Lent Devotions 2009: Wednesday 8th April

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the Scripture), ‘I thirst.’ “ John 19:28

Today I was sitting with someone waiting to go into surgery. They had been forbidden to drink any liquids for 10 hours before the surgery. As you might expect as the minutes and hours went on, the desire to have a drink increased manifold. Eventually the surgery took place, and waiting in the recovery room was a lovely cup of hot tea. It looked like that cup of tea was really enjoyed.

Earlier in this Gospel you might recall that Jesus cries out “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (7:37). We can come to Jesus and drink because He is the one who possesses the Living Water (7:38; 4:14). But now, Jesus is hanging on the cross, dying, and it is He who is thirsty. But for what is He thirsty?

Jesus has just drunk the full dregs of God’s wrath on our behalf as He hung on the cross. The full punishment of hell had almost choked Him with its bitter taste of God’s absence. But now that the debt had been paid in full, Jesus could once again thirst for the Living Waters of complete fellowship with His Father. He longed to drink deeply of this. Remember anew His words, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mt. 5:6). Jesus’ thirst for righteousness took Him to the cross where God’s righteous will was done. And because Jesus thirsted for God’s righteousness, He now gives that same righteousness and fellowship to us freely so that we too may drink and be satisfied.

As the deer pants for the water,
So my soul longs after You.
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You.
You alone are my strength, my shield,
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart’s desire,
And I long to worship You.

(758 Supplement 851 verse 1)