I Thirst

The fifth sentence of Jesus Christ on the cross

Tina S
Tina S
Apr 6, 2010
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John 19:28 -- After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture, "I thirst."


This saying perhaps represents the total humanity of Jesus, and the thirst for God of those who are put far from him. As he is given sour wine to drink, soaked in a sponge on a hyssop stem, this may be a reference to Psalm 69:21, where sour wine is offered. It may allude to Jesus' statement about drinking the cup that the Father gives him (John 18:11).

It is near the end of Jesus' human life. He senses it.He has hung on the cross for six hours now.

It has become hard for Jesus to even get a breath. Hung from his arms, he must pull himself up each time he wants to breathe. His shoulders ache, his mouth is parched. He is exhausted.

And yet he does not want to die without a final word. He asks for something to drink to wet his lips for this final effort.

"Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips." (John 19:28-29)

A Roman soldier poured some cheap sour wine onto a sponge and lifted it up on a hyssop branch to the lips of Jesus. While a condemned criminal might be able to drink wine prior to being crucified, drinking from a cup while hanging on the cross wasn't practical. So when Jesus indicated his thirst, the soldiers used a sponge to give him posca to slake his thirst.

What was a sponge (Greek sponges) doing on Golgotha that day? It seems scarcely the thing you'd expect to find. Again, sponges were part of a Roman soldier's kit. Sponges were found along the Mediterranean coast, were widely used in ancient times to line and pad a soldier's helmet. Soldiers also used sponges as drinking vessels.

No doubt one of the soldiers offered Jesus a drink of posca from his own supply, using his own sponge. A soldier wasn't required to share his drink with the criminals under his care. But he had seen that Jesus was dying unlike any other criminal he had ever seen. No cursing, no blaming, no anger.


"O God, thou art my  God, I seek thee,

my soul thirsts for thee;

my flesh faints for thee

as in a dry and weary land where no water is."

Who can tell if these words from Psalm 63 went through Jesus mind

but a thirst for water is a thirst for life

and a thirst for life is a thirst for God

who promises streams in the desert

mighty rivers in the dry land

and living water to wash away every tear.

Here, at the end of it all those promises seem far away, -


And yet Jesus - forsaken by God

still clings to the memory and the hope of life.

"I thirst."

A father asked his son what he wanted for his birthday. He quietly looked up after a moment of thought and asked, “Anything?” His father quickly said, “yes.” The boy responded, “I’d like peace in the world.” The father said, “let’s start small.” The boys said, “okay, how ‘bout a new baseball glove?” 

Can we hear the echo of “I thirst” in this? 

At the foot of the cross, if we listen carefully, we most certainly can. 


Author's note: Ref:The Holy Bible
Keywords: I Thirst,John 19:28 ,John 18:11,Psalm 69:21,God,Bible,Jesus,human,needs,water,wine, hyssop,criminal,spomge,Golgotha,helmet,posca.

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