Have you ever over done it on a buffet or eaten much more than you should have, even to the point you were very uncomfortable? Why would we do this? I recall being at a wedding reception of my wife’s cousin and after having a plate of food, saying ‘just one more’ of those sandwiches, because they were so good. That ‘one more’ put me over the limit to where I knew I had overdone it and felt bad for the rest of the reception. I wasn’t that hungry and didn’t need all that food, but did it anyway. This behavior is not always limited to food, but can often apply to anything we take in our body, whether drinks, drugs, screentime, work, entertainment, etc. Why do we still do things that we know are not good for us?
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
One Summer while in college, I worked mostly outdoors in Southern Louisiana and started each day with a breakfast at Poche’s Fried Chicken. As I recall, this consisted of made to order eggs, sausage or bacon, hash browns or grits, a biscuit and coffee all for $2.00. This pretty much filled me up for the day till lunch and dinner on the road, but several times in between, the hot, muggy days made me sweat and created a thirst like no other time. While I was often offered a Coke or Sweet Southern Iced Tea from hospitable folks I met, nothing quite satisfied like a few large gulps of water, which probably totaled a gallon or more each day. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I had not been able to drink at all while working some of those long, hot days. What’s the thirstiest you can ever recall being? Do you ever thirst for spiritual things the way you do physical ones?
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:13-14
While I am usually able to meet most physical needs myself, I could often relate in a small way to the wandering Israelites when I went long stretches without much to eat or drink or without making any sales. The Israelites couldn’t just stop at the store, or a nearby house to ask for what they needed, as they were totally dependent on God to provide water or even food in the form of manna, when they needed it most. While most of us think we are fairly self-sufficient, we are not that far from being in distress if those water or food supply chains that we take for granted were to be disrupted. I recall once when we were under a ‘boil order’ and asked not to drink our town’s water till further notice, the bottled water in town was sold out at all the stores within a few short hours, as people did not know how long they would be without drinking water. Most of us do not like being dependent on others to meet our needs, like when we were infants. But when we are, even for brief time, we start to understand our need for God just a little bit better. How much do you depend on God each day?
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
God often relates to us in a practical and personal way, as we see examples of this throughout the bible. We realize our physical needs when we hunger and thirst or gasp for air, and He relates these to our spiritual needs, which really impact our health in the same way. When we have gone too long without a drink of water, we come back to life when that first drink reaches our body. Our spirit also comes to life when the Living Water of his Spirit touches our soul. We also experience this in a small way when we take Eucharist, or communion. When we take communion and other meals into our bodies, we use all five senses to physically experience God’s provision for our daily physical needs, as well as how He sustains our spirit. When you pause to give thanks before each meal, how does that impact how you experience the act of eating and drinking? Do you regularly take into your body the things that satisfy your soul, as often as you do to meet your physical needs? Once you have tasted what God has to offer, you will surely want more!
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:6-7
Yours in Christ,