“Mommy, I’m so thirsty. I want a drink.”
Susanna Petroysan heard her daughter’s pleas, but there was nothing she could do. She and four-year-old Gayaney were trapped beneath tons of collapsed concrete and steel. Beside them in the darkness lay the body of Susanna’s sister-in-law, Karine, one of the fifty-five thousand victims of the worst earthquake in the history of Soviet Armenia.
Calamity never knocks before it enters, and this time, it had torn down the door. Susanna had gone to Karine’s house to try on a dress. It was December 7, 1988, at 11:30 a.m. The quake hit at 11:41. She had just removed the dress and was clad in stockings and a slip when the fifth-floor apartment began to shake. Susanna grabbed her daughter but had taken only a few steps before the floor opened up and they tumbled in. Susanna, Gayaney, and Karine fell into the basement with the nine-story apartment house crumbling around them.
“Mommy, I need a drink. Please give me something.”
There was nothing for Susanna to give.
She was trapped flat on her back. A concrete panel eighteen inches above her head and a crumpled water pipe above her shoulders kept her from standing. Feeling around in the darkness, she found a twenty-four ounce jar of blackberry jam that had fallen into the basement. She gave the entire jar to her daughter to eat. It was gone by the second day.
“Mommy, I’m so thirsty.” Susanna knew she would die, but she wanted her daughter to live. She found a dress, perhaps the one she had
come to try on, and made a bed for Gayaney. Though it was bitter cold, she took off her stockings and wrapped them around the child to keep her warm.
The two were trapped for eight days.
Because of the darkness, Susanna lost track of time. Because of the cold, she lost the feeling in her fingers and toes. Because of her inability to move, she lost hope. “I was just waiting for death.”
She began to hallucinate. Her thoughts wandered. A merciful sleep occasionally freed her from the horror of her entombment, but the sleep would be brief. Something always awakened her: the cold, the hunger, or most often, the voice of her daughter.
“Mommy, I’m thirsty.”
At some point in that eternal night, Susanna had an idea. She remembered a television program about an ex- plorer in the Arctic who was dying of thirst. His comrade slashed open his hand and gave his friend his blood.
“I had no water, no fruit juice, no liquids. It was then I remembered I had my own blood.”
Her groping finger, numb from the cold, found a piece of shattered glass. She sliced open her left index finger and give it to her daughter to suck.
The drops of blood weren’t enough. “Please, Mommy, some more. Cut another finger.” Susanna has no idea how many times she cut herself. She only knows that if she hadn’t, Gayaney would have died. Her blood was her daughter’s only hope.
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus explained, holding up the wine.1
The claim must have puzzled the apostles. They had been taught the story of the Passover wine. It symbolized the lamb’s blood that the Israelites, enslaved long ago in Egypt, had painted on the door-posts of their homes. That blood had kept death from their homes and saved their firstborn. It had helped deliver them from the clutches of the Egyptians.
For thousands of generations the Jews had observed the Passover by sacrificing the lambs. Every year the blood would be poured, and every year the deliverance would be celebrated.
The law called for spilling the blood of a lamb. That would be enough. It would be enough to fulfill the law. It would be enough to satisfy the command. It would be enough to justify God’s justice. But it would not be enough to take away the sin. “. . . because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
Sacrifices could offer temporary solutions, but only God could offer the eternal one. So he did.
Taken from “Bold Love.” http://www.upwords.com. Used by permission.