Thirst No More
John is the only Gospel writer to record these two simple words (19:28). But can we possibly wrap our finite minds around such profoundly eternal significance? “I thirst.”
It is Good Friday. Our dear Lord Jesus is hanging on the cross where He will die for you and for me.
Of course He is thirsty! With a brutally mangled and bleeding body, having been forced to carry that cruel cross under the heat of the near-midday sun, Jesus had to pull His weight up the rugged heights of Golgotha. And reaching the appointed place of His execution, His hands and feet were pierced by brutal nails that would further terrorize Him by the ripping of what little of His skin was still intact. For three hours suspended with the pitiless rays of the sun beating down upon His thorn-crowned head. Hours that must have felt like days.
There is almost nothing as terrible as this kind of thirst. People lost at sea will drink saltwater, knowing that it will kill them, just to temporarily experience the feel of moisture in their parched throats. In these and other kinds of desperate disaster situations, people will drink human urine. I’ve just returned from a part of the world where water means life, so I’m exceptionally aware of the power (and weakness) of thirst. Here is a photo from our African village.
And here is the God of the universe that thirsty. Every detail of this has been foretold (Psalm 69:21): “For my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” John tells us that Jesus knew that He was fulfilling the promises of old. God’s promises. Can you imagine a love that would go this far? So far that Christ would concern Himself with the detailed fulfillment of Scripture at a time like this. And sour wine is exactly what Jesus receives. Something that doesn’t even satisfy thirst, but actually intensifies it.
The Lord God Almighty – “very God of very God” in the ancient creed – seen clearly now as very man of very man. Still divine, but stripped of glory, so that He could be perfect humanity for us. You and I better remember what our Christ willingly endured on our behalf the next time that we’re tempted to think that we shouldn’t have to suffer.
Christ bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and thirsted for us. Our glorious Savior, King, and Lord allowed Himself to thirst so that He could be the drink for that thirsty woman at the well. She didn’t even know that her soul was on fire, and that she was thirsting to death, but Jesus took care of her anyway. Amazing, grace.
Chris Tomlin expresses it like this:
“This dry and desert land
I tell myself, ‘Keep walking on’
Hear something up ahead
Water falling like a song
An everlasting stream
Your river carries me home.”
Jesus is our living water now. Christ is the Way for you and me never to know spiritual thirst again (Revelation 7:16). Drink of Him. Thirst no more.
We’re almost home.