(May 3)

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to his mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.” (Jn 19: 28 – 30)

On this Holy and Great Friday, I say with the Lord, “I thirst!” Because it’s OK, and more than OK, to admit that we “thirst,” ever since the God-Man demonstrated to us what it means to be perfectly-human and said, “I thirst!” – just before being served the awful “sour wine,” and gave up His spirit.

Today I “thirst,” because deep inside of me, I always know that God has “more” to offer me, of communion with Himself, of the New Life for which His Son is paving the Way today, by Way of His cross. I am never quite “satisfied,” by whatever other human beings might “serve” me, from their limited, merely-human resources. Even when I experience some form of pleasure, like seeing a beloved or beautiful thing or person, or hearing a beautiful piece of music, there is a certain sadness there, or yearning, for “more.” Why? Because God is the Source of all beauty and goodness, and He created us, or shared His “being” with us, to be sharers or “partakers” in His beauty and goodness. So, we inherently have this “thirst” for perfect beauty and goodness. We may misdirect this desire, when we chase the false promises of God-surrogates or idols, but in its God-created or “natural” state, it makes us ever-yearn for “more” of one-ness with Him. It is from the misdirected kind of “thirst” that Christ heals us, according to His promise to the Samaritan woman: “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst.” (Jn 4:14)

Today Christ offers to “heal” or “redeem” the state of my “thirst,” by thirsting together with us, and inviting us to thirst together with Him, the way God intended us to, for the New Life that only He can bring us. We “look for” or “yearn for” the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come (“Чаю” воскресения мертвых и жизни будущаго века), as we profess in the Creed. Thank You, Lord, for both co-thirsting and co-suffering with all of us from a Cross, planted in between the crosses of two others of us, – of one believing, penitent or wise thief, and of another, not-believing, scoffing one. This morning, I choose to believe with the wise one. Remember me, Lord, when You come into Your kingdom!