(This was first posted as a reflection for Good Friday in April of 2012)
“The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water.”
Have you ever noticed when someone is uncomfortable; the first response is to do or say something to help minimize the discomfort. I find it odd that when Jesus cried out on the cross, one of the soldier’s, who had beaten Jesus and was an accomplice in pounding the nails into his hands and feet, responded with … “and one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink” (Matthew 27:48).
But was Jesus really thirsty?
The book of John says that he asked for a drink to fulfill the scripture. We also know that scripture tells us that he did not sin, making lying not an option. Jesus knew he was about to die and all that was about to happen, yet he reveals his human side by letting his thirst be known.
It is ironic that the One who offered a drink that satisfies all thirst, now at the point nearest his death, says, “I thirst” (John 19:28).
This was not the first time Jesus referred to being thirsty.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life’” (John 4:13-14).
One day while sitting by a beautiful waterfall at Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida,
We can cast our gaze toward Jesus and His Word. We can frequently listen to great sermons and serve others doing many good things. We can even place ourselves among believers of Christ and observe all that they do. We can have a desire to have the peace of God, but unless we long for Him enough to drink it, allowing it to sink deep within and become a part of who we are, the message of the cross will make no difference in our lives.
Could it be that Jesus’ statement of thirst surpassed the physical realm and reflected the spiritual realm? Could Jesus, that day almost 2000 years ago, be referring to our spiritual condition today? That Jesus thirst was also a longing to fulfill his purpose and bring life to others?
We are the ones who are thirsty and many do not even realize it. We are the ones for whom Jesus was about to take his last breath. He knew the moment he proclaimed, “It is finished,” that in his death, there would be living.
“…as the scripture has said, out of the believer’s heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this he said about the Spirit, which believers in Him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39).
Jesus may have been thirsty that day, but his mission of the cross reflects his true thirst for others to come to know him, for a dying world to see that he is who he says he is and that he did what he said he would do. He gave his life so that we may live.
Jesus’ simple words, “I thirst,” can be left alone or they can be seen as an example for all of his disciples to also live thirsty. Thirsty for him and his word, immersing ourselves in it daily, resulting in supernatural hydration for our souls. Thirsty for others to know the life-quenching message of Jesus.
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, oh God” (Psalms 42:1).
May we encourage one another on this Good Friday to remember Christ’s mission and together make sure we are living thirsty.
Meditation: Give me a thirst for you, Jesus.
Digging Deeper: John 19:16-30; Psalm 22:14-18; Psalm 42
Reflection: Do you live thirsty for God? If yes, what does living thirsty for God look like to you? If no, do you want to live thirsty for God? What is one thing you can begin to do that will help you create more of a longing for God? Is there anyone in your life that you could encourage to live thirsty? If so, how can you encourage them?
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