Ecuador is a country of 4 distinct lands. There’s the Galapagos Islands out in the ocean. There’s the Coastal area where life is hot and fast. There is the Amazon Jungle, where there’s direct contact with wild nature. And there’s the Andes Mountains. These days, I am spending my time in the mountains, and that means climbing.
The main pueblo where I stay is at about 700m in altitude. But to reach other homes and villages, there’s climbing up to about 1500 m or so. It’s not a nicely laid out hiking trail. It means putting on big rubber boots and wading through heavy mud, animal dung, tall grass, and water streams on an almost vertical ascent up the mountain in the hot sun. Last year I went a few times. It takes me 3 hours to reach the village, and the last 10 minutes are torture, because you reach a little peak and can see your destination, and then you go down into a valley for a bit and have to make the final push to get there, finally finishing up a steep, slippery, mudding ascent that takes you to a little schoolhouse.
And when I arrive, I am completely soaked through all of my clothes with sweat. And. I. Am. Thirsty! So much so, that I once when I saw a water hose with crystal clear water flowing out, I couldn’t resist but to put my mouth to it and take in that sweet water! I paid the price the next morning in the bathroom: I know a gringo like me can’t drink the river water like the locals can!
But you know what? I am very happy to be there. There is a deep joy in arriving there, being welcomed by the kids and all the people. Letting them know they are very loved and important, and special to God and me. It is all worth it.
But it’s not an easy journey. It takes a lot out of me, and it makes me thirsty.
That’s the cost of love.
When Jesus arrives on Calvary, he is arriving because there are some very important people for him to be with. There is a Roman soldier who is going to finally recognize who he is. There is a thief next to him on a cross that he is going to accompany into heaven. There are all the people who participated in his framing and sentencing who he is going to forgive. There’s his mother and the beloved disciple. There are a lot of people that he climbs Calvary to be with, to let them know that they are very important, special to God and to him.
And it takes everything out of him. It makes him thirsty.
That is the cost of love.
I think that there’s a simple question for us when we die, that we need to answer to enter heaven. Maybe it’s Peter who asks us, maybe it’s just a sense inside of ourselves, I don’t know. But it’s one simple question:
Are you thirsty?
“I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)