I Am Thirsty

Last year, I wrote a series of three poems used for reflection during my church's Good Friday service. I decided to repost them this year, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one Friday, in the hope they may help us remember the great sacrifice that happened before the joy of Easter.

May these words remind us of the depth of Christ's love for us.


“I am thirsty,” is a most ordinary phrase.
For to thirst 
Is to be human.

Jesus is human.
The only human to ever be so by choice.
Human at a time the rest of us would have chosen 
Any other path than the one He walked.

For to be fully human 
Is to fully experience 
The agony of it all.

Jesus declares, “I am thirsty."

Did His thirst begin in the garden the night before?
When His heart broke into tears
And His mouth filled with the bitter taste of betrayal. 
When the kiss of a friend 
Was used to stab Him in the back.

How parched did His mouth become 
as the night dragged on with accusations?
When His tongue waited 
And restrained itself from words of defense. 
When the only water offered to Him
Was the spit spattered across His face.

How dry was His throat
When His lips were up against that post 
and the liquid ran red from His back?
When the metal ends of a whip
Ripped through His flesh 
Again 
And again 
And again 
And again.

Was there any water left for His tears
When thorns pierced His brow?
When blow
After blow
After blow
Drove the sign of the curse 
Deeper and deeper
Into the only head capable of bearing its burden.

How did He long for relief
When the heavy weight of that wooden beam
Was placed upon His cracked-open shoulders?
When nails went through His wrists
And pain shot like lightning up His arms.
When His knees were forced outward 
So His feet could be hammered like a piece of lumber.

How did Jesus feel His frailty, 
When He was hung
Naked
Upon that appalling tree?
When He chose to be human 
In the midst of public humiliation 
And unimaginable suffering.

How did He gasp and sputter
As His body reached for the life that was being drained from it?
When His arms pulled out from their joints
And pushed His lungs to the point of collapse.
When the One who breathed the earth into being
Struggled now to simply exhale.

Labored breathing.
Excruciating pain.
Agonizing thirst.

As God, 
Jesus could have blocked the torture,
Pushed away the suffering,
Stopped the death.

As human,
Jesus chose to face the torment,
Endure the anguish,
Experience the death.

“I am thirsty.”
This was Jesus’ declaration of humanity
And His demonstration of love.