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When Water Thirsted

John 19:28-30


Can water be thirsty?

Back in John 4 Jesus was thirsty, and asked a woman at a well for some water.  He then told her that He could give her living water...the water of life.  She said, "Give me this water."  Jesus replied, "I am."


He is the living water, and yet He thirsted on that day, just like He did in our text. 

ill.--one of my kids once said as she drank from a water bottle, "This tastes old."  I said, it is -- 6,000 years ago God created it and it has been liquid, solid, and gas, sometimes salty, sometimes stinky.  It has been drank before, processed, flushed, and purified and recycled, and now we pay up to $4 for a little bottle of what God created for free.  [She chooses soda now instead, but news flash, it has water in it!]

        He Who created all water was able to walk on top of it and turn it into wine at will.  Jesus used the very thing Peter was sinking beneath to get to him.  He's God, He’s the water of life, and yet He is thirsty!


Jesus was crucified at 9 o’clock in the morning, and He spent the first three hours on the cross in the sunlight. He likely hadn't had anything to drink at that point for more than 12 hours.  Then the darkness came for three hours, and at the end Jesus cried out His fourth saying from the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).


Our Lord’s first three statements were centered on others - His enemies [Father, forgive them], the believing thief [today you will be with me in paradise], and John & Mary [take care of each other]. His fourth statement, was about Himself AND others, because He was forsaken when others' sins were laid on Him, for their sake.  He helped others first, and did the job He was sent to do on the cross. 

v. 28        'knowing' -- Certainly he knew He was thirsty before this moment, but He laid aside His own desire for the sake of others until the job was finished! [Mark 15:23, He turned down a drink before the cross.]

        But His last three statements from the cross were solely focused on Himself: His body - "I thirst" (John 19:28); His soul - "It is finished" (v. 30; Isaiah 53:10); and His spirit - "Father, into Thy hands, I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46). Body, soul & spirit - all were offered by the Lord Jesus Christ in obedience to the Father.

        The shortest of these statements that our Lord made from the cross is the one found in John 19:28, "I thirst." In the original text, it is one word with just four letters. It is the only statement in which our Lord referred to His body and His physical suffering. This simple word, however, tells us three important things about our Savior.


1. Jesus Is A Sympathetic Savior.

While Jesus was divine, He was also human. Because He walked upon this earth as a man He became very much acquainted with the difficulties of life here below. When He was a child, He probably skinned His knee a time or two. As a teenager, it is likely that He knew what it was like to not be part of the "in" crowd, especially being ‘illegitimate’. Learning the carpenter’s trade in His father’s shop, He likely had a splinter or two, and He also could very well have smashed His thumb on occasion with a hammer. [did not curse!  Neither do I, but when I hit my thumb if you'd write it down I'd sign at the bottom!]

        As a man, He knew what it was to grow tired, to be cold, to sweat, to be hungry, and, of course, He knew what it was like to be thirsty.


During an airline flight, concern over the heavy turbulence mounted as people were thrown about in their seats and bags began to fall from the overheads, until the soothing voice of the pilot came over the intercom: “No need to worry, folks,” he said, “These bumps are made of air!”

        We may wish the bumps we face in life were made of air, but they are not. Life throws us around; adversities are real. Physical trials sting. Emotional troubles drop unresolved baggage into our laps. Spiritual difficulties let the air out of our souls.


Jesus felt the "bumps" as He lived here among men. Because this is so, we know that He understands where we are and what we are going through in this life.


Hebrews 4:15
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

One of Denmark’s leading sculptors had a burning ambition to create the greatest statue of Jesus ever made. He began by shaping a clay model of a triumphant, regal figure. The head was thrown back and the arms were upraised in a gesture of great majesty. It was his conception of Christ the King: Strong, Dominant. "This is my masterpiece," he said, on the day it was completed. But, during the night a heavy fog rolled into the area and sea-spray seeped through a partially opened window of the artist’s studio. The moisture affected the shape of the model so that when the artist returned in the morning, he was shocked to find a wounded figure. The droplets of moisture that had formed on the statue created the illusion of bleeding. The head had drooped. The facial expression had been transformed from triumph to compassion. And the arms had dropped into an attitude of welcome. The artist stared at the figure, agonizing over the time wasted and the need to begin all over again. But something came over him which changed his mood. He began to see that this image of Christ was the true one. Then he wrote at the base of the newly-shaped figure its official title: "Come unto Me!"


Jesus is a sympathetic Savior, who wants to take you in His arms and love you today! He thirsted just like you do. 


2. Jesus Is A Scriptural Savior.

In saying "I thirst," Jesus fulfilled some prophecies.


Psalm 69:21
They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
v. 29        'Hyssop' = was used on Passover to apply the blood!

Psalm 22:15
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.

Here is the strongest evidence that Jesus can do what He has promised in YOUR life:  He fulfilled what was foretold about HIS life.


There are in the Old Testament over 300 distinct predictions which were literally fulfilled in Christ.


Some object to the assertion that prophecies fulfilled by the life of Christ are evidence of His being Who He claimed to be - the Son of God and the only Savior of men. These objections primarily fall into two categories:


a. Fulfilled Prophecy In Jesus Was Deliberate.

That is, Jesus sought to make Himself the Messiah by deliberately seeing to it that His life fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. It was all a "set up."


The problem with this objection, however, is that many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah were totally beyond the human control of Jesus Christ, such as:

1. The place of His birth - Micah 5:2

2. The time of His birth - Daniel 9:25; Genesis 49:10

3. The manner of His birth - Isaiah 7:14

4. The manner of His death - Psalm 22:16


b. Fulfilled Prophecy In Jesus Was Coincidental.

Professor Peter Stoner, in his book, SCIENCE SPEAKS, demonstrates how coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the science of probability in reference to only eight Old Testament prophecies, we find that the probability that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled eight of the 300+ Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah, is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (10 to the 17th power)!


Suppose that we take 10 [to the 17th] silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. Do you know what would happen?  Illegals would pick it all up on their way in!

        Actually, they would cover all of the state about two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one?

        Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one person.  What about 300+ prophecies?  It's incalculable!  And even if we had a number that big to estimate the chances, God reached down and removed that one silver dollar when He raised His son from the dead on the third day!     Jesus is a Scriptural Savior!


Because this is so, you can rely on it: just as surely as He fulfilled what was foretold about His life, Jesus can do what He promised in your life!


3. Jesus Is A Sufficient Savior.

Jesus was thirsty because of the physical agony He was experiencing. But I remind you that He had just come through three hours of darkness during which He had the sins of the world poured out upon Him. He had just finished paying the price for our sins through spiritual suffering. During those three hours, He was abandoned by the Father, and thus, experienced Hell for us so that we wouldn’t have to.  He was dried up, just as the OT burnt offering was totally consumed.  He endured God's fiery wrath, so He thirsted both physically and spiritually.


You see, Hell is a place of thirst. In Luke 16, our Lord told about a man who died and woke up in torment in hell. There, he begged for someone to "dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in torment in this flame" (Luke 16:24). People who are in Hell today are saying, "I thirst." Hell is a place of eternal thirst. Those who are condemned to suffer there for eternity will forever thirst, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.


There is no thirst in heaven. Why?  Because God's justice was quenched!

Revelation 7:16
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
Revelation 22:17 [last invitation in the Bible]
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


Are you thirsty for God?

Psalm 42:1-2
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 63:1
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
Isaiah 55:1
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters...

The question is not, "Do you thirst?" because all mankind has a thirst for reality, for fulfillment, for satisfaction, a thirst for forgiveness, a thirst for God. The real question is "How long are you going to thirst?" You can continue to be lost and end up thirsting for all eternity, or you can trust Jesus as your Savior and never thirst again.

John 4:14
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When Jesus died a soldier put a spear into the side of his abdominal cavity, and out flowed blood and ... water!  Death took the very last bit of water out of the 'water of life.'  Death thought it had won.  But on that day, for the first time ever, death met innocence.  Death met righteousness.  And death destroyed itself!  Swallowed up in victory, death was murdered with a kill shot right between the eyes, on the day that the living water was thirsty!

[idea and partial outline from Dave McFadden]

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