Below is the reflection I shared.
Because Jesus is a human being in a human body.
A creature of flesh and bone, skin and muscles and fat and nerves, blood pumping, lungs breathing.
Human bodies come in a lot of variations -- some of us talk with our hands, some of us move through the world on wheels. Some of us can't process gluten or lactose. Each of our embodiments is unique, and few experiences are universal. But thirst is one of the few that probably is.
John is the one Gospel writer who includes this line, "I thirst."
John also opens Jesus' public ministry with the wedding at Cana -- another story unique to John's Gospel.
Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber tells the story of the lectionary assigning the wedding at Cana story the Sunday after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. As you may recall, in this story Jesus is initially resistant to doing anything about the wine shortage at this party, telling Mother Mary, "my hour has not yet come."
Mary pushes ahead, and Bolz-Weber imagines her saying to Jesus, "I will not keep silent. I will obey you and I will tell others to obey you but I will not keep silent. People are thirsty."
And she imagines that near the end of John's Gospel, Jesus says, "I am thirsty. I am not watching this from a distant heaven. I too am thirsty."
Jesus thirsts with the people in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who still don't have clean water six months after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Jesus thirsts with farm workers in California working 9-hour days in scorching heat, sometimes literally dying of dehydration.
Have you ever cried so much that you felt thirsty, like you'd dehydrated yourself?
We don't know if Jesus wept while dying by state-sanctioned torture, but it seems likely.
Certainly the Jesus of John's Gospel wept a few chapters earlier, on the long walk toward Jerusalem, confronted with the weeping of another Mary and so many others after the death of Lazarus at Bethany.
Jesus thirsts with so many other prisoners of the state.
38-year-old Terrill Thomas died on April 24, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after the water had been shut off to his cell for 7 days after he had flooded the toilet in a previous cell. #BlackLivesMatter
Jesus is given a sponge full of sour wine on a stick. Which may have been intended as an anaesthetic -- to dull the pain of the multiple nail wounds and the slow asphyxiation. But as mercies go, it was a small one amidst this public execution after a sham of a trial. Jesus thirsts with those who do not have access to quality water.
Jesus thirsts with the people of Flint, Michigan, and the 6 million other people across the 50 United States whose water has excessive levels of lead.
Jesus thirsts with the prisoners at MCI Norfolk here in Massachusetts and so many other prisons and jails who do not have uncontaminated water.
There are a lot of things we could do to alleviate the thirsts across our nation and around the world, and maybe we will after we leave this space.
But for now, we sit with the thirst.
The God who created us from the very stardust of the Big Bang, the God whose life breath sustains us. That same God shaped some of that same stardust, and with the Yes of a young woman named Mary, breathed Godself into embodiment, into a screaming crying baby who would grow into adulthood and be executed by some of those same stardust creatures. And that embodied God, who walked so many dusty, dirty roads; who ate so many meals with so many different people; that embodied God, that person Jesus, was human right up through the end.
And Jesus thirsts.
News of the world links to the primary article I drew from, though I often Googled for additional details like exact date of death.
Nadia Bolz-Weber tells the wedding at Cana story in her 2013 book Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint.
The story of Lazarus is found in John 11, and the specific verse "Jesus wept" is John 11:35.
Full service audio recording is here (there are a few minutes of extra silence at the beginning and the end -- this is what happens when you ask someone who's also participating in the service to record it ;) ) My part begins around 32:42.