So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
I want you to imagine something and I know it may sound a little stupid but humor me anyway. I have a bottle of water here that I drink out of as I work. It’s water that is crystal clear. It has been purified, chilled and tastes absolutely wonderful. Now, imagine that I have another bottle and this contains water that is a little rancid, off color and could make you sick drinking it. Which of these would you drink? Dumb question, yes?
Yet, one of life’s greatest tragedies is that this is exactly what we do when it comes to drinking the water of life. Speaking for God the prophet Jeremiah says, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Pornography, alcohol, drugs - they’re all dirty water and you know as well as I do that they do not quench anything; just leave us thirsty again.
A few chapters before the one we read today spoke about an encounter that a Samaritan woman had with Jesus. He tells her that the water she drinks will only leave her thirsty again but whoever drank the water he gave would never thirst. The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water” (John 4:15). In today’s passage Jesus speaks to people about the bread of life. And like the Samaritan woman they they say, “Sir, give us this bread.”
This bread is ours to have. Isaiah 55 begins with a grand invitation: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
I know you are thirsty, not for this water that comes out of bottles. I know that you are hungry, not for the food you lay on the table. You are thirsty for the water of life and are hungry for the bread of life. This is Jesus. You get a little taste of him every morning through these reflections. Start to feast of him through the day and like he says: Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
May you never hunger. And may you never thirst.