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Fifth Sunday of Lent

Seven last words

Word Five – Distress

Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst." John 19:28

Being thirsty – parched, panting, desperate for a drink, dehydrated, dried out, gasping to the point of ‘distress.’ Our bodies do need water to live. But is this the thirst that Jesus is referring to in this scene?

‘I Thirst’: What Did Jesus Mean?

By Taylor Tripodi | Apr 23, 2019 | Discovery


When you imagine the face of Jesus, what do you see?

How do you picture him?

Is he kind and serene? Strong and bold?

Is he extending his hand in mercy?

There’s so many images of Jesus, and he reveals himself to us in many ways …  I don’t think of him all bloodied and cringing in pain on the Cross from the wounds of his passion, and yet, that is the Jesus we meet. We meet our God, victorious though he is, in his passion sacrifice eternally presented before the heavenly Father. We sit like Mary and John at the foot of the Cross and behold the wounded face of our saviour in the pangs of death.

As we behold him, we hang on every word he says while he is suspended there fighting for his every breath. Jesus never spoke a word in vain. Everything he did and said had purpose – and even more so as he died on the Cross. In the Gospels, we find the “Seven Last Words of Jesus”— all of them imbued with so much depth for each of us individually and as a Church …

Even though we serve a God who has conquered sin and death, we are all given this image of Our Lord to reflect on as we hear his final words from the Cross.

What was he trying to convey by saying, “I thirst”?

What purpose did those words have?


What is thirst? … it is a feeling of emptiness — or extreme dehydration that needs to be quenched. In his final moments on the Cross, we see Jesus submitting himself to very human, vulnerable feelings of emptiness and need both in body and spirit. He allows himself to be brought to the pit of all thirst. He feels bodily thirst as he’s pushed to his limits near death. His body is laid bare for all to look upon, spit upon, and mock.

Even his thirst is a burning desire to give! The very nature of true love is gift —and what is Jesus’ thirst as he hangs there on the Cross? His thirst is a desire to pour out love and mercy. A love that is literally dying to pour out upon us from his pierced side. His thirst will not be quenched until we stop rejecting his love and make an act of surrender and trust to receive his love.

His Thirst Meets Our Thirst

St. Teresa of Calcutta was very devoted to the thirsting Christ on the Cross. She told the sisters: “‘I thirst’ is something much deeper than Jesus just saying, ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you — you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him.”

I Have Loved You - Michael Joncas

“Even now, Jesus still thirsts for us. He experienced the thirst of all [humankind] on the Cross — the unique thirst of every human heart who longs to be satisfied and fully known. And in that thirst, he wants to give us living water; the living water of his divine mercy and love. The same living water Jesus offered the woman at the well, the same blood and water that pours from his side, the same living water that he promised us in the Gospel:

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and let the one who believes in me drink.”  John 7:37 (March 1993, Letter to the Missionaries of Charity)

The Chosen

Come to the Water

My Soul is Thirsting - Michael Joncas


  •     What do you thirst for in your life?

  •     What has been your experience of a ‘desert time’?

  •     How do you quench your thirst for ‘living water’?

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