I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst.
Another week – another word. The fifth word is known as “The Word of Distress.” Most likely, these are the most human words ever spoken by Jesus. This is the only statement from the cross when Jesus expressed a physical need of his body. Hear these two words now spoken by the Son of God who once spoke all the waters into existence. He formed the oceans and the rivers, the lakes and the springs, the wells and the reservoirs. He created water and now he is crying out for water! He caused rain to fall from the sky upon parched dry ground and yet now his mouth is parched and dry as he utters these words. My Reader, join me as I think about these two little words: “I thirst.”
Later, knowing that everything had now been finished,
and so that Scripture would be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
When reading the complete scripture verse of John 19:28, I find it interesting that it says Jesus had to express his thirst in order for scripture to be fulfilled. It must be the case because this is the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken by David in Psalm 22:15, “My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.” However, I am quite sure Jesus did not need the prompting of any scripture verse for him to know he needed water at this time. He had not had anything to eat or drink since he shared the Last Supper with his disciples the previous evening. I would be crying out that I was hungry as well as letting it be known that I was thirsty! I think about all Jesus has endured since his last meal – questioning, mocking, beating, scourging etc. He now was dying a physical death because of blood loss and possibly an infection caused by the nail wounds in his hands and feet. There probably was a fever in his body causing his mouth to be parched. I only need to think of how thirsty I can be when I have a fever with the flu – and that is miniscule compared to what Jesus was experiencing. Yes, he was physically dehydrated, but was there more being said?
Another time when Jesus was thirsty is recorded in John 4. He asked a Samaritan woman at the well for a drink of water. But the conversation went to a deeper level. In John 4:10 Jesus told the woman, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” He went on to say in John 4:13, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” I notice that He did not say He was the living water but that he would give living water to her that would cause her not thirst again. Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit as being the Living Water. Another scripture where Jesus referred to thirst being satisfied by the Holy Spirit is John 7: 37-39, “On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” While on the cross, I would not be surprised if Jesus had called out for the Living Water to satisfy his spiritual thirst as well as liquid water to quench his natural thirst.
My Reader, what are you thirsty for? I pose this question to you as well as to myself. If we are thirsty for liquid water, we pour a glass of water, put it to our open mouths and drink. We drink until we desire no more. If we are thirsty for spiritual water, we need to go to the Word of God, open it to a specific passage and read. Do we read until our spiritual thirst is satisfied? The amazing thing is that the more we drink spiritually, the thirstier we become! We taste and see that the Lord is good and we just want more and more – that is the way God designed us. I think of what David describes in Psalm 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” One glass of water will not quench my physical thirst forever and neither will drinking of God’s Word one time satisfy my spiritual thirst forever. Let us remember that Jesus’ expression of thirst are some of the last words he spoke on earth. Now let us listen to some of the last words of scripture spoken by a voice from heaven in Revelation 21: 6. “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.” Jesus paid the cost so we can now freely drink from the water of life. Jesus experienced both physical and spiritual thirst so our spiritual thirst can be fulfilled for all eternity. Call out to Jesus today saying, “I thirst!” He will hear you because he once said these words himself. He will respond to you by telling you to come and drink!