March 4, 2018
Last Words: I Am Thirsty
Of the last seven words of Jesus on the cross, perhaps none are more overlooked than the seemingly innocuous statement, “I am thirsty.” But this statement is rich with theological meaning. It is the fulfillment of yet another prophecy of messianic suffering, this time from Psalm 69:19-21: “You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
When Jesus said, “I am thirsty,” he wasn’t give water; instead, he was given wine vinegar. This was nothing more than cheap wine, the kind enjoyed by the poorest class of people. Compare this with the wine Jesus made at the wedding at Cana, the first miracle he performed in the Gospel of John, which was described as the best wine available. Jesus gave us his very best – his own life – but all we offered him in his time of need was cheap wine.
There was another story in the Gospel of John that tells of when Jesus was thirsty. It’s found in John 4, and it is the story of his encounter with the outcast Samaritan woman at the well outside of Sychar. He asked the woman to draw a drink for him from the well, but she was upset because Jews and Samaritans are not supposed to associate with one another. Jesus replied, “If you knew who you were talking to, you would have asked me, and I would have given you living water.” The living water Jesus is talking about is God himself, and all she had to do to receive him was ask. Are you thirsty? Have you asked?