Monday, April 23, 2007

Never Thirst April 24

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35


Jesus, we thirst for your goodness. We thirst for your righteousness. We thirst for your satisfaction. Help us to respond to the mission of Matthew 25 and quench your thirst as we satisfy those around us in need. Help us to be among your followers who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Satisfy us, Lord, with everything that is good. Amen.


Today, Jesus is again preaching beside the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s largest fresh water lake. The Sea of Galilee is central to our Gospel story and His-story. This is where Jesus recruited Peter the fisherman and the other disciples. Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount on a hillside overlooking this lake. This is the sea he walked on. This is the same seashore where he fed the 5,000 with two loaves and a few fishes. This is the same sea where the disciples encountered Jesus after the Resurrection when they were unsuccessfully fishing early one morning. This is the sea Jesus crossed often in ministering to both the Jews on one side and the Gentiles on the other shore.

Water was an important – if not the central – commodity and concern in Ancient Palestine. Not that it is not important in modern times, but we have it so easy. Imagine living in the desert with primitive means for irrigation, plumbing, sanitation and drinking. Such times meant that life revolved around the quest for water every day.

Today we take for granted water fountains, bottled water, tap water, ice cubes dispensed from the front of our refrigerator and more. If you ask someone who has traveled to any part of the undeveloped world about the care taken to make sure they avoid ingesting contaminated water, then you will understand that this ancient water ritual remains important so many cultures today.

Consider the role of water in your life and how that would change in ancient times. Imagine you did not have a sink with running water. You would have to collect, purify and store your water supply every day from nearby wells, rivers, and lakes. Collecting it would mean going to the source and then hauling it back to wherever you needed to cook, eat, clean, or drink. Purifying means boiling the water to eliminate disease causing germs.

Is it any wonder that “thirst” then was one of the only complaints Jesus uttered from the cross. “I thirst.” (John 19:28) The Gospels don’t tell us that he complained about the pain of the nails, or the crown of thorns or the whipping administered by the Romans. He fell under the weight of the cross but got to his feet and moved forward. Yet, on the cross, among his final words are, “I’m thirsty.” Hanging in the hot afternoon desert sun, sapped his weakening human body of the water that was essential for survival.

Yet, Jesus, a man, the priest-prophet-king from Nazareth, promises that you will never thirst! How bold! Can it actually be true?

Not only that, he promises you food so you will never hunger. No need for farming. No need for hunting. No need for fishing. No need for gathering berries and figs and fruits and vegetables from gardens and forests.

We are now his arms and legs. We are commissioned in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry and quench the thirst of those in need. If we take that mission seriously, then anyone who turns Jesus turns to the Church and will not thirst.


The fight for water continues in modern day Israel and the West Bank. The daily quest for clean water continues for many people in Asia, Africa and South America.

Try this experiment. Collect all the water you need for an entire day – bathing, washing, drinking, cooking, and all other activities. Try to live for the entire day without the benefit of using a tap with hot and/or cold running water. Heat up water when you need it. Figure out a way to cool the water when you need a drink.

Once you do this, meditate on the word of Jesus, “Never thirst.”

Consider the physical implications on the cross.

Consider Matthew 25 and the requirements to actively love those in need around us. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' (Matthew 25:34-37)

Finally, consider the spiritual implications of the Beatitudes on those who demand justice and those who work to achieve social justice. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

Believe in the Lord. Never thirst.

No comments: