As Jesus hung on the cross, he proclaimed the words “I thirst.” Jesus called out in need of something to drink, but these two words encompassed more than the desire for a drink of water. Jesus was thirsting for a world filled with peace, joy, hope, and most of all a world filled with love. For this very reason Jesus gave His life for us by being crucified on the cross. Jesus thirsted for our lives and for our love. The drink He desired was water—life-giving water.

I spent Semana Santa—Holy Week—in Antigua, a town about an hour away from Valley. Antigua is known for it’s picturesque landscape, colonial-style buildings, and three surrounding volcanoes. Antigua is also known for their Semana Santa celebrations, alfombras (rugs made from colored sawdust), and processions all dedicated to the glorification of Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

An alfombra in Antigua.

An alfombra in Antigua.

All week there are processions throughout the city. Hundreds of thousands of people, mucha gente, gather along the streets to watch 60+ men carry a float depicting a scene from Jesus’ passion followed by 40+ women carrying a float dedicated to Mary. These holy men and women take turns walking through the city, some processions going as along as 12 hours.

Women carrying the float of Mary on Good Friday.

Women carrying the float of Mary on Good Friday.

Watching these men and women sway back and forth carrying the weight of Christ, praying together before their turn to bear that weight, I was reminded of those two words Christ uttered—“I thirst.” Christ thirsted for us so that we too could thirst for Him. Throughout the processions the men thirsted for the love and devotion of Christ, and the women, many of whom cried tears in that same way that I imagine the women who wept for Jesus did as He drew nearer to His death, thirsted for the love and devotion of Christ.

On Viernes Santo—Good Friday—as I watched the procession of Jesus being crucified on the cross, I reflected on my own thirsting for Christ. My time thus far on mission has been a thirsting—a thirsting for Christ’s presence in my life. Mission has opened my heart to the peace, joy, hope, and love that Christ thirsted for when He proclaimed those words during His Crucifixion. Mission has made that thirst even stronger, drawing me closer to His love than I have ever been before. This Easter, I pray for the thirst of Christ’s love to continue in me during my time on mission and throughout my life.