Isaiah 55 (MSG)
“Hey there! All who are thirsty,
come to the water!
Are you penniless?
Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,”
Everyone is thirsty. We are all longing for something to fill a void. But sometimes we don’t know it, because we stuff ourselves with a bunch of fluff; things that aren’t nutritious or satisfying. Cotton candy tastes wonderful! But it melts in your mouth immediately, and never gives a satisfied, full feeling. There are so many ways the human race does this. Unbelievers and believers alike try to add meaning to their life by what they “do”. But this Scripture clearly states that we are trying to pay for something that He’s provided free of charge! Or how often have we run to cozy pj’s and an evening of Lifetime movies for the comfort only time spent pursuing the Comforter can give?
Jesus likened Himself to a tall drink of water!
If you read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, you’ll see that Jesus called Himself Living Water that satisfies forever.
Drinking from the well that satisfies! Jesus didn’t spend time telling this woman how wonderful she was. In order to drink this Living Water, she had to hear some things that were difficult to hear. But she was thirsty, and she recognized the answer when He came to her.
How many of us would stick around for these difficult words? Most of us would run faster than our legs could carry us! But the Son of God made her aware of her thirst, and she wanted to quench this thirst more than she wanted to hear nice things about herself.
Jesus likened Himself to bread!
I happen to be on a fast; fasting sugar, potatoes and wheat flour. That’s everything worth eating, right? My grocery bill has suffered! All of the inexpensive “fillers” are out of my life. Eating right and living a healthy lifestyle comes at a cost. At the very least you will spend more energy pursuing physical health, and more than likely it it will cost more money as well. It is impossible to put a price of soul satisfaction. But the Good News is that the price has been paid! All we need to do is choose the right spiritual food. Sometimes we prefer to hear words that are melt-in-your-mouth morsels rather than a tough piece of meat that requires much chewing and a month to digest. We become offended with our pastors and teachers and ultimately God’s Word, because they are no longer “encouraging” and yummy to our delicate taste buds.
Eating healthy food isn’t easy…especially if you aren’t used to it. It takes hard work and discipline to train your body to desire the right things. Because of my fast, I’ve had bread on the brain, so it struck me hard when I came across this Scripture from John 6 in the Message.
27″Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that. Work for the food that sticks with you, food that nourishes your lasting life, food the Son of Man provides. He and what he does are guaranteed by God the Father to last.”
28To that they said, “Well, what do we do then to get in on God’s works?”
29Jesus said, “Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s works.”… 35-38Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. I have told you this explicitly because even though you have seen me in action, you don’t really believe me. Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go. I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.
I find it curious that both Isaiah and Jesus, when likening spirituality to food and drink also speak of commitment. The only time that I’ve survived a fast or diet is when I’ve been committed to that decision as a lifestyle.
Another portion of Isaiah 55 states,
6-7Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.
We always assume we can live any old way and come back to Jesus anytime we decide to. But this verse provokes an interesting thought. It insinuates that there are times when God is closer than others, and that we must capitalize on these times.
The woman at the well, recognized one of these times. Jesus was close at hand, and she allowed Him to make the most of this opportunity.
We tend to think that we can eat junk food until we’re in our 40’s and 50’s and still enjoy optimum health. But that’s not true! And so it is in our spiritual lives. There is a time table of health, and consequences to pay for how we’ve treated our bodies. The longer we sow junk into our lives, the harder it is to abandon our old way of life.
Let me encourage you today. Throw in your lot with Jesus! Stop trying to satisfy yourself with sugary air! Come to the well of Living Waters…and have the discipline to hear and do hard things. He is the Bread of Life, and just like a great loaf of bread, He fills and satisfies. Check your spiritual “diet”. Are you trying to survive on cotton candy?
Perhaps taking private communion this week would be a good reminder of ensuring proper spiritual food. Will you join me in doing so?