When Jesus was on the cross, he spoke. We call these words the Last Sayings of Christ. In his fifth saying, he uttered two simple words: “I thirst.”
Here is a man about to die. The whip and scourge have weakened him. The humiliation has drained him. The beatings have taken their toll. And now the intense agony of a nailed body sears his nerve endings.
He says, “I thirst.”
How incredibly human! Rising above the agony of the Cross is the agony of parched lips and dry throat. Just a sip. Just a drop. Anything to moisten his tongue. He felt the pain another man in Scripture felt: the rich man in torments cried out for a just a drop of water to quench his pain. Perhaps Jesus echoes his own parable to show us the depths of suffering.
In his divine nature, Jesus would not, could not suffer. This thirst proves his utterly human nature — the God-man, two natures in one person, without division, without confusion, without separation, and without change.
The story of Good-Friday and Easter shine with the transcendence of heaven’s glory even as they drip with the blood and sweat of mankind’s sorrow. No matter what we may say of human suffering and pain, no one can accuse God of standing aloof. He rolled up his sleeves, and entered into our pain to a depths that knows no bounds. He suffered. He bled. He thirsted. He died. He rose again.
The Word of God finishes with its own invitation — one that echoes down time’s corridors to every generation and age:
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17, NKJV).
He felt our pain that he might heal it completely. He felt our hunger, to become the bread of life. He felt our tears, to wipe them from our eyes. He felt our sins, and became the Lamb of God who takes them away as far as the east is from the west. He emptied himself that he might fill “whoever desires.” He felt our curse to bless us. He endured our hell that we might enjoy his heaven. He felt our thirst, and quenched it with his life-giving water.
This moment — the Cross and Resurrection moment — is the center of the center of the center.
He who created water thirsted for it. He who filled oceans and rivers and streams, the One who sends the rains and fills our lakes and waters the earth with goodness and life — he thirsted.
What is your thirst today? What is your lack, your hunger, your unmet need, your gap, your break, your ache? He knows it. He gets it. He has felt it.
Please, move to the middle. Here, you will never thirst again.
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