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“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water”

(Psalm 63:1).


Hunger and thirst are the two human appetites that can only be solved with either food or drink and neither can satisfy the other. Although I might drink a coke to appease my hunger pains from time to time, it‘s a temporary fix, a booster shot (if you will) that gets me to the dining room table without completely spoiling my dinner.

On the average, science tells us we can make it three weeks or longer without food (Mahatma Gandhi survived 21 days of complete starvation), thirst, however, must be quenched much sooner. We are told the longest a person can go without water is one week, and that is said to be “a generous estimate”. More often than not, three days without water will get your dead body on a gurney and a ride to the funeral home.

Considering Jesus’ saying from the cross, “I thirst”. The adult body is made up of at least 60% water, and every living cell and organ must have it to survive. Water acts as a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature through sweating and respiration, and helps to flush waste. There is simply no telling how much fluid loss Jesus experienced as a result of the profuse bleeding from being scourged and nailed to the cross, not to mention the buckets of sweat free-flowing from every pore as he carried his cross. The fact is, you can’t even exhale without losing water vapor – this was dehydration at its worst.

According to WebMD, dehydration can cause “dry mouth and swollen tongue (see Psalm 22:15), weakness, dizziness, palpitations, confusion and, fainting”. You can add to that list, extreme headache, muscle cramps and more, none of which (to say the least) are pleasant and quite possibly all of the above adding to Jesus’ extreme suffering – he was human too, you’ll remember. But if we are to stop at that, seeing only the physical side of the coin, we will miss the boat.

Jesus once told a woman he met at a well in Samaria who had come to draw, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). “Oh yeah! I’ll take some of that. These buckets are heavy and this daily trip to draw water is getting old”, she, in essence, tells Jesus (4:15). Question, do you not find it somewhat ironic that the very source of the living water Jesus offered her would say, “I thirst”?

From the human vantage point, I suppose there is irony; but the Lord’s thirst was for something much more than water. The psalmist defines it best writing in prophetic voice:

“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land”

(Psalm 143:6).

For all practical purposes at this moment the mission was accomplished, the work complete, it was finished (John 19:28). Made clear in his rejecting the drink that was lifted to his scorched lips (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23), Jesus’ real thirst was not out of physical need. His longing, what he wanted most was to fulfill all that had been written concerning him to the very last detail (Psalm 69:21) and for relationship, for community – “my soul thirsts for you, O God”.

 More than anything, Jesus wanted to go home, to be with the Father; to walk in community with him. Amidst the pain, I can almost hear him sing that old hymn,

“This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.

Oh Lord, you know
I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home
Then Lord what will I do.

The angels beckon me
From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home
In this world anymore.”

Being followers of Jesus we (as was said of Abraham) are strangers, foreigners existing in a strange land “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10); so that at the end of life’s journey we have this sure and certain hope: “[We] will never again be hungry or thirsty; [we] will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. For the Lamb on the throne will be [our] Shepherd. He will lead [us] to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 7:16-17 NLT).

It is the mission of Community Life Church (c|Life) to connect people to God and one another (I pray the same is true of the church you attend). Personally, I believe this moment in our Lord’s life to set precedence as to why Community is such a vital part of our identity as a church. We understand that if Jesus needed it – we need it too. Thus, we extend to all the invitation of Revelation 22:17: “Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”


Sidebar: If you have an extra few minutes, click the link and listen to one of my all-time favorite songs, “Drawing From The Well” by Dallas Holm, Tim Shepard & Phil Johnson. It has been to me a source of inspiration from the first time I heard it over 30 years ago, and continues to replenish my thirsting soul today.





I gratefully acknowledge the pastors of the Community Life Church (Forney, Kaufman, Rockwall and Sunnyvale, Texas) for their inspiring sermons in the “Last Words” sermon series currently being taught. Learn more about us at  http://www.clifec.com

Works Cited:

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version of the Bible © 2001–2016 Crossway. All rights reserved

“NLT” New Living Translation © 2008 Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

1)   “Here’s How Many Days A Person Can Survive Without Water” by Dina Spector

2)   “Dehydration in Adults” WebMD

3)   “This World Is Not My Home” by Jim Reeves