“The Arid Chains of Death Were Burst”—A Good Friday Sonnet

CRUCIFIED JESUS E

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come
To me and drink”—this drink that can’t be sold
Or bought, thirst-quenching nectar, spirit gold,
This fountain out of heaven, given, not won.
Beyond all praise, beyond all princely sum,
The heavenly draught bestows a wealth untold,
The life of God. The thirsty may be bold
To claim the gift held out by God’s own Son.

A drink so rich could not be wholly free:
Fulfilling Scripture, Jesus speaks again:
He gives the draught—transcendent irony—
Who whispers, “I am thirsty,” through his pain.

A human thing, this agony of thirst
By which the arid chains of death were burst.

—D.A. Carson, Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century, p. 53. (Out of print but available as a free PDF here. Sonnet based on John 7:37 and 19:28-29.)

Advertisements