Jesus’ fifth saying on the Cross was an expression of his need (not want). To thirst is to yearn for a drink. Imagine you are in a desert and you are parched… You would give anything to have a drop of water.
In this fifth saying, Jesus’ thirst could have been a mere expression of his physical thirst after enduring the scourging, stripping and crucifixion. Servants of God, including I (the least of the servants), have exposited on this saying and attempted to explain what Jesus could have meant by this curt expression. One explanation is the yearning of Christ for the souls of men, which is substantiated by the verse that God desires (longs for) all men to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
As I meditated on this and pondered, I wondered, Jesus had drunk the cup of God’s wrath (Matthew 26:39), so what did he thirst for? Jesus had told the woman at the well, that the Holy Spirit of God was the living water (John 7:39), whom he could pour into her life so that she would never thirst again (John 4:13-14). Now he himself was thirsty. Was it because his own Holy Spirit could not be with him in his earthly form for he had become sin (2 Corinthians 5:21)? He expressed that he was forsaken by God, and he cried out My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Was the first address of My God, to God the Father and the second address of my God, to God the Holy Spirit – both the personas of God who were not with Christ Jesus (God the Son). I can only imagine. The more I pondered, the more I realized that Jesus’ thirst is likely for his own Holy Spirit – so that he would never have to thirst again. We know that his Holy Spirit responded to his yearning cry, for Jesus’ last act on the Cross was to commend his Holy Spirit into the Holy hands of God the Father.
Points to ponder:
Do we yearn for the Holy Spirit of God to indwell in us, so that we may never thirst again? Does our soul long for God as a deer pants for water, yearning and crying out to God, “I thirst for God” as he thirsted for us on the Cross. Jesus said, “I thirst” and expects you and me to do the same for him.
John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
John 4:13-14 (KJV)
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.