Bread of Life
I love bread. I love sandwiches. I love toast. I love hamburger and hot dog buns. Even simple bread-n-butter. Bread is a universal food across all cultures. Pita bread. Naan. Tortillas. White bread. Wheat. Rye. Pumpernickel.
Hunger is a natural and good thing. Hunger tells us we need to take nourishment. Thirst indicates we need fluids. Hunger drives us to bread (and vegetables and meat and cheese and chocolate chip cookies).
Jesus tapped into this universal food to give us a powerful image of who He is.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35 NIV)
Hunger is good. Going hungry is not. Gnawing hunger from lack of food is painful and debilitating. It sounds good, doesn't it? Never being hungry again? Never thirsting again?
The metaphor is not about our physical hunger response. It's about the hunger of our soul. We hunger for God. We thirst to know Him. It's the hunger and thirst the Psalmist taps into in Psalm 42:1-2:
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
According to Genesis 1, human beings are created in the image of God. We are created like Him. We are created with the capacity to love. And with the capacity to choose. We are created for a relationship with the God who made us. And that soul hunger/thirst is hard-wired into our DNA. It is what makes us human.
We sometimes try to feed the hunger for love and relationship with the junk food of other people and other things. And that works to a point. Loving relationships with our parents, with our children, with our siblings and cousins, with our closest friends, with our neighbors and community feed the hunger within us that is God-given.
It is simple reality that trying to feed the soul's hunger for God with fame or fortune or material things will never satisfy. The latest iPhone or coolest car will give fleeting pleasure, but leave us empty, and always wanting more of something we often cannot articulate. That hunger is the hunger for God. Human relationships cannot fully satisfy the hunger. Material things cannot fill us. Only a relationship with God can.
Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is nourishment to my hungry soul. His love satiates the thirst of my soul for my Creator. Knowing Him as a personal reality in my life changes everything. The longing for love in my soul is met by His love in the deepest ways. As a matter of fact, human loves actually deepen and sweeten in flavor and substance when Jesus' love is already satisfying the soul. His love makes the other loves of our lives more satisfying.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8 NIV)
Seek a deep relationship with Jesus, and He will satisfy the hunger of your soul. Run to Him. Pray to Him. Depend on Him. Trust Him with all you are and all your life. He will give you living Bread that will never leave your soul hungry or thirsty again.