Lent, Week 5: I thirst

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill scripture he said, 

"I am thirsty."

A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.  

John 19:28-29

"I thirst" is traditionally called "the word of distress."

"I thirst" stands in juxtaposition to other words of Jesus about water:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"  John 7:37-38

Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."  John 4:13-14

Here's what "I thirst" means to me today. 

Jesus undergoes this distress,

this depletion,

this thirst

for me.

For me.

He is poured out, to create the ever-flowing spring that I need.

He is thirsty, so that I will be filled in my innermost being with living water, a fresh bubbling stream of eternal life.

It feels self-centered to say that.  To look at distress and say, it's for me and it's good.  

God loves me so much that He found it worthwhile that Jesus should be so distressed.

For me.

I'd worry that I'm being narcissistic, except that I started thinking about this early Sunday morning and bawled my eyes out all the way through church as each song spoke to a hurt in me, and filled spaces I didn't even know I had.

I stood there, thinking, "I'm thirsty all the time."

And also, "God knows it, and fills it even before I know what I need."

Which is really the whole story of the Gospel:  He loves us first and He moves toward us first and He pours himself out first.

And always.

Loving us, fully and freely, with his everlasting Love.

Even through the greatest distress.

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