I thirst. – John 19:28.
Consider what the Savior had suffered so far; and now He was in bodily anguish at the point of death.
In prophecy He Himself relates this as follows: “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:14-15). But Jesus also knew that all things were now accomplished that were necessary for our salvation. Just before He died, Jesus said: “I thirst.” Does that not touch one’s heart? Now there was a vessel full of vinegar; and straightway one of them that stood by ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed of hyssop, and put it to His mouth and gave Him to drink. But in doing it, he mockingly remarked, together with the others: “Let Him alone: let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down!”
The drink offered to Jesus at the start of His crucifixion (which He did not receive) as well as that which He did receive just before death fulfilled another prophecy which He Himself had spoken through the mouth of David: “They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21). After saying: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?,” His next statement was: “I thirst.”
Realize that Christ tasted all the anguish of death and damnation which we sinners have deserved, all before allowing Himself a drink of liquid. By His suffering, He secured for us the tender loving care of God in the hour of our death. He will care for us more tenderly than a mother cares for her sick and restless child, and through His Holy Spirit will soothe us into a blessed sleep.
PRAYER. – Lord Jesus Christ, since Thou didst suffer all, yes, truly, all things for me and for my soul’s welfare, I pray Thee: When the anguish of death shall come upon me, when my strength shall leave me, when my heart shall break with fear, when all human aid must vanish, do come and help me, shorten the agony of death, drive the evil spirits from me, comfort me with the comfort of Thy salvation, and let me gently fall asleep in Thee. Amen.
That thirst and bitter draught of Thine
Let help me bear with patience mine;
Thy piercing cry uphold my soul,
When floods of anguish o’er me roll!
Hymn 195, 6. [ELHB]