Christ’s Fifth Word from the Cross:
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said,
The God of the universe created a vast world of living and non-living things. In the universe he created, what most divides the ones that live from the ones that don’t is water. Now, what a pitiful shame, when the creator of water could use a drop, no one spares him any.
There are multiple levels to God’s thirst.
John says Jesus spoke this single word, in the Greek text, dipso — I thirst — “In order that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Everything that happened that day, which took place in accordance with the ancient scriptures, played out as actual events. Jesus Christ — God and man — suffered the physical agony of real human thirst. It was not a mere formality for him to say that. As a man, he suffered what we can suffer, to the extent that we can suffer it.
Dying of dehydration, compounded with other torments, is a horrible way to go. And Jesus suffered these horrible things for you — to save you from the unending torment of the unquenchable, eternal thirst. That is what the words, “I thirst,” mean coming from his lips as he died on the cross.
On another level, Jesus suffers in his human flesh spiritually as well. He who did not know sin took on all of our sin. Now he thirsts for the consolation no one has to offer, for no one can offer what they do not already have. What we do not have, unless God gives it to us, is the sanctifying grace he died to give us. Without that gift, we have no life in us.
Just as we cannot create water, we cannot restore grace to ourselves. For this, we rely on God alone. Now that he has given all he can give, he leaves us with a parting sign in one word — dipso! Persevere in the grace you were freely given, this day; remember the price I paid for you to have it; relish and rejoice in it! Do not squander it.
No one can perform the work of salvation Christ came to deliver. The only thing we can do is accept, receive, and thank God for his saving sacrifice.
As we ponder Christ’s saving words from the cross, “I thirst,” let us adore him, admire him, and praise him for the great sacrifice he made of himself, for us.