The cross was a brutal way to die.

Being executed on the cross meant that there were multiple possible causes of death – blood loss, asphyxiation, dehydration; amongst others.

After hanging on the cross for around 6 hours, in His final moments Jesus expressed: “I am thirsty” (John 19:28-30)

In response, Jesus is not given any water but those that were standing around the cross soaked a sponge in soured wine, put it on a stick and lifted it up to His mouth for Him to drink.

It’s a last act of cruelty. A final deed of the hardened hearts of humanity. He is totally and finally rejected.

Jesus would have been desperately dehydrated, His last drink would have come from the night before at the last supper, before the beatings, before the crown of thorns roughly stuck onto His head, and before the nails were driven through His hands and feet.

Jesus was thirsty, and yet, this was not just about water.

Every human being can experience physical thirst, and every human being does experience spiritual thirst.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic it’s exposed in me that I often look for my spiritual satisfaction in the wrong places. It’s easier to zone out and watch Netflix rather than turn to the Word when I’m anxious (maybe it’s just me?).

We often look for in others, and in things, what we can only find in Jesus.

Our thirst is not quenched by what others give us, that’s just soured wine, it doesn’t fill us, and it doesn’t help us.

We often look for in others, and in things, what we can only find in Jesus. Our thirst is not quenched by what others give us, that’s just soured wine, it doesn’t fill us, and it doesn’t help us.

Jesus refers to this spiritual thirst through His earthly ministry.

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)

“…but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” (John 4:14)

Jesus launched His ministry with His first miracle by turning water into wine. (John 2:1-11)

At the cross, we come full circle. Jesus finishes His earthly ministry by receiving wine.

The wine that the world gives can only be the wine of death and sorrow.

The wine that Jesus gives is the wine of life and joy.

We need His wine of life; that is what we long for, that is what we are all looking for.

In His final moments on the cross, Jesus resonates with all of humanity here through His desire to quench His thirst.

In His declaration that he is thirsty He points us once again to the great truth that:

He thirsted so we never have to thirst again.

He was rejected so that we will never be rejected.

He died on that cross so that in Him we could find everlasting life.


Reflect

Which area in your life are you currently looking for someone or something other than Jesus to satisfy you? E.g. A relationship, financial security, approval from others?

Think back, when did you first realise that you had this spiritual thirst? If you’ve never realised that you need Jesus, get in touch and I’d love to chat more.


Thanks for reading, please share in the comments your reflections or any questions that you have about what Jesus’ death on the cross means, I’d love to hear from you, Dan 🙂