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
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.
Jesus as Living Water to the thirsty
- 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
We have no difficulty seeing our need
and our souls require daily watering
For in our busyness we can fail
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.