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Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II The Seven Last Words, 05 April 2023
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in win on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
This is one of the remarkable scenes in the fourth gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ feeling thirsty, the second time as recorded by John. The first was in the town of Sychar in Samaria when Jesus sat by Jacob’s well at noon and asked a Samaritan woman who came to draw water, “Give me a drink” (Jn. 4:7). A beautiful conversation followed between Jesus who was thirsty and the Samaritan woman, thirsting for God, for love and mercy.
Unlike being hungry for food which we can always bear because its feeling is localized in the stomach that we can easily forego by catching some sleep, thirst is different. When we are thirsty, we feel our whole body sapped dry even to our fingertips that we feel so weak, even affecting our mental faculties. That is why, thirst means more than physical but something deeper that concerns our very soul and being.
Here we find Jesus truly human, thirsting not just for water like us but most of all, for love and attention.
See also that for John, water is one of the most significant signs of Jesus Christ. His first “sign” as John would call his miracles was at the wedding feast at Cana when Jesus turned water into wine. After that wedding, Nicodemus came to Jesus at night where he first mentioned the need to be born in water and spirit (Jn. 3:5). It was after that night when Jesus went to Sychar and asked water from the Samaritan woman with whome he identified himself as “the living water (Jn. 4:10)”.
Here again is Jesus thirsty, but not just asking for water.
How foolish are we in responding to him like the Roman soldiers who gave him an ordinary wine. Worst, there are times we give him tepid, or perhaps turbid water that tastes so awful like that ordinary wine offered by the Romans at Golgotha.
Here is our living water, Jesus Christ who promised that “whoever drinks the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn. 4:14) thirsting for us, for our love and attention because he alone can quench our thirsts in life.
Jesus is the wife and mother who thirsts for the love and affection of her unfaithful husband and wayward son or daughter who think only of themselves.
Jesus is the husband and father who thirsts for simple calls and expressions of concern from his family those back home while toiling abroad or in the high seas as an OFW or thirsting for understanding and care from those around him when he forgets so many things due to Alzheimer’s or paralyzed by a stroke or handicap.
Jesus is the young man or woman who thirsts for time and presence of a sibling or parents who could not find meaning and directions in life despite the money, clothes and gadgets the world offers.
Jesus is the person nearest to you thirsting for warmth and company, or simply a smile or a friendly gaze that assures him or her that “you are welcomed”.
Let us not be like those Roman soldiers or that Samaritan woman looking for material water to give Jesus present in every person we meet. Many times, the best water is found inside our hearts, deep in our souls where Jesus dwells with his abounding love and mercy, kindness and forgiveness. Let us thirst more for Jesus for he alone can quench our thirsts!
Let us pray:
Dearest Lord Jesus, forgive me when I quench my thirst with things the world offers that often leave me more thirsty, more dry, more empty; let me have more of YOU to share more of YOU our living water who quenches our deepest thirsts for life's meaning and fulfillment. Amen.