This morning I woke to the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the downstairs oven. After a night of battling a violent cough I wasn’t feeling too great. But the aroma of food drew me downstairs.
Food has become a new concept to me. I’m beginning to realize that spiritual nourishment is just as vital to life as physical nourishment. Since August I have been studying the gospel of John through Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).
The story that I remember the most is from Chapter 3, the woman at the well. To this Samaritan woman, Jesus speaks of living water. A concept where someone thirsts no longer for material things, but instead is forever satisfied by something spiritual.
I really like this story, firstly because she is a woman, and women during the time of Jesus were not treated equally with men, but Jesus treats her as a daughter, or a beloved friend. Secondly because Jesus knows this woman’s greatest need and how to satisfy it.
While studying this chapter, my body was in a very bad condition. Chronic pain is part of my life from rising out of bed to lying down again. Some days are worse than others and I will tell you, pain medicine is never kind enough to me. Neither is the strict diet I’ve been on since February, nor the physical therapy I’ve kept up with.
So I was having a hard day with the pain in my body, and I read this story of Jesus with the woman at the well. When Jesus tells her about living water she asks how she can get this living water and thirst no more. Interestingly enough I had the same question.
“How Lord,” I asked, “How can I live without wanting freedom from chronic pain? How can I find full satisfaction apart from my earthly needs?”
Jesus tells her about the gift of eternal life, freedom from the law, a life of worship in spirit and truth. I remember feeling incompetent and confused. I asked how the Samaritan woman was able to grasp the gift of spiritual nourishment and release her want search for love from her past five husbands.
The story goes one. Later in the chapter Jesus is with his friends and they encourage him to eat some food. But he says “no”, because his nourishment come from doing the will and work of God.
I began to see the truth in this concept of “living water.” In my own life from my graduating high school, then college and on to my first job interview, I have always been seeking my own will, what I want to do with my life. But my pursuit of happiness apart from God’s will is always disappointing. Recently, with the revelation of this past Autumn and studying the book of John, I am now beginning to understand that there is greater satisfaction in doing the will of God, spending my life in service.
For me the will of God is accepting where he has placed me, the circumstances, the people and the passions instilled within me: Social justice, immigration, refugees, racial reconciliation.
This morning I didn’t touch the soft cinnamon rolls, even though it is Christmas. Instead I sat and reflected on how God has given us all something better than tangible food. He’s given us the gift of eternal life through is Son, born a baby, died a savior and risen a King. He knows your greatest needs before you even do. And even more he knows how to satisfy them.