I am Thirsty: A Meditation on Good Friday
There is a profound spiritual image that motivates me in my quest to quench the deepest of desires. Jesus, on the cross, just before he uttered his final words, “It is finished,” said something no one expected, and most of us still have no clue what to make of or what he meant. He said, “I am thirsty.” I am thirsty. What did he mean, in this most solemn, serious and sacrificial moment? I imagine that, like all expressions of truth in this life, there is more than one meaning. On one level, here was a dying man attempting to catch his breath, in deepest pain – he desperately needed something to drink. He was given a sponge dipped in inferior wine and maybe that helped him in some way – maybe it refreshed him and eased a bit of his pain. I hope so. Perhaps Jesus was simply reminding us of his humanity and his human needs. But was that all he meant? I don’t think so. I think Jesus in that moment in that expression was using a powerful image to describe his deepest longing and desire – a longing that offers a kind of life for which we can eventually look back and say, “By the grace of God and the help of my loved ones, somehow, I did it. Mission accomplished.” Indeed, it is finished. Although I may die – at least I know that I have fully lived. Like St. Irenaeus observed in a truth by which I try to live my life: “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.” Jesus thirsted for real authentic life – for communion, for connection, for relationship – for love. For God. For you. For me. Jesus thirsted for that which cannot be bottled or brewed or shaken or stirred, reminding us that there is a kind of thirst that cannot be quenched by anything other than the most powerful spirit, something more potent than any beverage on earth. May we thirst for the kind of life that he lived. May we thirst for the deepest connection with our God and with each other. May we thirst for the love that would sacrifice everything to break down every barrier and redeem every human being, bringing them fully alive in Christ’s love.
From an Introduction to my book, The Beer Drinker’s Guide to God