After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture),
“I am thirsty.”
A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth.John 19: 28-29
Thirst is a common symbol used in Scripture to describe our longing for God. In Psalm 42, to take but one example, the Psalmist writes: “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” The Psalmist thirsts for God. And we, too, thirst for God. We cannot live without God. Our souls thirst for God.
But the true miracle is not that we thirst for God. The miracle is that God thirsts for us. The miracle is that Jesus thirsts for us. He is dying on a cross, and he is thirsty. He could get off the cross. He could quench his thirst. He doesn’t have to die. But he does. He chooses to die for us. On him was laid the iniquity of us all. And so, he thirsts.
But he does more than thirst. He also quenches our thirst.
There is a sign at the entrance to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Chapels which sums this up in a simple but powerful way. The signs reads, “I thirst, I quench.”
Jesus thirsts for us. He quenches our thirst. In this same gospel in which Jesus says he thirsts, the gospel of John, there are two different instances when Jesus offers to quench our thirst. The first is at the end of the festival, when Jesus stands up and says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” And the other is when he tells the Samaritan woman at the well: “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.”
The miracle that took place on the cross is that Jesus showed the extent to which he was willing to go to quench our thirst. The miracle that took place on the cross is that Jesus actually thirsts for us. We don’t just thirst for Him. He thirsts for us. And he quenches our thirst.
Take time in silence to think of the ways that your souls thirsts for God, for the living God …