Ecumenical Water Network

The EWN is a network of churches and Christian organizations promoting people's access to water around the world

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Week 6

The sixth Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Raj Bharath Patta, an ordained pastor from the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, currently serving the Student Christian Movement of India as its general secretary. He understands the fifth word of Jesus on the Cross (“I thirst”), as expression of his physical need. In this reflection, Patta illustrates the missiological relevance of this word of Jesus to us today, in our own contexts.
Week 6

A boy left homeless by war enjoys safe water in the eastern Congo village of Nzulu, provided by Norwegian Church Aid. © ACT/Paul Jeffrey

The sixth Biblical reflection of the Seven Weeks for Water 2014 is by Raj Bharath Patta, an ordained pastor from the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church in India, currently serving the Student Christian Movement of India as its general secretary. He understands the fifth word of Jesus  on the Cross (“I thirst”), as expression of his physical need. In this reflection, Patta illustrates the missiological relevance of this word of Jesus to us today, in our own contexts.

Mission as Breaking Ground: Jesus’ “I Thirst” and its Relevance Today

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said, “I thirst”. John 19: 28

Jesus’ fifth word on the Cross, and the second word as recorded by John, expresses that he is physically drained and in need of a drink. This word follows Jesus’ affirmation of men and women in partnership for mission, the words he spoke to his mother and disciple “Woman, here is your son” and “Here is your mother” (Jn 19: 26, 27). After bridging the gap between woman and man in the mission of God, Jesus says that he thirsts, bridging the gap between divinity and humanity within him. Of the seven words from the Cross, this fifth word of Jesus is the sole expression of his physical need: he thirsts. The missiological relevance of this word of Jesus to us today, in our own contexts, is discussed here.

To continue reading, please download the  reflection (pdf, 456 KB)

Thoughts for Reflection

  1. How is mission understood in your context as breaking ground?
  2. What are the ways in which we can give up our callous attitudes towards our creation and save & share water?
  3. Is quenching the thirst of people who are dying of thirst the same as quenching the thirst of Christ?

Questions for Discussion

  1. In your locality, identify the rivers that have been polluted, and make an analysis of the reasons, and discuss the way forward in protecting the rivers and other local water bodies.
  2. How can you sensitize your local congregations regarding the need to address the thirsting communities around? What are the ways forward?

Ideas for Action

  1. Initiate a campaign on behalf of your church to save rivers, local water bodies and create awareness of the importance of water to your congregation members.
  2. Organize a signature campaign to stop auctioning of water bodies for profit, and advocate for water justice, so that free and safe drinking water is made accessible to those living on the margins of your society.

Please note: Opinions expressed in Biblical reflections or background resources do not necessarily reflect EWN and WCC policy.