This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, a remembrance of Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem and the start of Holy Week.
While we are just at the beginning, my mind wanders a few days from now, to the anniversary of the last words of Jesus as he hung on the cross as the atonement sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Harmonizing the last moments recorded in the four gospels, two things that Jesus said seem to have relationship.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Here is the Man that lived in perfect communion with the Father, even as he walked among us. Relating to his followers that he and the Father were one. Their fellowship was not broken.
Now on the cross, he felt forsaken. Communion disrupted.
Here is the Man that described himself as Living Waters. Those who follow him he promises will never thirst.
Yet now, with communion disrupted, of everything he could say, Jesus spoke aloud of his thirst.
The response of those watching was to provide something humiliating to drink. And, even though I am certain that Jesus was thirsty in body, I think he was describing the thirst of his spirit.
Thirst describes our spirit’s longing for God. One of the enduring images of the Bible is from Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”
We have been created in the image of God. Yet, in the garden, the original man and woman broke humanities experience of continual communion with their Creator. There is a thirst in our spirit and soul. That is why so often we find God has drawn us into the desert, to create a thirst in us for him. (see The Purpose of the Desert)
Try as we might, we cannot quench this thirst on our own.
Yet, we try.
Our spirit thirsts for the intimacy we were designed to have with God. And we attempt to quench that with sexual experiences, seeking ‘completeness’ in marriage, enmeshed relationships, or even by having kids that will love us.
Our body thirst for the health and longevity it was meant to have with God. And we attempt to quench that with conforming to body image standards and evangelists for eating lifestyles.
Our mind thirsts for the wonder and understanding it was meant to have revealed by God. And we attempt to quench that with degrees, entertainment, and following trends and personalities.
Finally, our heart thirst for the purpose and approval we were meant to have as children of the Father. And we attempt to quench that with image, comparison, work, and wealth.
In and of themselves, most of these things are not bad. A desire to be married, or be a parent is a good one. The desire to live healthy is wise. The problem is when we let these things define us.
When we attempt to quench our thirst with things we were designed for rather than with the Designer.
Just as salt water will only make you thirst more, the same is true when we try to define our worth and significance with the things of the world. Our lives become enslaved to trying harder. And harder. And harder.
Our sense of self apart from God will never be settled or satisfied.
So this Holy Week, take time to meditate on what you are thirsty for. What do your actions and goals say about your thirst? How are you attempting to quench the thirst within you? Lay it on the ground before the cross, where Jesus thirst for you.
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