After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), "I thirst." John 19:28
* Meditation on the Fifth Word
There is a kind of timelessness about hanging on a cross.
It is not a quiet death,
over in an instant in one glorious moment of martyrdom
like being torn apart by lions.
A cross is as much an instrument of torture
as it is a gallows from which to hang,
And as the day wears on
seconds stretch into minutes which stretch into hours
until there comes a point when time can no longer be measured
except in the gradual weakening of the body
and its ever more insistent demands
for that substance which is so vital to life
so foundational to all living things
so basic to existence as we know it: -- water.
Water to moisten a parched mouth
Water to free a swollen tongue
Water to open a rasping throat that cannot gasp enough air.
Water to keep hope alive
to keep life alive just a few moments longer.
Water, to a crucified man, is life.
"O God, thou art my God, I seek thee,
my soul thirsts for thee;
my flesh faints for thee
as in a dry and weary land where no water is."
Who can tell if these words from Psalm 63 went through Jesus mind
but a thirst for water is a thirst for life
and a thirst for life is a thirst for God
who promises streams in the desert
mighty rivers in the dry land
and living water to wash away every tear.
Here, at the end of it all those promises seem far away, -
And yet Jesus - forsaken by God
still clings to the memory and the hope of life.
Richard J. Fairchild