After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” – John 19:28
What was Jesus thirsting for? Many scholars believe that Jesus was thirsty because he craving some relief for his parched body hanging out in the blazing Middle Eastern sun. In his humanity Jesus was like us and endured all of the frailties of human existence. When we look to the cross this Holy Week we know that the One hanging there understands all of our humanity. We have a God who knows our struggles, our disappointments, our fears, our temptations; we are not alone in our suffering.
There is another understanding of these words, “I thirst.” The night before Jesus carried the cross to the mount, he prayed about drinking from a cup that he wished he would not have to drink from:
“He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42)
Jesus was embracing an old Hebrew metaphor of death in these words. What is Jesus thirsting for? He is asking to drink from the cup of death. He drinks the cup of death so that our souls who quench for Life never have to drink this cup. Jesus was thirsty for us so we never have to be thirsty again. – Ron Friesen