The whole ordeal surrounding the arrest of Jesus and the stress of the illegal trial and the physical abuse He suffered put tremendous strain on the Lord’s earthly body. In the garden, His anxiety was expressed in strong crying and tears and by hematidrosis, or the sweating of blood. On the cross, His humanity burst through with one loud cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Then, as if to signal the end of all His earthly trials, while still suspended there between heaven and earth, the Lord expressed both an earthly desire and fulfilled the scriptures at the same time when He said “I thirst” (John 19:30).
Those who have experienced great physical exertion or experienced great stress know just how dry and thirsty a person can get. Our bodies need hydration to function properly. Indeed, water makes up sixty to seventy percent of our body weight and a loss of only fifteen percent can prove fatal. In fact, water is so essential to life, you can’t live but a matter of days without it.
The children of Israel complained to Moses at Rephidim because “there was no water for the people to drink” (Ex. 17:1). “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst” (Exodus 17:3)? Because of their need for water, and the lack of water at that place, God miraculously allowed Moses to bring forth water out of a rock (Ex. 17:6).
Thirst has long been a symbol of a deep desire or need or craving for something more or something needed. God promised His people that “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water” (Isaiah 41:17-18).
Not only is physical thirst a powerful force in life, but so also is spiritual thirst. David expressed a deep, spiritual thirst when he wrote, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God” (Psalm 42:1,2)? Again David wrote, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1).
The Lord surprised the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well when he asked her “Give Me to drink” (John 4:7). When she expressed surprise that Jesus, a Jew, would ask her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink Jesus told her that He could give her “living water” (John 4:10). Jesus told her that “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13,14). Jesus was explaining to her how to draw waters out of the wells of salvation.
The only way to quench our spiritual thirst and hunger is through the Lord. Jesus said that those that hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed and shall be filled (Matt. 5:6). We learn that even ancient Israel, when they drank from the water that flowed from the rock, all drank “the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (I Cor. 10:4).
The Lord says that even to day “It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (Rev. 21:6). John was given a glimpse of heaven and was shown “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1). We can have the privilege of drinking the water of life from that same holy fountain.
If you are thirsting for something more in life, if you thirst after righteousness, then your thirst can be quenched with living water drawn out of the well of salvation. The Lord suffered great thirst so that our thirst for God could be quenched. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).
Eric L. Padgett