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17 April 2014

Jesus on the cross: Reflection 5

Jesus on the cross: Reflection 5

"I thirst"

I've not experienced extreme thirst. The most striking time, however, was one long night when some friends and I hiked the nine-mile Grand Portage in Minnesota, strapped with canoes and camping gear. After miles of walking under the stars, our canteens ran dry. Eventually we scooped up some stagnant water from puddles to slake our thirst.

But Jesus has. As The Message says: "…Jesus went through everything you're going through and more…" (1 Peter 4:1). He knows the most extreme parched feeling - your tongue sticking to the roof of your mouth, your head pounding and throat dry. The God-man, who was with his Father at the creation of the seas and the dry lands, took on the limits of becoming a man, and thirsted.

He thirsted physically. His body stretched over the perpendicular wood, propped up by the nails in his feet so that he wouldn't die too quickly, his heart rate increasing as he gasped for breath. Offered wine vinegar by the soldiers, he drank, pronounced his work finished, and breathed his last.

And he thirsts in his spirit, longing for our hearts of stone to become hearts of flesh. For us to turn from our waywardness, even as the criminal hanging next to him on the cross did. For us to repent of our selfishness, pride, anger, greed and envy and to receive his forgiveness, which washes us clean so we might offer those we meet a cup of cold quenching water.

May his living water flow through us this day.

Nails piercing tendons
Body sagging
Breath escaping
Tongue dry
"I thirst"

Clothes divided
Body pierced
Bystanders heckling
Family broken
"I thirst"

Betrayals endured
Obedience embodied
Forgiveness offered
Love extended
"I thirst"

Darkness descends
A spirit yielded
A cry emerging
Last breath expelled
Thirsting no more

"It is finished" © 2014 Amy Boucher Pye

Amy BP
Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker, editor and reviewer. She lives in a spacious but draughty Victorian vicarage with her family in North London. She blogs at www.amyboucherpye.com and tweets at @AmyBoucherPye.

Words of Jesus on the cross Holy Week reflections series