Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
God thirsts to be thirsted after.
I may be mistaken, but I think this is the only statement Jesus makes in the Gospel that reflects his bodily need. During his years of ministry, he doesn’t complain about a headache or backache, or sore feet, or a bad cold or feeling hungry. In one story, the writer John says Jesus is tired after a journey to Samaria where he sits down to rest at noon and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water from the well. As they talk, she asks for “living water” from him–her thirst, despite having easy access to a well, exceeds his.
So it is from the cross. He has extreme thirst, no question. He is offered vinegar on a sponge–hardly an answer to thirst–what we offer to him in his need is not worthy of spit. We stand beneath the cross with our own unquenchable thirst–unsatisfied by money or gadgets or status or power or pleasure or gallons of drink– that is slaked only as this man offers himself to us.
He tells us of his thirst so we remember our own deep need, unmet and unsatisfied until “it is finished.”
Only then we drink freely and deeply.