Day 34: I Thirst

Day 34: I Thirst

“My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (Psalm 22:15).

“Later, knowing that all was completed, and so that Scriptures would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty’” (John 19:28).


After a long day of trials and beatings, and hanging in the heat on the cross, of course Jesus was thirsty. Once again, John makes it clear that even as Jesus was suffering for us on the cross, He was cognizant of His need to fulfill Scripture. So, as He called out in need, He was also fulfilling David’s description of this day. Barnes’ Notes says, “Thirst was one of the most distressing circumstances attending the crucifixion. The wounds were highly inflamed, and a raging fever was caused usually by the sufferings on the cross, and this was accompanied by insupportable thirst.”

The Gospels tell us that those near the cross put some sour wine on a sponge and lifted it up to Him. This was not meant as a kindness. This cheap wine was kept on hand to give to the victims in order to keep them alive longer and prolong the agony. But in Jesus’ case we are told, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished’”; it was not much longer before He died.

Someone else suggested that Jesus asked for this drink in order that He might have the wherewithal to give His final words. As David had described, after all this time on the cross, His tongue was sticking to the roof of His mouth. Speaking would be difficult, if not impossible. This brief drink would certainly not ease His discomfort, but it might have been what He needed to enable Him to speak His last words, as well as speak to His full humanity.

David also mentions another drink that was offered to Jesus. In Psalm 69:21 he writes, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Matthew says, “Then they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall’ but after tasting it, he refused to drink it” (Matt. 27:34). This exchange was a different time than the “I thirst” incident near the end. MacArthur tells us that, “the Jews had a custom of administering a pain-deadening medication mixed with wine to victims of crucifixion in order to deaden the pain. Tasting what it was, Christ, though would not drink it, lest it dull His senses before He completed His work.”

• What does it mean to you that He would forgo anything that would ease His suffering, such as the offer of the painkiller?
• Between now and Good Friday, any time you are thirsty, try to allow that to cause you to think of Jesus’ thirst on the cross for you.

Lord, I have thirsted to the point of discomfort, but not agony. Allow even this common thirst to draw me to You. Help my soul to truly thirst for You!

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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