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Seen from the Cross by James Tissot

Listen to the Audio version of Station 11

Jesus says, "I thirst."

John 19:28-29


After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Text Reflection:


Between the sixth and ninth hour of the day, Jesus was nailed to the cross. The skies grew dark as the soldiers divided and cast lots for his garments. The crowds jeered and mocked him. His mother stood nearby in horror. Other women gathered, too; women whom Jesus had healed of evil spirits and sickness. They had followed him, ministering to him throughout his own ministry.


According to Matthew, as Jesus came close to death, he cried out to God, “Eli, Eli, why have you forsaken me?” Some thought he was crying for Elijah to come and save him. Another soaked a sponge in sour wine, attached it to a hyssop branch and raised it for Jesus to drink.


“I thirst” Jesus said. He took the wine and declared, “it is finished.”


Surely Psalm 22 quickly came to mind for those who knew scripture. The Psalm begins, why have you forsaken me?


“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

Art reflection

Seen from the Cross by James Tissot


James Tissot was a French fashion painter until he was caught up in the Catholic revival movement in the 1880s. He devoted the rest of his life to religious painting. This painting is one of 365 paintings on the Life of Christ. As his own life with Christ deepened, his art work moved into realism with watercolor while the majority of French artists moved toward impressionism with heavy oil washes. This image offers the unique perspective of Jesus on the Cross.

  • What does this perspective draw out?

  • Jesus says "I thirst" while looking out over a crowd desperate for living water. How does this strike you?

  • What does this image reveal to you about the passion of Jesus?



Jesus thirsts. He is fully God. He is also fully man. What does this passage reveal to you about the nature and character of Jesus?



Not long ago, Jesus said to his disciples,

"For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’"

Matthew 25:42-45

Wherever there is suffering, Jesus is present saying, “I thirst”. Consider the hungry, thirsty, refugees, the poor, sick and imprisoned. Spend some time in prayer asking Jesus, “Where are you thirsty?” How would you like to use me?



Loving God, we ask for Your blessings on children, mothers, fathers, and communities who are thirsty. Purify, protect, and multiply their water sources. Strengthen their resolve so they may fully enjoy the benefits of clean water — essentials like education, gardens of fresh produce, and good health.

(based on World Vision prayer for the thirsty)

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