7 Last Words reflection: ‘I thirst’

Sr. Mary John Mananzan

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7 Last Words reflection: ‘I thirst’
Christ’s thirst was not only physical. It is the agonizing cry of one who is surrounded by blindness, hardness of heart, cruelty.


The Fifth Word: “I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)

This fifth word of the Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross is the most human sentiment uttered by Jesus. He has just been whipped, crowned with thorns, made to bear his cross, fallen 3 times on the way, nailed to the cross. No wonder he was thirsty. He took upon himself all the characteristics of being human and thirst is the one common need that every human being experiences.

But Christ’s thirst was not only physical. It is the agonizing cry of one who is surrounded by blindness, hardness of heart, cruelty. He had given his life trying to bring people to the living water, to the water that would satisfy all the deepest wishes of their heart. But what he got was rejection, indifference, and lack of understanding to the very end. At a deeper level, his thirst was for the consolation of his oneness with His Father, who allowed him to feel a separation that wrung out from him the cry: “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me”?

In our own times there is also physical as well as spiritual thirst. The earth is literally thirsty for water which has dried up because of the unthinking human acts that has wiped out its forests, polluted the clouds that produce water, and poisoned the watersheds. Truly the earth is groaning for its salvation. Human communities are literally thirsting for water because of drought, drying of riverbeds. As some social scientists predict, the cause of the next global war would be :WATER

Individual persons thirst for love, for a sense of belonging , for caring families, for the support of friends in times of suffering, trial, failure, and distress. Those who have realized that they have hurt others thirst for forgiveness and reconciliation. Those who have set out seriously on a spiritual journey thirst for an experience of God which is expressed in Psalm 24:” As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. When can I go and meet with God.”

The poor thirst for food, shelter, and work to have a means to fulfill their basic needs; women thirst for equal dignity, opportunity, and safety from predators; prisoners thirst for freedom and the opportunity to live better lives.

In our society today, we thirst for the rebuilding of our moral fiber as a people which has been eroded in the last two years.

We thirst for justice for the tokhang victims, for the unjustly arrested, for the falsely accused.

We thirst for the return of the rule of law which has been violated with impunity by those who are supposed to uphold it in all branches of the government – executive, legislative and judicial.

We thirst for truth which has been trampled upon by fake news, by blatant lies, by deception .

We thirst for honesty that has been replaced by systemic corruption in all levels of society, scams, cover ups.

We thirst for our lost dignity and civility amid a toxic environment of crudeness, disrespect, misogyny.

As we look on the crucified Christ, we share his anguish and we cry out with him: I THIRST! – Rappler.com

Sister Mary John Mananzan, a Missionary Benedictine sister, is former president of Saint Scholastica’s College in Manila. An activist nun, she holds a doctorate in philosophy, summa cum laude, from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

A video-reflection on the fifth of the  ‘7 Last Words of Jesus Christ’ presented by St. Paul’s Audiovisuals.


Here are more reflections on the “7 Last Words” of Jesus Christ from different Christian groups:

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