The thirst quencher

Readings for November 8, 2020

Wisdom 6:12-16
Psalm 63:2-8
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

I’m old enough to remember when Gatorade first became popular in the 1970s. The television ads featured sweaty professional athletes seeking to quench their thirst after a game or a workout. Then, in 1984, the NY Giants poured a sideline jug of Gatorade over coach Bill Parcells upon winning a game. From that moment on, Gatorade had been cemented as a metaphor for quenching a thirst that water could not: the thirst for victory.

So when the psalmist writes, “my soul thirsts,” it was, perhaps, with this same feeling of needing something more than water. In fact, some 1000 years after Psalm 63 was written, Jesus exclaims from the Cross, “I thirst” (John 19:28). Yet, despite his horrific torture and climb to Mount Calvary, Jesus, like the psalmist, was not expressing a need for water or even for Gatorade. The psalmist was thirsty to return to his Father’s kingdom and love. And Jesus was thirsty for the love of you and me.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta explained that when Jesus said, “I thirst,” those around him misunderstood his words. “People thought He was thirsty in an ordinary way and they gave Him vinegar straight away; but it was not for that thirst; it was for our love, our affection, that intimate attachment to Him, and that sharing of His passion.”

Jesus wants all that we have to give. He humbled himself to be born as a baby in a stinky stable block, to live as an itinerant preacher, and to suffer and die to give us all that God has to give—a redemption of a thirst-quenching love. So next time I experience that thirst that water alone cannot quench, perhaps I’ll reach for a Gatorade, but I should also reach for my Bible, because the love of God is what is truly quenching.

My Lord Jesus, as the psalmist cried out in thirst for God’s love, so you also cry out in a thirst for our love. May I offer my life and my love, in gratitude for your humility, your suffering, and your death. May my love be an attempt to satiate your thirst for my soul. Amen

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