The Hebrew word thirsty means ‘desire’ for a physical or worldly thing. It also means awareness of God. Thirst is a desire: thirst for water, thirst for wealth, thirst for bodily desires and thirst for knowledge and awareness of God.
Jesus Christ uttered this word when he was passing through the last moments of his life in this world. He knew very well what was going to happen. It had been six hours since Jesus Christ was crucified. Let's see what agony Jesus Christ went through.
1. Jesus was arrested and handcuffed by soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane.
2. Jesus was taken to Hannah, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, where a man slaps Jesus.
3. Hannah sends Jesus to Caiaphas, the high priest.
4. Caiaphas sends Jesus to Pilate's castle.
5. Pilate gets him whipped. The Roman soldiers crowned him with thorns, thrashed and ridiculed him, spitting him in the face
6. Jesus carried the heavy cross and walked all the way to Golgotha.
7. The soldiers crucified him piercing nails through his hands and feet.
This Jesus Christ is the same man who said to the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” This is the same person who told the devil in the wilderness that ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. ” This is the same man who lived, in the wilderness, for forty days and nights without food. Today the same person is saying "I am thirsty". No! dear friends, this thirst is not for water. Jesus Christ was fulfilling the Scriptures. He was accomplishing his mission. He was giving mankind a model of salvation.
Jesus presented his life to us as a model. Every word and deed of Jesus is a principle of life for us. All the stages to Calvary described above are the ones that are necessary and important for salvation. One must pass through all these steps to be able to say: "I'm thirsty". If we want to know God, we will have to pass through these stages. We will have to fight with the devil in the desert for forty days and nights. We will have to control our physical and worldly desires. We will have to suffer the whips. We will have to wear a crown of thorns. We will have to be humiliated. We will have to carry a heavy cross on our shoulders while walking all the way to the top of Golgotha hill. We need to suffer the pain of nails in our hands and feet. We need to pass through the torment of hanging on the cross for six hours.
The test of thirst does not end here. Despite all these humiliations, we must forgive our trespassers. We need to tell sinners that they will be with us in paradise. We need to take care of our parents and loved ones. We need to stay in constant touch with God so that we do not reach a point where we are compelled to cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If we pass through these stages successfully, then we will be able to say earnestly: "O God, I am thirsty for your knowledge. I want to know about you. O God, reveal yourself to me. I want to be your servant. I want to be the caretaker of your house. I want to be able to forgive everyone”.
Dear friends! This thirst does not come so easily. For this thirst, one must pass through all the pangs that Jesus Christ passed through. This thirst does not come from becoming a professor, doctor, bishop, deacon, or Pope. This thirst does not come from wearing long purple robes and hanging a cross round your neck. This thirst does not come by living in large, palatial houses and neighborhoods. This thirst comes from the spirit of love and sacrifice that our Savior Jesus Christ showed us by shedding His blood on the cross.
When Jesus told the rich man to sell all his possessions. give the money to the poor and follow him, the man left disappointed because he was not thirsty for the Kingdom of Heaven.
All our prayers, rituals and worships are useless if we do not have a thirst for Jesus Christ in our hearts. Everything is useless if we do not have a thirst for Jesus' blood and flesh in our hearts. We join in the holy communion, but do we have a real thirst for the blood and flesh of Jesus in our hearts? Today we need to ask ourselves: “Are we really thirsty, or, is it just a formal thirst? We go to church every Sunday or gather at the zoom; perform some rituals and think we have worshiped God.
We need to feel the same thirst in ourselves that Jesus Christ felt on the cross. The woman. who came to fetch water from the well, could not understand what Jesus said to her, because she was thirsty for the water of this world?
A monk was sitting by the river, immersed in meditation of God. A young man came to him and said: “O servant of The Lord, help me! I want to see God”. The monk held the young man by the neck and drowned his head in the water. The young man struggled hard to breathe. After a few moments, the monk pulled him out of the water. When the young man's breathing became normal, the monk asked the young man: “What was your greatest desire when you were under water”? The young man said: “the air, because I wanted to breathe”. The monk told him: “Go away, young man and when your thirst to see God burns in your heart with the same intensity, come to me and I will help you see God”. Dear friends, if we want to see Jesus, if we want to be in the Kingdom of Heaven, we need to develop the feelings of being on the cross and utter with earnest desire: “I am thirsty”.
(Mumtaz Shah, the author, is a former professor of Psychology, Gordon College, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He has studied as post-doctoral research fellow at the Research Institute of Clinical Psychology, Tokyo University of Education, Japan. He has worked as technical consultant for Special Educational Needs in Kuwait. He is currently working as volunteer for United Apostolic Church Canada)