Good Friday

Today, we hear two entire chapters of the Gospel of John with his account of the Passion of our Lord.

Near the end of his time on the cross, in what is called the fifth of the seven last words of Christ, we hear our Lord say, “I thirst.”

There are several ways in which we can understand this.

Yes, Jesus truly became one of us.  He took on our human nature.  He felt the same human needs that we all feel.  He thirsted.  Particularly as part of his great suffering that resulted in such massive fluid loss, he thirsted.

However, we recognize how Jesus always seemed to think of others, even during his Passion.  He consoled the women of Jerusalem.  He gave his mother to John to care for her.  He forgave his executioners.  He promised paradise to the good thief.  Even from the cross, he continued to teach all of us about the love of God.  What might he be teaching us with this expression?

Besides a human expression of physical thirst, we can see a connection to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.  We can see a reference to the living water that leads to eternal life.

We can also see a reference to the corporal works of mercy from Matthew 25, particularly “I was thirst and you gave me drink.”

It is possible to see this as an unintentionally ironic statement that the one who promises living water would speak of his thirst from the cross.  Of course, it is hard to imagine Jesus, Son of God, making such an unintentionally ironic statement.  We would do much better to see an intentional double-meaning.  One of physical thirst.  But another of thirst for doing the will of God.  For bringing his mission of sacrifice for our sake to completion.

Any reflection on this expression from our Lord would be incomplete without a reflection on our own personal connection to it.

  1. Jesus suffered and died for all of our sins.  Am I aware of my own sins and how Jesus took on the pain of my sins too?  Have I asked for forgiveness for these sins?  Do I do an Examination of Conscience and pray an Act of Contrition each evening?
  2. Am I thinking of others during our present time of suffering?  While I likely cannot give drink directly to another outside my household at this time of forced isolation, have I reached out to others to check on them?  Am I offering my own surplus of money or goods to others in need?
  3. Am I making use of any extra time to satisfy my own spiritual thirst?
  4. Do I truly thirst for doing God’s will in my life?