Have you ever noticed how many times a food metaphor is used in the Bible? Many times, it isn’t “cream puff” ideas being put forth either…Jesus Himself employed them about various subjects, including Himself. Why do you think that is?
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst
Food and drink are two things every human can relate to. We know what it is like to be hungry and thirsty; these are experiences we’ve all had. When a food metaphor is used, it is then easy to connect to no matter who you are.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Food and drink are essential to life. Food gives us energy, and strength. It helps us to grow and even to think. Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry that it is easier to zone out; usually we just concentrate on the rumblings in our stomachs. When you are thirsty all you can think of is how thirsty you are, how great it would be for a nice cool glass of some kind of sparkling liquid to quench that thirst.
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, one of the outcomes of the isolation was that Jesus was hungry. Here comes the devil to tempt Him with food. Command the stones to become bread, the devil prodded. How did Jesus answer? Matthew 4:4…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The metaphor is doubled when we consider that Christ Himself is the very Word of God.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
So, that is our answer to getting spiritual food; we turn to the word of God; scripture, and also to The Word of God; Christ. In the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies, helps us to grow, to concentrate, to be strong…so too does turning to the word and The Word of God. I’ve mentioned before that I find it interesting that those who do not have a relationship with God; those that are not permanently quenching that thirst, try to quench it through various means, be it with drugs, human relationships, fame, physical food, man-made philosophy, etc… While in their current lives, these things may add something, we are more concerned with eternal life. It reminds me of the occurrence of pica; the ingestion of substances that don’t really have any nutritional value…such as clay from a river bank. Often times it gives the impression that one is feeding oneself, it makes you feel full for a time, but in reality, the person is not getting anything from what they are eating. In fact, their body may be in need of some essential nutrient, but they are not getting it from the substance that they consume.
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
So, for me, it is clear why food metaphors are used; they are central to the human experience, food and drink are necessary for life, we gather energy and strength from them, and let’s face it, most of us like good food. Food, in the best of times, also becomes a communal experience, something shared between people. Food connects us and enhances our lives…so it should be with spiritual food as well. Just as with physical food and drink, we need to keep part of our minds on our health. It matters very much what we put into ourselves, what we feed on, what we draw our nutrition from.