Reflection 😔

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He Loved, He saith unto His Mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Then saith He to the disciple, “Behold thy mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, “I thirst.” When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, “It is finished”: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:25-30

Psalm 69? The sharp scent and bracing taste must have stung Jesus, but the wetness offers just a moment of relief, bitter though it may be. Jesus said, “I am thirsty,” and the writer adds an editorial comment here: He said this in order to fulfill the scripture. But which scripture? Was it Psalm 69, as many commentators suggest?

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

When was the last time you were really thirsty? On a hot summer day hiking in the woods with a canteen near empty? On a beach sizzling under the sun, too relaxed to be bothered to grab a chilly, sweaty can of Coke Zero? Maybe you’ll feel thirsty after a big Easter ham dinner, parched by the salty meat. But even in those times, it probably didn’t require much effort to satisfy your thirst. Advertisement

Can you remember a time you were dying for a sip of something wet? Do you know what it means to be thirsty? Really?

“All was now finished,” the writer says, and Jesus knows it. He has been hanging in excruciating pain for nearly three hours now, and the end is here.

What was Jesus thirsting for?

Certainly for something simply to wet his parched lips, his gritty mouth, his dry throat. That’s obvious. After the agony he has been enduring for hours now, Jesus is suffering bitter dehydration and blistering thirst. Just, please, something wet — and yet this thirst seems such a minor thing in light of the fact that his whole wounded, lashed, pain-wracked body hangs heavily on the cross.

In the agony of his thirst, there is a jar full … a sponge full … of sour wine. That is wine gone bad. It is vinegar. Can you smell it? Can you taste it? The sharp scent and bracing taste must have stung Jesus, but the wetness offers just a moment of relief, bitter though it may be.

Jesus said, “I am thirsty,” and the writer adds an editorial comment here: He said this in order to fulfill the scripture. But which scripture?

Was it Psalm 69, as many commentators suggest? The beleaguered psalmist cries out:

Save me, O God…

I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God….

Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.

Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies….

They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink….

Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them….

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

Maybe Jesus is thinking of Psalm 22, which starts with the line he cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1)

The psalmist, and Jesus too perhaps, cries out “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14-15).

But what else was Jesus thirsting for?

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

When was the last time you were really thirsty? On a hot summer day hiking in the woods with a canteen near empty? On a beach sizzling under the sun, too relaxed to be bothered to grab a chilly, sweaty can of Coke Zero? Maybe you’ll feel thirsty after a big Easter ham dinner, parched by the salty meat. But even in those times, it probably didn’t require much effort to satisfy your thirst. Advertisement

Can you remember a time you were dying for a sip of something wet? Do you know what it means to be thirsty? Really?

“All was now finished,” the writer says, and Jesus knows it. He has been hanging in excruciating pain for nearly three hours now, and the end is here.

What was Jesus thirsting for?

Certainly for something simply to wet his parched lips, his gritty mouth, his dry throat. That’s obvious. After the agony he has been enduring for hours now, Jesus is suffering bitter dehydration and blistering thirst. Just, please, something wet — and yet this thirst seems such a minor thing in light of the fact that his whole wounded, lashed, pain-wracked body hangs heavily on the cross.

In the agony of his thirst, there is a jar full … a sponge full … of sour wine. That is wine gone bad. It is vinegar. Can you smell it? Can you taste it? The sharp scent and bracing taste must have stung Jesus, but the wetness offers just a moment of relief, bitter though it may be.

Jesus said, “I am thirsty,” and the writer adds an editorial comment here: He said this in order to fulfill the scripture. But which scripture?

Was it Psalm 69, as many commentators suggest? The beleaguered psalmist cries out:

Save me, O God…

I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God….

Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.

Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies….

They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink….

Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them….

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

It’s a desperate, angry song, and it doesn’t sound very much like Jesus to me. What happened to “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?

Maybe Jesus is thinking of Psalm 22, which starts with the line he cried out on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1)

The psalmist, and Jesus too perhaps, cries out “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14-15).

There is no doubt that Jesus was experiencing the absolute worst physical pain imaginable. It was real: the 39 harsh lashes, the excruciating crown of thorns, the iron spikes driven through his hands and his feet, the sheer torture of hanging there for three hours, gasping for each breath.

But this means God knows the enormity of human pain — even the pain we experience in illness, woundedness and heartbreak, because God became human flesh and felt that pain deeply on the cross.

And in the midst of that deep, desperate pain, Jesus expresses a simple reality: I am thirsty. He begs for something to soothe his dry mouth and loosen his tongue sticking to his jaws.

Perhaps he thirsts for an end to his suffering. He knows that all is finished, and he yearns, he thirsts, for relief. He wants the pain to end. The sour wine is but a temporary fix, really no help at all. But in his thirst for relief, he reminds us of the need — of the countless hungers and thirsts — that surround us.

Do you remember when he taught his disciples, just a few days ago, about the reign of God in Matthew 25? He said…

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory … All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats … Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’… ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (vv. 21-36)

Jesus says, “When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink.”

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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