It is ironic that the Creator of water, the giver of the water of life should thirst. But from the cross, Jesus cried “I thirst.”
I want to share a few thoughts I picked up about those two words from Arthur W. Pink’s book, ‘The Seven Sayings of the Savior on the Cross.’ They are worth your time to contemplate Jesus, suffering, and needs of mankind.
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. (John 19:28)
These words were spoken by the suffering Jesus a little before He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. They are recorded only by John and reveal His humanity and His divine glory. These words we see some unique things…
1. It evidences Christ’s humanity
Jesus was fully God and yet full man. While on earth He proved He was God through His wisdom, holiness, and power. Nature obeyed, disease fled, storms stilled, the Devil left Him, and the dead were raised to life. He could say, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
He also gave full proof of His humanity when he asked questions (Luke 2:46), hungered (Matthew 4:2), slept (Mark 6:6), wept (John 11:35), groaned (John 11:33), and cried “I thirst.” Christ thirsted because He was a man.
2. It shows the intensity of Christ’s sufferings.
The last time He had a drink was the evening before His crucifixion. Since then He had undergone several trials, severe beatings, and the six hours on the cross. His thirst revealed the sufferings His body had gone through.
Yet He suffered spiritually. Immediately after acknowledging God forsaking Him, He cried “I thirst.” His soul had undergone the fierce heat of God’s wrath. Life without God is a drought. “My soul thirsteth for God”
3. It shows Christ’s obedience to the Scriptures
The reference is to Psalm 69:21: “”They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Up to this point, it remained unfulfilled. So to fulfill this last Scripture, He cried for a drink.
4. It shows the Savior’s submission to the Father’s will.
Jesus possessed all power and had He chosen, could have satisfied His need. He could cause water to flow from a rock or turn water to wine. But He never one time performed a miracle for Himself. He came to do His Father’s will and His Father said tot thirst so He would thirst. He delighted to do the Father’s will even if it involved suffering.
5. It shows how Christ can sympathize with His suffering people.
Why should their be suffering and pain in a world that is governed by a perfect God? A God who not only has the power to prevent evil, but who is Love? Sometimes we think that God does not care. That He sits in Heaven immune from suffering. But the cross sheds a little light. The cross shows us that God is not ignorant of our sorrows, for in the person of His Son He has Himself ‘borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows’ (Isaiah 53:5). The cross shows us that God cares – He suffered Himself! He experienced it! He understands!
6. It shows the expression of a universal need.
Whether we verbalize or acknowledge it, every person cries “I thirst.” Mankind is forever unsatisfied. Christ alone can quench our thirst. Without Christ, a person will forever cry “I thirst.”
7. It shows an abiding principle of Christ – Christ still thirsts.
Jesus still thirsts for the love and devotion of His people. He yearns for fellowship with His children. In John 4 Jesus stopped at a well because He was thirsty. Yet He never drank any water. It was because the salvation and faith of the Samaritan woman He met at the well refreshed His heart. Jesus is thirsty to spend time with you. Will you spend time with Him?
You can read the other sayings of Jesus: “Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross“