life and faith

thirsty: longing for soul refreshment during Lent above anything

During the run up to Easter I find myself feeling thirsty and adrift. I haven’t been well enough, as usual, to attend any church services, spend special time with family or friends. Neither have I engaged with the usual paraphernalia, e.g buying cards, eggs, flowers, and celebration food.

My good intentions over Lent have fallen foul of my frailty, with no observance fully kept and no readings completed. I have failed in every way to observe Easter. Or have I? Is it about the special services, the trappings around the edges, or something else?

As I read the biblical accounts of the crucifixion recently, I came to three words that stopped me in my tracks: “I am thirsty.” Jesus speaks these words in John’s gospel (John 19:28).

In order to address His perceived physical need— unsurprising with outstretched limbs impaled to a cross in the heat of the day—Jesus is offered a sponge soaked in sour wine to sip from. What seems like a generous gesture is both inadequate and insulting.

With thirst left unquenched, the Son of God is made to partake more of humanity’s bitterness and gall as He hangs dying on the cross, poured out like a drink offering for our sake. This act is preceded by Jesus calling out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani?” which is translated as “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34 – 36)


How Jesus might have thirsted

thirsty - Jesus on the cross - separation from God quote (C) joylenton @wordsofjoy.me

His heartfelt cry suggests that Jesus was not only physically thirsty but emotionally too. For the first time ever, as He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world, His holy, righteous Father could not look upon or be in fellowship with Him.

Their intimate, loving union and communion was broken. And I think that must have broken Jesus’ heart. I believe Jesus thirsted, even in that relatively short time, for all that He had known before.

Instead of the personal intimacy of ‘Abba, Father’, Jesus now addresses His Father as ‘God’, indicating the temporary loss of what He had always experienced, their unending closeness and intimacy.

In taking on humanity’s sin, Jesus endured a painful separation from God, so we could become reconciled and know Him as our loving heavenly Father.

I have been thirsty for many things in my life: approval, fulfilment, comfort, good career prospects and material success. They were mostly out of my reach. Now I thirst to know God better and help encourage others.
Acceptance, love, security and safety are our basic human needs. These things are fully met in relationship with God.Jesus is inextricably linked with a river of life, hope and faith, that runs through us now by His Spirit. As we see when He comes out of the river Jordan after His baptism.


Jesus as Living Water to the thirsty

Jesus offers Living Water to the spiritually thirsty Samaritan woman in John 4:1 – 26.  At the start of their conversation, Jesus requests a drink from her as she is at the well drawing water. Do we ever stop to think how Jesus, our Living Water, may thirst now?
Perhaps He is thirsting for:

  • Our time
  • Our attention
  • Our company
  • Our love

This Easter, as we ponder the deep meaning of the cross, empty tomb and resurrection, let us take a moment to consider how Jesus may be desiring us to be in relationship with Him.

Even if we know Him now, follow Him and read His word. As we fellowship together, is Jesus our main focus? Is His presence the one thing we are thirsting for above anything else?


An Easter prayer

Dear Lord,
We have no difficulty seeing our need
of the things you offer us.
Your mercy, grace and forgiveness
are what we long for,
and our souls require daily watering
by Your word and Spirit.
Yet our hearts can fail and quail
at the thought of you
wanting something in return.
What can we give to You
that You do not already possess?
We offer our hearts, we offer our lives,
we offer our thanksgiving,
adoration, prayer and praise,
service and sentiments.
Then we hear you saying,
“I miss you. Come and be with Me”
“I love you. Come and lean on Me”
“I desire to help and heal you. Come and rest in Me”
“I have much to teach you. Learn from Me”
“I long to hear your voice. Speak with Me”
For in our busyness we can fail
to spend time in Your Presence.
Whatever You are saying, Lord,
give us ears to hear,
hearts to respond,
spirits that are willing
and souls that delight to be with You – always.
Amen.

What does Easter symbolise for you? Is there a way you can make it more meaningful and special? I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments below.

4 Comments

  1. Lauren - Big Eejit 28th March 2013
    • Joy Lenton 29th March 2013
  2. Helen 1st April 2013
    • Joy Lenton 1st April 2013

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