Hanging on the cross for hours drained the fluid from the body of our crucified Lord. It left Him parched and dry. Psalm 22 describes this coming event;
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
The Lord Jesus experienced, in His humanity, all of the pain of crucifixion. His physical body came to the final stage that only persons about to die ever reach, and He said;
Our Lord speaks through this intense thirst. Spirits do not thirst. Only human beings who have been brought to the threshold of death, as a body begins a final release of the life it has so desperately clung to, experience this type of thirst.
- A thirst that causes the tongue to cleave to the roof of the mouth.
- A thirst with such discomfort that our Lord draws attention to it in spite of the fact that there have been nails pounded through his hands and feet.
- A thirst that testifies of our Lord’s humanity.
We are reminded that our Lord spoke of thirst during His three years of ministry among the people. He said so lovingly to the woman at the well in the Gospel of John;
“… whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Near the Passover feast Jesus told the crowd;
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never thirst.”
On the last day of the feast Jesus stood and said;
“If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink.”
Yet this same Jesus, who promised to quench the thirst of others, and promised they would never again be thirsty, hung on the cross and said;
The thirst of which Jesus spoke that day as He hung on the cross was much more than the agonizing, human thirst of a man about to finish dying a long, painful death. It was the thirst spoken of by our Lord during the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew;
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied.”
- A thirst that surpassed the pain of the cross
- A thirst so intense that it is the only discomfort to which Jesus drew attention and spoke of from the cross
- A thirst that held the Lord Jesus on the cross when no nails fashioned by man could hold Him there
- This was His thirst for righteousness
- A thirst that testifies of His Divinity.
The Lord Jesus would not quench His thirst with the vinegar and gall lifted up to Him by the soldiers. He would not dull His senses or seek comfort to ease His pain and discomfort. He refused it because He knew the only way to satisfy His thirst was to die on the cross to become righteousness for mankind.
- It was this thirst for righteousness that drove Jesus to become a man in the first place.
- This thirst for righteousness was the entire purpose of His life.
- And this thirst for righteousness had brought Him to Calvary to die.