I recently read that a study had been done which determined that milk is the ultimate thirst quencher. Frankly, that surprised me. I had always assumed it would be water (or in today’s high-tech world, something like Gatorade). Apparently, when someone drinks milk, they retain 75% of it after a two-hour recovery period. Only 60% of a sports drink is retained in a similar situation and only 50% of water. Who knew?
Despite all that, I believe that Jesus is really the ultimate thirst quencher. Just think about it. What was his first, recorded miracle? The Gospel of John says it was at a wedding in Cana. If you’ll recall that incident, Jesus changed water into wine. After all, who wants to drink water at a wedding reception? Certainly not the first century Jews.
Then there was the woman at the well (John 4). After asking her for water, he told her that He could supply her with living water. He added that, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” Now, that’s a thirst quencher!
“Satiating hunger is a close second…”
Of course, there was the feeding of the five thousand. While there was no liquid involved in that miracle, the sustenance provided that day was closely akin to life-giving hydration. Satiating hunger is a close second to quenching thirst. In fact, they pretty much go hand-in-hand.
At the Festival of Booths one year, Jesus told everyone listening to His instruction that, if they were thirsty, they should come to Him and drink. He was, of course, referring to that living water again. But drinking in deeply of the Holy Spirit is slaking a thirst that no one else can touch.
A final example would be the one in the last book of Scripture—Revelation. There we are told to, “Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17) That’s what I like—life! Jesus promises to bestow upon us the gift of life through his Spirit and the ultimate quenching of our thirst.
A Powerful Irony
This past Good Friday, some of my colleagues and I preached from the Gospel passages which reference the words of Jesus from the cross. One of them used the passage from John in which Jesus says, “I’m thirsty.” He made a point I had never heard mentioned prior to that sermon. He stated that Jesus’ declaration of His own thirst was one of the most “powerful ironies” of Scripture. How could the One who would quench the world’s thirst be thirsty Himself? One of the greatest metaphors in the Bible is Jesus’ ability to satisfy the thirst of humanity. How ironic that the Savior of the World, the Ultimate Thirst Quencher, would be thirsty Himself. The very process he used to alleviate our thirst made Him thirsty.
I was never a big milk drinker. In fact, I dislike it. It’s good to know the One who can supply the real milk of life.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]