Humanity’s Holy Thirst

clay jugs near stone wall of ancient building
Photo by Julia Volk on

Does God need to be reminded that human’s thirst? This seems like such a silly question, and yet its valid because over and over again we see desperate people petitioning an omniscient God. Is the human need of thirst more important or apparent to our dehydrated lips and sunbaked flesh then to an all sufficient God causing us to plead our cause for a simple drink?

Samson Cried out, “you have given this great deliverance now shall I die of thirst…so God split the hollow place and water came out.” Judges 25 :18-19

I never knew God did this for Samson, but It wasn’t the first time God brought water in a miraculous way. Israel was in the wilderness dying of thirst, wandering through the hot dry dessert for days without water in the baking sun. Poor lonely Hagar dying against a tree. God provided water but not until they shared their desperate fear of dying from dehydration.

Sometimes it seems God forgets or simply doesn’t know what we need? We assume thirst is a human weakness, not a divine one, so why would the divine be concerned about it, even so shouldn’t the maker know how his creation functions? Especially since he became one of us wouldn’t he understand human needs experientially, Even his son on the cross thirsted.

Yet consistently God waits until people with prayer, cries, complaints and petitions ask for their needs to be met, Why? What value is there in laying our human needs before God? I can assure you it’s not to remind him of our need but to remind ourselves.

I can imagine Samson was feeling sure of himself in this moment. He just broke through 2 new ropes like they were spaghetti strands, he killed 1000 philistines with the jawbone of a dead donkey, before that he caught 300 foxes and tied their tails together, before that he killed thirty men for their tunics and a lion with his bare hands. What is his confession? what would yours be? Samson says, “I have slain…”

God has not forgotten that Samson has human needs although Samson’s strength is super human, but it’s seems Samson did forget he was human. So God let him thirst. God in his infinite knowledge uses human weakness and deprivation to remind us who we are, and who we are not. Man is made in the image of God, man is intelligent, talented, creative, powerful, full of knowledge, strength and skills beyond any other creature, therefore man greatest need is to be reminded that with all the greatness man possesses he is not immortal, he is not omnipotent and he is not God. One of the greatest things that sets us apart from God is need.

In grandiose visions of ourselves we need human reminders in the form of pain, discomfort, hunger, thirst, and want.

In Samson’s words we hear his pride, his arrogance, yet his great fear of death and discomfort as well, yet God opened the hollow place and Samson drank and his human thirst quenched, Samson lived.

Enter Jesus the Messiah.

The Messiah set aside power, self-sufficiency and equality with God. He set aside strength, divinity and glory to wear the weakness of humanity, to endure parched lips and deprived flesh? He showed men in many ways his skin and blood, his human nature was put on display throughout his life, but none more evident than on his final day. With his very last breathe he confessed his own thirst, “I thirst”, he said. displaying the truth that God became man, fully weak, fully needy, cloaked in the most basic need, thirst. He stretched out his holy hand to a flawed and leaking mankind to declare his weakness perhaps to meet him there in a hollow place where they could understand one another.

Contrast Samson with Christ for a moment. Both Samson and Christ thirsted. Samson had just defeated a great enemy and turned to God to meet his needs indicating his reliance upon a caring- mighty- holy God. Christ had just been defeated by a great enemy and he thirsted as well, but he looked at man, at the very enemy who had just slain him, rejected him, beat him and hung him up to die. In the greatest act of humility Christ turned to his accusers, and said, “I Thirst.” Was he saying he could take more sin if there were more to take, the cup wasn’t too much for him? Why was the Lord turning to a cruel, sinful adversary and articulating his need. What was he saying, what message was God sending to humanity when Jesus said, “I thirst”?

One thought: If an all-powerful God , need-nothing Savior, can stoop down to the doorstep of human weakness and expose himself to a wrecked people, surely these wrecked people are capable of bearing characteristics which resemble their compassionate Creator. In this dark moment was Messiah really looking for drink ? I don’t think so, there was no drink man could provide him that would satisfy the King of the Universe, rather I suggest Jesus was searching for a shred of likeness? A sliver of resemblance between him and his creation? Did he find one? He was not given a cool drink of water from the hollow, he was given sour wine. We failed. But revealed to ourselves who we are in that moment and who we are not. The messiah becoming humanly weak, hanging helpless and dying was in fact necessary to meet our greatest need- there truly was no other way to become as He is but that he become as we are. That he journey to death and rescue wrecked humanity, this is our hope – NOW that Jesus has taken that trip –If God could become like us in all ways, weakness, pain and death, then we can surely become like him in love, victory and life or else he wouldn’t have come.

It is in our need we meet God .This is the holy thirst, man becomes most like Christ when he needs and thirsts for God, and Christ became most like man when he thirsted. That is the place we pause and greet our savior and all things are revealed.

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