Posted: 4/12/17 at 10:40am. Column by Ed Jordan.
A foodie is someone very interested in food, especially in eating it. Are you a foodie? I am! I love to eat all sorts of foods, from a variety of cultures.
Thinking about the different flavors makes my mouth water. Some of my favorites are Basque Meatballs, Hungarian Chicken Paprika, Thai-flavored crab tacos, Devil’s Pork Chop (grilled, with hot chili paste on one side and honey mustard on the other) and a new favorite, Irish Pork Roast.
Even more importantly, remembering “foodie” experiences with family and friends warms my heart.
Like the time we sat with friends on a grapevine-covered balcony in Spilt, Croatia, feasting on fresh local seafood, or tasting garlic soup in Halstatt, Austria, or hosting innumerable BBQs with guests in our own backyard. It’s not just the food, it’s the company.
For foodies, eating is not only a necessity, but also an enjoyable experience. When we eat we savor the flavors, the textures, and aromas. Food is necessary for life, but it is also a factor in the quality of life. Even the simplest dishes of plain, peasant food can become a gourmet feast if we take the time to experience the food and company.
As much as I enjoy good food, there is another dimension of life that is even more essential to the quality of our lives. That level is experiencing the ongoing nourishment that comes from God.
There is a very interesting event in the life of Jesus. Jesus was passing through a region known as Samaria, where there was a long-standing feud between Samaritans and Jews. Regardless, Jesus told His disciples that He needed to go through Samaria.
One afternoon, Jesus sat down near a well, and the disciples went into town to buy food. A woman from Samaria came out in the heat of the day to draw water from the well. Jesus began a conversation with her, asking her to give him a drink of water. Her cultural baggage came bursting out. Jesus answered her by saying that if she understood who she was really talking to, she would ask Him for a drink and He would gladly give her living water. If she would receive the living water He offered her, she would never thirst again.
When the disciples returned with food, they tried to get Jesus to stop talking with the lady and eat the food they had brought for him to eat. Here is what Jesus said to the disciples in John 4:32–34 (NLT): But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” The disciples asked each other, “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”
All too often we become so consumed with enjoying the physical and material things of life that we don’t even consider another kind of nourishment. In response to the disciples’ thinking that this physical life was all that mattered, Jesus taught that the real Nourisher and Feeder of our lives is God. In this encounter Jesus told all of us that God is the source of nourishment for the soul, and that accomplishing what God placed us here to do, is the food that really feeds our hunger for meaning and purpose.
Investing our lives in God’s work, in doing the will of God the Father, should become a priority for all of us. It is a food that sustains us in the difficulties of life, a food that gives us the strength that can only come from God. It is in eating and drinking up the presence of God, that God becomes all that we need in life, and more.
God has given us creativity, and many kinds of food with literally myriads of flavors, textures and aromas. He has given us taste buds, and the abilities to smell, taste, and perceive the textures of food. These are all wonderful gifts, and the foods provided for us are to be received and enjoyed with thanksgiving. We can be foodies!
However, in the midst of enjoying physical foods, let’s not forget, nor neglect, the eternal spiritual food that God makes freely available to us in Jesus. Jesus is both the Living Bread who has come down to give us eternal life, and the Living Water who can satisfy the thirsts of our souls forever.
Daily experiencing Jesus as the Living Bread and the Living Water will turn us into spiritual foodies as well. It will nourish us, and others, forever!