Seven Last Words
The end is coming quickly now. His body has been beaten, desecrated, and now is quickly becoming dehydrated. His tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth they are so dry. If there was anything to swallow, it would be almost impossible to do so. Jesus’ humanity is coming to the end of life, a life that seemingly has been pulled from it; beaten from it.
These words have meant many things to many people through history. Surely, Jesus suffers from physical thirst. How could he not? And so these words are our second verbal indicator of his human suffering and approaching death. It is a bit ironic that he who suggested that the Spirit would be a living fountain of water in him who believed would now feel bereft of water. Ironic perhaps, but a clear indicator of what Jesus has given up so that we might live.
Jesus has been on a mission directed by God. He probably also thirsts—longs for the completion of this mission. Following on the heels of his cry of being forsaken, this simple statement has less energy, less demand of God. He is ready to die for the Father. He is ready to die for you.
He thirsts also for you. As the representative of humankind, Jesus embodies the state of us all—thirsting after God. In these words, Jesus tells us that God thirsts for hearts to be formed in us which thirst for him. He thirsts that the world might be set right and humans might take their rightful place with God.
Through his thirst, he offers the Spirit to slake our thirst—our longing for a world and a life with more certainty, less hurt, and clearer ends.
Water—without it we would die in just a handful of days. It is critical for life. Scripture pictures water as just that—life giving grace. Jesus told the woman at the well that he could give her living water so that she would never thirst. Or again, that those who have the Spirit have within them a living, vibrant, life giving stream or fountain that is unquenchable. God wants us to have that Spirit and to live thirsting for him.
Have you ever been so thirsty that your tongue literally stuck to the roof of your mouth? Have you ever hungered after God to such a degree that your soul seemed to be parched? Describe that here:
If you have felt that way, what have you done to quench that thirst? How do you keep it from returning?
Do you have friends who seem to be living lives of thirst? How are some ways you might give them some spiritual water?