The Fifth Saying

Jenny Allen
7 April 2023

As a nurse, a midwife, a mother and a grandmother one of my passions is babies! The story of the birth of Jesus never gets old and my heart resonates with Mary, the young mother who stored up in her heart the unusual signs and messages around the birth of her son. My heart also resonates with Mary in the Easter narrative. I have a son who is about the age that Jesus was when he died. My son is wonderful but he isn’t perfect. I can only imagine how Mary felt.

After Jesus handed the care of his mother to his disciple, John’s account of the crucifixion continues: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.” John 19:28 ESV

This is such a heartrending image. This is the King, the friend of sinners, the Healer, the Bright Morning Star and the One to whom all glory and honour belongs, yet He is here, suffocating on a Roman cross, whipped, beaten, mocked and thirsty.

This was the one who told the woman at the well to ask him for living water, that she would never thirst again after receiving it, “ Whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

This was the one who just a few days ago stood and declared “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7: 37)

How could this Living Water be thirsty?
Sometimes it can be tempting to imagine that because Jesus is God, that maybe being crucified wasn’t as bad for Him as it would be for an ordinary man. His call of "I thirst” banishes this thought. This man is fully God and fully human, hurting, thirsting and worst of all, separated from his Abba

Father God for the first time ever, bearing the weight of God’s wrath and the sin of the world, both unimaginable to our limited minds.
Instead of cool, refreshing, relieving water he drinks the cup of wrath.
A few hours earlier Jesus had pleaded with his Father to take this cup from him, asking if there was some other way. Yet he chose to be obedient to God, although he was tempted, he chose the Father’s will.

He drank the bitter gall and vinegar to fulfill the Davidic prophesy of Psalm 69, foretelling the king being hunted by his enemies: “ You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you” ( vs 19).

He took the cup of wrath because He loves us so much He gave up his life for us. The sacrificial, spotless lamb dying to secure our salvation in perfect obedience.
He drank it because of the joy set before him, scorning the shame of the cross because of the glory that was to come.( Hebrews 12:2)

The biblical account gives us the rest of the story of the next few days and the glory and triumph of the resurrection.
We who are followers of this living water King can remind ourselves of the joy and glory set before us:

No more sin, no more tears, no more thirst. The Sacrificial Lamb is now the risen Christ, the Alpha and Omega seated on the throne from which streams of living water flow through the new Jerusalem. Let’s turn our hearts to worship Him and give Him all glory as we remember this at Easter time.

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