I’ve begun the reading this week earlier than what we are given in the lectionary (that’s the set readings we follow each week). I’ve done that because I think that when we talk about the bread of life that is fits to include the feeding of the 5000.
w this is a story we all know very well, even though the actual numbers of people fed can differ between the gospels. I think we can safely say that a very large number of people were fed, and this event impacted upon all those who were present. As Jesus continues the conversation with those who were present at this feeding, he explains that earthly bread only nourishes for time, but that the bread of life nourishes eternally. Sound familiar?
This is the theme of the discussion with the Samaritan woman we looked at a couple of weeks ago expect then it was living water that will never run dry. In verse 35 of our reading these two images are joined together when Jesus explains that all who come to him will never be hungry and anyone who believes in him will never be thirsty. It is here that we have one of the famous “I am” statements – “I am the bread of life.” (v35)
f you read the whole passage from v1 to 59 there are some interesting questions and responses. Some of those present question Jesus, asking how he can make these proclamations and others like being sent from heaven or offering of his flesh and blood to the world. Jesus responds that all who know God will come to him, and he will offer them life. This life is eternal because of the connection to God, through Christ. We don’t even have to wait for it to begin when we die because it begins right now.
Eternal life begins in our relationship with Christ and continues on from this life into the next. When we attend worship or any other church function, we may not even think of the eternal life, yet we partake in it every day. The relationship with God and the relationship with other Christians is what nourishes our souls. The spiritual practices of prayer, worship, and study (among others) remind us of our connection with God through Christ. The practices that focus on others, including missions and fellowship, remind us that our relationships with others enriches our lives as well.