Wednesday, January 14, 2009



                                        The fifth word of Jesus from the Cross, "I am thirsty" { John 19: 28 } is an expression of the sufferings of God abandoned by man. The Creator needs the creations just as the shepherd needs his sheep.
In the state of severe suffering, intense pain and large loss of blood which Jesus was subjected to, physical thirst would be natural. Just before His crucifixion, He was offered a concoction of wine mixed with the drug, myrrh { Mark 15: 23, Matthew 27: 34 }. It was a drink usually given to criminals before crucifixion to reduce the sensation of pain by dulling the senses. But Jesus refused the drink as He preferred to willingly suffer the agony of the Passion in full for the redemption of humanity.

                                        Here, hanging on the Cross, the God who created the galaxies in space, stationed the stars in the sky and placed the planets in their proper orbits, moans for the mercy of man! He created the clouds, oceans, rivers and waterfalls, divided the sea, brought water from the rock, walked over water, turned water into wine and later, wine into His blood. But at Calvary, He cries aloud for a drop of water to drink.

                                          Jesus had declared,"Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink. As the scripture says, 'Whoever believes in me, streams of life-giving water will pour out from his heart'" {John 7:37, 38}.

                                        To the Samaritan woman, He had promised the Life-giving water. "Whoever drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life-giving water and give him eternal life" { John 4: 10, 13, 14 }.

                                        He could have quenched His thirst easily; by performing a miracle. But He did not do any miracle for Himself. In response to the request of Jesus, the soldiers soaked a sponge with cheap, sour and bad wine (vinegar) and fixed it to the end of a stalk of hyssop and lifted it up to His lips. Jesus accepted it { John 19: 29 }. These events were foretold by Prophet David in his Psalms: "My throat is as dry as dust, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth" { Psalms 22:15 } and "When I was hungry, they gave me poison; When I was thirsty, they offered me vinegar" { Psalms 69:21 }.

                                        The use of hyssop to bring the vinegar close to His mouth and in contact with His blood is seen as a sign of purification of man by His Sacred Sacrifice. Stalk of the hyssop plant was dipped in the blood of the Paschal lamb and used to apply the blood on the door-posts and the beam above the door to escape the avenging angel during the first Passover { Exodus 12: 21, 22 }. David wanted to be purified from his sins with hyssop { Psalms 51:7 }. The hyssop was prescribed in the Old Testament to sprinkle blood to cleanse lepers { Leviticus 14: 1-7 }. Moses sealed the covenant by sprinkling blood using the hyssop { Hebrews 9: 18-22 }. It is believed that Jesus died on the cross at the time when the Chief Priest killed the Paschal lamb in the Temple. Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world { John 1:29 }. He was slain for our sins.
                                        The thirst of Jesus was a yearning for souls, a thirst to transform, redeem and sanctify every human being. It gives us the message of Evangelisation. Let us serve as humble instruments of Jesus to save the souls enslaved by Satan. Let us strive to serve and meet the needs of our suffering siblings. Let us be blessed to hear these words from Jesus, during the Final Judgment: "I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink" { Matthew 25: 35 }.

By: N.G.Philip, Bethel, Nalamchira, Thiruvananthapuram-695015, Kerala, India & Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.
This is Message No. 56 in this site. Please click ‘Older Posts’ at the bottom of this page to read previous posts and click 'Newer Posts' at the bottom of this page to read newer posts in this site.

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