“Later, knowing that all was now completed,
and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
There are deepening levels at which this word from the Cross can be heard and understood.
The first is the affirmation of the very real humanity of Jesus. He was not just God in human flesh – He was in fact fully man and, therefore, knew what it was to be thirsty. After what He had been through, the beatings and loss of blood, and the way in which He had hung naked and for so long under the heat of the sun, it was a natural condition. The person who responded to the need certainly did not find it strange.
Then, there was still something that Jesus wanted to say – something that was important for both those around Him and His Father to hear. His parched throat was probably closing and needed to be moistened again. Some will know what it is like to be so dry that it is even impossible to swallow.
There is also the sense in which Jesus now wanted to completely drain the cup that His Father had given Him to drink – the one about which He had prayed in Gethsemane,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Coupled with this would have been the desire that influenced all of Jesus thinking and actions – that His Father be glorified as the one true God, whose righteousness was reflected in the lives of His people. How He longed for that righteousness to be revealed. And He had taught,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
And, finally, going to the depths of His being, Jesus would have ‘thirsted’ for the living waters of the Holy Spirit. He had told the woman at the well that,
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
That blessing, intimacy and glorious life had been His from before the beginning until His previous agonised cry, as the weight of our sin had crushed Him and taken Him into the desert darkness of separation from God,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
At every level of His being Jesus was thirsty – very, very thirsty – and it was all for our salvation!
O God, create in me an undivided heart for You. Fill me with Your Spirit and pour Your love into me that I may truly love You – for Jesus sake. Amen.