“When Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.” (John 19: 28-29)
For Jesus, beaten then crucified and hanging on the cross for a couple of hours, to say “I thirst,” means that He was at the point of death.
Many of us have experienced some kind of thirstiness. For example, after exercising in the gym; after doing some yard work; or after staying out in the hot sun for too long. We experience some form of mild dehydration. Our mouth and throat is dry, lips are dry, our muscles feel tired, and we feel thirsty. Usually drinking a tall glass of water or Gatorade will return your fluid balance back to normal and we’d feel better in no time.
However, when Jesus said “I thirst,” on the cross, he was not mildly dehydrated; he was severely, extremely dehydrated. Every tissue in his body is dehydrated and his whole strength is dried up. Jesus had given it all; and perhaps we can even say,…up to the last drop.
In my life I have been blessed with an opportunity to know somebody who had given it all. My wife battled breast cancer for a long time. She suffered and endured the pains of her illness. During her last few days, her organs started to fail, and she was severely dehydrated. But she was so weak, she couldn’t even say that she was thirsty. But I could tell she was because every time I would touch her dry mouth with a wet sponge, she would vainly try to follow the sponge with her mouth when I would move it. I would be moved to tears because I know there is no amount of water I could give her to return her back to health. Not long afterwards, she passed away in the company of her family and friends at home. My wife, too, like Jesus, had given it all.
But this is not the end of the story. There is a message of hope in here.
Before my wife died, she had developed an unquenchable thirst for God. She lived a life of prayer with a steadfast desire to strengthen her relationship with God. At the very end, in spite of her pain and suffering, she died peacefully. I think her life on earth had been pleasing to God and God has gifted her with eternal life.
This is the eternal life, which through Jesus’ death on the cross, had already been prepared for her, for all of us, for each of us. It is God’s promise to all of us. It is God’s show of love for all of us. It is Jesus’ message on the cross. That there is an eternal spring of water waiting for all of us and we will never be thirsty again.
But there is one thing I think that God wants us to do while we walk or run our lives here on earth. God wants us to stay “hydrated” by praying. Quench your thirst for happiness by praying. Keep walking in Jesus’ steps, keep following Jesus’ ways and paths, keep moving along, praying and relying upon His promise, even when the roads get rough, the hills too tough to climb, and you may grow weary, give it your all. Give everything to God.
We are made to thirst for God. He is always there at every point in our lives ready to provide us a drink. And at the point of our death, He will show us that vision of a place with a spring of water where we will never be thirsty again.