It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
It's been a common topic as we have been on the road these last several days. Traveling with so many small people means that we have to make sure we are within reasonable distance of a rest stop before we allow unmitigated water bottle consumption.
Thirst is an amazing little warning system for the body. We can survive for a while without food, but our hydration needs require daily attention. Our bodies are over 60% water and a long run or a long sleep can quickly remind us of how much we need to replenish those stores.
And we were also created with a thirst of the soul.
We begin to notice that thirst when we are traveling through a dry patch of the heart, those times we notice our stores of compassion and patience, faith and hope beginning to wither. We can become parched by the dry dust of daily life.
But we often can confuse the signal.
Some scientists believe that one of the reasons we may overeat is that we are confusing physical thirst with hunger. Instead of reaching for a cooling glass of water, our brains may sometimes misread the signal and we find ourselves noshing on salty snacks, searching for satiation but finding none.
And we can sometimes confuse that thirst of the soul as well.
We try to fill the void. Retail therapy, realtionships that distract us in their drama but leave us more depleted. Causes, charities, hobbies, addictions, all things that we try to cram in the empty places of the heart, but not finding that quenching.
But there is a fountain.
A fountain that has what our souls are searching for.
A place where we can immerse ourselves.
It is the fountain of life that is Him.
Jesus understands this thirst of the soul. He came to the cross thirsty. The Roman soldiers, before the put the nails into his hands and feet, offered Him a mixture of myrrh and wine, a balm against the pain that was to come. Jesus tasted of this cup, but then refused it, accepting no buffer against the agony of the cross. He refused this cup of the world, and then they crucified Him.
But there is a moment. A moment at the very end.
In the book of John, we read that Jesus has been on the cross for six hours. He has cried out to God, forsaken and alone. And then we read these words, one of His final utterances.
Jesus says, "I thirst."
He again is offered a drink from the cup of the world. Now, at the end, He drinks the bitter vinegar they give Him. He drinks and then He gives up His spirit, returning to the Father.
Was He thirsty for this bitter drink, this cup of vinegar?
He was thirsty for God.
And in drinking from this cup of the world, in taking the world's best remedy against loneliness and pain, He completes all that must be done and fulfills the prophecy of Psalm 69:19-21.
I have to wonder.
I have to wonder if those hours on the cross were the first time He had ever known in His human experience the absence of the presence of the Father.
And in that experience, He thirsted alone for God.
We come thirsty. We come to the cross of Christ, knowing that the world can't offer what we need for the quenching of our souls. We come like little children, pastel sippy cups extended from sticky hands. Because He has already taken of the world's cup for us, we no longer have to sip of its bitter gall. He offers something sweeter, something better. Something that is flavored with eternity. Something that can truly quench our souls. And all we must do is tell Him that we are thirsty.
And He will dip our cups in the fountain of life.