Today during Breaking of Bread (Communion), we sang the old hymn by William Cowper, “There is a Fountain.” As usual I sang using the Hebrew translation. On the second verse I sang a word, “gazlan” (גזלן) and realized I had no idea what it meant. So I read the original English. The words in English gripped me.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

I couldn’t sing. All I could do was think and meditate on that verse—as vile as that thief on the cross? The following poem I wrote says it all.

May you be encouraged as I was, to rest in that wonderful forgiveness offered us through our Messiah and Redeemer, Jesus.

The Dying Thief

“Though vile as he.”
Who, me?

Never considered:
Before he repented,
he
mocked,
lied,
stole,
perhaps even killed—
just didn’t get caught.
Joined the other thief,
“Come down from the cross!”

Then he watched.
Jesus didn’t come down.
Was it His look?
Was it before or after
the agonized cry to His father,
‘Forgive them, they don’t know
What they are doing’?

Instantaneous repentance
on the cross.
Humility—
more real than his naked body
exposed for humiliation.
Pride died in conviction
not shame.

Love emanating from a cross.
Two offered hope;
one accepted.

“Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

And I, just as vile as he,
have the same hope
evermore.

The Thief on the Cross by Tiziano Vecelli, Italy, 1566

The Thief on the Cross by Tiziano Vecelli, Italy, 1566