John 6.22-27

(Next morning the crowd was standing on the opposite shore. They had seen only one boat there, and Jesus, they knew, had not embarked with his disciples, who had gone away without him. Boats from Tiberias, however, came ashore near the place where the people had eaten the bread over which the Lord gave thanks. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were any longer there, they themselves went aboard these boats and made for Capernaum in search of Jesus. They found him on the other side.)

“Rabbi,” they said, “when did you come here?”

Jesus replied, “In very truth I know that you have come looking for me because your hunger was satisfied with the loaves you ate, not because you saw signs. You must work, not for this perishable food, but for the food that lasts, the food of eternal life.”

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6 responses

  1. I'd be interested in your thoughts on the verses that follow these, from verse 30 through 58, especially: I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." I've always found it difficult to see anything else in this passage other than a reference to the Holy Eucharist, because of the previous religious affiliation in which I was raised. Recently a friend pointed out to me the similarities between verse 34:"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." …and the words of the Samaritan woman in John 4:15: The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." Since this chapter has never been associated in my mind with the Eucharist, reading it together with Jesus' words about eating his flesh and drinking his blood helped me break out a bit from the very narrow interpretation I was used to. I can see where Jesus is telling us to "eat and drink" his words, to assimilate them into our very being…so that if we are what we eat, as the popular saying goes, then this "food" will become part of us and we will be like Jesus and seek to do the will of the Father.So I'd be interested in reading what you had to say about the rest of this chapter.

  2. I'm sorry I've been too disheartened & lazy lately to keep this site going properly! Thank you for reminding me! All right, soon!You may or may not know that "living water" is water from a spring, contrasted with water from a well or any other human source… (I just like what this suggests about spiritual nourishment welling up naturally within each willing person!)Anyway, the original version of the eucharist was probably a full kosher meal for everybody hungry who came. Not a ceremony, though of course the food would be properly blessed. But what would be sanctifying about it, as you say, would be what one got via Jesus' words and absorbing his sense of things._Zen Flesh, Zen Bones_ has a few incidents where a teacher will tell a student "You have my flesh", or if the transmission of understanding was complete, "You have my bones!"There's also the expression "looking out from under the eyebrows of all the Buddhas." I think that we certainly need to assimilate Jesus' words, far more than even his followers realize– but that even more, we need to share the mind in which his words were self-evident.

  3. Thanks for your reply, forrest.About 25 yr ago B.C. (Before Children :-)), my husband and I used to spend some of our summer vacation time at a yoga ashram. I remember the guru saying once, before he began his teaching, that we should meditate carefully on everything he was about to say so that we would really come to understand it. He said, "Chew each word well."BTW- what have you been disheartened about? (Not that I can't think of quite a few reasons why myself.)

  4. >>Anyway, the original version of the eucharist was probably a full kosher meal for everybody hungry who came.While we're on the subject of eating and drinking, here's another passage that maybe you could comment on when you get the chance: Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.1Cor 11: 27-29 I no longer see in this passage a warning against receiving Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin (although I mean no disrespect toward anyone who follows this interpretation). However, I'm wondering what Paul was actually saying to the people his letter was addressed to.I seem to remember reading somewhere (maybe in something John Dominic Crossan wrote), that the Corinthians sat according to their rank in society when they came together to partake of the Lord's Supper. The "higher ups" would come early and eat all the food they brought and not wait to share any of it with the members of the "lower class" who arrived later. So when the poor folk got there, bringing only their more meager fare, that's all they would have to eat. When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. v. 20-21 Have you read anything like this?

  5. I'm thinking about Isaih 58.6 etc:"Is not this the fast I choose:to loose the bonds of wickedness,to undo the throngs of the yoke,to let the oppressed go freeand to break every yoke?Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,and bring the homeless poor into your house;when you see the naked, to cover himand not to hide yourself from your own flesh?"I'm inclined to say that he's saying: "If you don't see that you're here eating with Christ, that you and the bum down the table are the same being, you just aren't getting it!"[Hmmm, never put those two passages together before!]Disheartenment, laziness? I don't know, either trying to make myself do the right thing reluctantly, or holding off on something that I don't yet know how to do, or whether I'm still called to it. Namely, resurrecting a defunct local monthly on poverty issues I used to edit, & the question of: Is this my impossible task, or just one I miss?

  6. Forrest, I understand encouragement – often well deserved. I have great respect for what you've done here. I didn't become inactive due to discouragement, but due to another interest that intervened.You have carried the baton for some years now;it would be nice if someone else was called to pick it up.Best regards.

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