Holy Week - The Seven Last Words of Jesus: Fifth Words
"I am thirsty." - John 19:28
Yesterday, I said that while some thought that Jesus' cry to ask why God had forsaken him could be a quote from Psalm 22, I felt that likely it was more Mark's highlighting Jesus' humanity.
Here we have a similar situation. Jesus is thirsty, and that very thirst reminds us of his very human reality. However, we also again have Old Testament scriptures to call back to. Psalm 43: "My soul thirsts for God, the living God." Psalm 69: "They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Psalm 107: "Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them." Isaiah 21: "Bring water to the thirsty, meet the fugitive with bread."
Here I think John was very comfortable having Jesus' thirst be foremost a direct reference back to the the scriptures. John as a gospel writer was all about showing Jesus as a the fulfillment of scripture.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus' march to the cross is very different than in the other gospels. He is portrayed as much stronger and very much in control of the entire situation. Was Jesus thirsty? Undoubtedly. Regardless of how strong he is in John's gospel, the reality of the crucifixion can't be denied. He suffered and was no doubt thirsty.
But also in John, I can not help but remembering Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. He came to her thirsty, asking for water. Yet he came also as the antidote to her own thirst - one she did not even realize she had. He came as living water, and is also the Bread of Life. Jesus is the antidote to our hunger and our thirst.
In the tale of the Samaritan woman ironically the woman never gives Jesus his water. She drops her jug and goes to spread the news of who Jesus is. Now, Jesus is thirsty again. The living water is thirsty. Will we, like the Samaritan woman, be quenched of our own thirst and spread the news of where others can get that living water as well? Gracious Lord, you seek to satisfy the hunger and thirst of all your children. You indeed hunger for our satisfaction. Help us to satisfy the hunger and thirst of those who still need both the living water and bread of life you offer, but also food and drink to fill their empty bellies. Amen.