Thirst (10:45 Traditional)

Thirst (10:45 Traditional)

I thirst

In the fifth saying of Jesus in our series “Seven sayings of the Cross” Jesus expresses his humanness when he says – “I thirst”. In this saying we see that Jesus was the son of God by in human flesh and able to understand what we go through. We also reflect on how Jesus is the life-giving water that can satisfy our souls.

We have been exploring the 7 sayings of Jesus from the cross.  Can you remember the four sayings we have done already?

  • “Father Forgive them” … the promise of forgiveness
  • “Today you will be in paradise” … the assurance of Grace
  • “Mother/son” – the importance of relationships
  • “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me” – the pain that Jesus went through in our place – and as a result, we will never be abandoned.

Today we look at the fifth saying – one that is so normal, so ordinary that we might think that the gospel writers shouldn’t have recorded it.

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.

It had been a long day for Jesus.  He had been arrested in the middle of the night.  He had been bounced around from one court to another.  He had been slapped around – pushed around – mocked.  A crown of thorns had been placed on His head.  He had been beaten, whipped.  They made him carry the cross and then was crucified.  He would have been emotionally and physically exhausted … and in that state Jesus says, “I am thirsty.”

Of course he would have been thirsty.  But why was it important for the gospels writers to record this?

Firstly, I think it is a reminder of the Humanity of Christ.  We believe that not only was Jesus the son of God, but that Jesus was also fully human.  As John 1:14 tells us, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”  The writer of Philippians said that Jesus, even though was the very nature God, “ took on the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” 

Jesus was one of us.  He took on flesh and bone and lived life like us.  He knows what it is like to be human because Jesus was human.  This is why the writer of Hebrews can affirm:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)

So if we as humans get thirsty … it makes sense that if Jesus took on human flesh that Jesus too would be thirsty. 

And if we extrapolate this out … then because Jesus lived a human life, Jesus also knew what it was to experience pain.  He knew what it was like to experience loneliness, sadness, joy, and anger.  Jesus felt the same emotions and experienced the same feelings that all of us do!

Jesus understands how hard life can be.  Again in Hebrews we read:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)

Jesus became thirsty.  I think that this is an important lessons for us – especially if you are like me and are independent and don’t like asking for help.  Here is Jesus … the saviour … willing to be honest about his needs (I am thirsty) ask those near him for help (to please give him a drink).  It is an example that I think we need to follow.

But I think that Jesus may have also been pointing to a spiritual truth here with his words “I am thirsty”.  These words on the cross was not the first time that Jesus asked for a drink.  In our other reading for today, Jesus was sitting at a well and when a woman approached he asked, “Will you give me a drink?”  Once again, just being humble and human.

But in this conversation Jesus goes on to talk about he can give the woman (and all of us) living giving water.  Jesus explained … Everyone who drinks this water [from the well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that Jesus can give will never thirst.  “Indeed”, Jesus said, “the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Maybe by saying that he was thirsty on the cross Jesus is reminding those who are nearby of the living giving water which is now available to them.  Maybe when Jesus said, “I’m thirsty” on the cross he was reminding us of the question he asked the woman at the well … are you thirsty for more?  Are you thirsty for the water that spiritually satisfies?  Are we thirsty today? 

Are we like the deer who is panting for water … does our souls long after God, long for the renewing presence of God in our lives?

Are we thirsty?

Then all we have to do is follow the example of Jesus at the well, or Jesus on the cross, and ask for a drink.

And when God – through the reconciliation that is made available to us because of the cross – when God offers us that life giving water, lets drink deep.