• Scott Watkins

Jesus' Favorite Food Should Be Ours Too

Food is something we think about often, but in another way hardly at all. Very few of us go a day without giving thought to meal planning. But we rarely think deeply about food.

Food is powerful. We form deep attachments to it (think comfort food). We can struggle with serious disappointment when we expect our favorite meal and get something different. Our survival requires food, and it has the power to bring death depending on what and how much we consume. The food we choose has consequences.

Because everyone eats, these concepts are understood universally if not consciously. So, it is not surprising that Jesus often used food to communicate spiritual truths.

I prefer to eat a low carb, no sugar, gluten-free diet. When I eat with others, this often provokes a reaction. Some scoff and become offended; others show polite interest. A few are inspired to make changes themselves. Eating differently from the crowd is polarizing. And so it was with Jesus in a town called Sychar, somewhere in Samaria between Jerusalem and Galilee.

After arriving in town at midday, Jesus and his disciples were hungry (see John 4). The disciples went to the market to get food while Jesus waited outside the town. As he waited, he spoke with a woman drawing water from the well. The encounter was life changing for her. And Jesus’ experience so satiated him, that when the disciples came back and offered him something to eat, he declined, saying that he had food they didn’t know about. A special diet, so to speak.

This confused his disciples. Jesus should have been hungry; he should have wanted the food they brought him. Instead, he was full, having satisfied himself another way. Jesus explained his food was doing the will of God (John 4:34) and the words that come from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

In Sychar, Jesus used food to teach his disciples an important principle of following him. Throughout Scripture, God communicates to his people the life-giving properties of his words. But consistent with my experience, Jesus taught that people’s responses to this diet vary.

His parable of the sower (see Mark 4) describes a range of responses to God’s word. Some refuse to hear it. Others let the busyness or cares of life distract them from experiencing it. Others dabble with it but in time quit. But there are those that embrace it and experience fruitfulness many times over.

The Word of God is alive and active, speaking to us in our unique circumstances. Jesus told his followers to pray, ‘give us this day our daily bread’. This isn’t just for physical needs; man doesn’t live by bread alone. God’s word, the only source of genuine life, is available to us daily. He has a word of life for you today, and another word tomorrow, and another the day after that. Day by day, God wants to feed you from his never-ending source of life.

People consider diets when their lives get messy, when they get sick, overweight, tired or depressed. When our spiritual lives become unhealthy, it is wise to consider Jesus’ favorite food.