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“I thirst”

John 19:28

The fourth cry from the cross, “I thirst,” is another insight into what the six hours on the cross meant to the Savior. They also afford insight into:

His Care for the Scriptures

A numbing drink was offered when they arrived at Golgotha (Matt 27:33). Luke records how in mockery, the soldiers toyed with Him, feigning to offer Him vinegar and retracting it from His lips (Luke 23:36). But the Scripture said, “In My thirst, they gave Me vinegar to drink” (Ps 69:21). The Scripture was not fulfilled when they offered the gall to mitigate His sufferings or the vinegar to mock His sufferings. It must be “In My thirst.”

As He was upon the cross, the Lord Jesus realized one Scripture had to be fulfilled. To accomplish it, He said, “I thirst.” His perfect knowledge and His concern for every verse in the Word of God is revealed in His words from Calvary. If in the extremity of Calvary, He was careful with every Word of God, we can have full confidence that He will fulfill every promise now that He is on the throne.

The Mirroring of the Spiritual

But in His words, there is mirrored something of the experience of His soul. In Psalm 42, the Psalmist longed for the presence of God. Perhaps it was David during one of those periods of time when he was not able to be in Jerusalem. He expressed his longing by saying, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God (Ps 42:2). Soul thirst for God marked him in his exile.

If David, a mere man, could experience spiritual thirst for the presence of God, how great must have been the depths of thirst in the soul of the Lord Jesus as He longed for the enjoyment of the fellowship which had been His for eternity. We know so little of the presence of God that we cannot begin to measure the agony and suffering to His soul that its absence brought to Him. He alone knew it in its fullest possible measure. He was “dried up like a potsherd” (Ps 22:15) as all the moisture of His soul was drained during His six hours on the tree.

In those hours upon the tree when His soul was made “an offering for sin” (Isa 53:10), He experienced a thirst that no earthly stream could ever satisfy.

 The Future for the Sinner

Most solemn of all, is the fact that the spiritual thirst of the Lord Jesus is a harbinger of the eternal thirst of those who will know separation from God eternally. It will not be a thirst for God as they have never “tasted” and seen that the Lord is good. But it will be a thirst for all that once filled them and brought them a measure of satisfaction on earth. The proud and boastful will have no one to admire him. The powerful will have no one to rule over. The self-indulgent will never find broken cisterns at which they once drank. Eternal thirst, eternal emptiness, eternal longings never satisfied.

 The Prospect for the Saved

To the woman at the well, He promised, “shall never thirst” (John 4:14). In Revelation, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more” (Rev 7:16). Every “thirst” will be eternally slacked. Every longing of the heart satisfied eternally. He thirsted that we might never thirst!


  1. Why is “thirst” such an apt metaphor for a deeper unseen longing in the human heart?

Monday Meditations are prepared by Dr. Sandy Higgins. Its purpose is to give believers truth to think about and develop in their own minds and hearts throughout the week. Ultimately, as the week progresses, daily worship will result in hearts full of adoration for the Lord Jesus on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) as believers gather to remember Him.

Print this off. Keep it nearby for the week. Jot down your thoughts and responses to each question. What other questions come to your mind as you meditate on this verse?