Matthew 4:

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’

Was Jesus thirsty? What's the significance that there is no mention of the devil tempting him with water?

  • The text only states 'fasting' and 'hunger'. You are asking about something that is absent from the text. Thus it is a matter of opinion why it is not there, since it is not mentioned.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 17, 2021 at 14:38
  • Isn't what you have just stated a matter of opinion? :)
    – user35953
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:04
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    I have stated facts. Your opinion is that these facts are my opinion.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 17, 2021 at 17:31
  • Is a question an opinion? :)
    – user35953
    Nov 17, 2021 at 17:36
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    By stating 'significance' you are asserting that there is one. But you are asserting that something which is not there . . . . is significant. Which becomes, in academic terms - an opinion. It may be that your instinct is a spiritual one and that the Spirit has intended that absence to mean something. But until you demonstrate that spiritual reality (or until someone answers and does that for you) it remains - an opinion.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 17, 2021 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


As the hunger strikes in Ireland in 1980 and 1981 showed, a person can last for about 60 days without food.

However, in the desert, one can last for only a few days (depending on physical activity) without water. Further, while death might take a few days in hot conditions, unconsciousness would ensue within a days or so in hot conditions.

Thus, the fast of 40 days by Jesus in the desert must have included water, else He could not have survived the 40 days.

Therefore, thirst was not an issue during this time of Jesus' fasting in the desert - He only lacked food as the verb νηστεύω implies.

Special Case for Ex 34:28

The fact that Moses went for 40 days and 40 nights with either food or water while in the mountain with God cannot be taken as as evidence that people can survive that long. Moses had to climb the mountain and return with heavy tablets of stone - a considerable physical exertion.

However, as is well-known, a human cannot survive much more than a day or two with out water - Moses was obviously miraculously sustained by God while in the mountain for 40 days with even water.

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    If we consider the conditions of Exodus 34:28 when Moses fasted forty days without bread or water. - Could Jesus not survive Matthew 4:2 without water? Nov 17, 2021 at 20:40
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    @חִידָה - good point - I regard that as miraculous because Moses was in the direct presence of the Almighty.
    – Dottard
    Nov 17, 2021 at 20:41
  • Researched [Guinness World Records] to discover Andreas Mihavecz lasted 18-days without food or water. Nov 18, 2021 at 3:18
  • @חִידָה - thanks for that. I assume he was unconscious bell before 18 days had passed.
    – Dottard
    Nov 18, 2021 at 3:21

If we consider the conditions of Exodus 34:28 when Moses fasted forty days without bread or water. - Could Jesus survive Matthew 4:2 without water?

  • Yes. Although (unlike Moses & Jesus) the extra-biblical text [Guinness World Records] claims longest fast without food or water by a human (Andreas Mihavecz) is eighteen days.

Was Jesus 'thirsty' in Matthew 4:2?

  • Yes. - The Blessed always "ἐπείνασεν" (hunger) and "διψῶντες" (thirst) stated in Matthew 5:6, referencing [Psalm 63:1-2] "When he was in the desert of Judah" (בִּ֜הְיוֹת֗וֹ בְּמִדְבַּ֥ר יְהוּדָֽה) "O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul thirsts for You ; my flesh longs for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water." (אֱלֹהִ֚ים | אֵלִ֥י אַתָּ֗ה אֲשַֽׁחֲ֫רֶ֥ךָּ צָֽמְאָ֬ה לְךָ֨ | נַפְשִׁ֗י כָּמַ֣הּ לְךָ֣ בְשָׂרִ֑י בְּאֶֽרֶץ־צִיָּ֖ה וְעָיֵ֣ף בְּלִי־מָֽיִם)
  • That is pushing it: the sermon on the mount and the beatitudes came some time after the temptation in the wilderness
    – Henry
    Nov 19, 2021 at 1:05
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    I once fasted for 26 days with nothing but water. It was a life changing nightmare.
    – moron
    Nov 20, 2021 at 22:19

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