We think we know what we want, but like babies, we often don't. Sometimes we think we want food when we really want comfort. Sometimes we think we want sex when we really want affirmation. What makes it even more confusing is that sometimes we really do want food or sex itself. And also like babies we often don't know how to express what we want. Sometimes we express our desire for acceptance by resenting those closest to us. Sometimes we express our desire for peace by manipulating others.
We hope to grow out of infantile behavior as we mature to adulthood, but as adults we are ashamed to discover that we resemble infants more than we care to admit. In desperation, it feels safer to temper our desire than to get it wrong and hurt ourselves and others.
The first time Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John he asks "What do you want?" This seems like an ordinary question, since he has just turned around to find two strangers following him. The strangers' reply seems equally unremarkable: "Rabbi, where are you staying?" With Jesus no word is wasted. He responds, "Come and you will see," and invites them to discover their true desire. These two would be Jesus' first disciples.
Today he asks us the same question. What do you want? And if we dare stay with him, he will plumb the depths of our desire, remove our shame, and fill our hearts abundantly.