God knows that I’ve had my share of diets over the years. I’ve tried every possible fad diet you can think about. Most of them have always ended with me concluding that ‘it isn’t working out’ or that ‘this diet isn’t for my body type’ or that ‘I’ll just make up my own diet’. Anyway, just when I was almost done writing off all kinds of diets, I read John 4 (verses 27 – 35) and got introduced to a Jesus-prescribed diet. This should ideally work right?
Let me first paraphrase the passage for you.
Jesus, tired from the journey, was resting by a well in Samaria where He met and ministered to a Samaritan woman; while His disciples went to pick up a takeaway lunch in town. When they were back, they found Jesus talking to this Samaritan woman and they instantly raised eyebrows wondering why Jesus, a Jew, would dare to do such a thing. (Note: This was because of the long-standing animosity between Jews and Samaritans).
Anyhoo, the lady took off to tell her whole town about the ‘Messiah by the Well’ who told her ‘everything about her life’. The disciples, after she left, urged Jesus to eat some of the food that they had bought back assuming He must have been starving. But He told them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” Erm, what? What was He talking about? They were confused and wondered if someone had brought Jesus food while they were away!
Jesus seeing their confused faces explained to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months until the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are riped for harvest.”
Erm, again, what? What was Jesus trying to tell His disciples?
I thought about this long and hard and here are few thoughts I wrote in my journal:
1) “I have food to eat that you know nothing about”. Jesus was certain that the disciples were unaware of the ‘food’ that He was talking about. He knew their minds were finite and their focus was worldly. He preempted their inability to understand His words and already was prepared to explain it to them.
Note to Self: Becky, it’s okay to not understand everything God’s Word says. He’s not expecting you to. He understands that your understanding is limited and finite. He is also willing and prepared to help you understand and unpack what He’s saying.
2) “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work”. Jesus compared doing the Father’s will to food. FOOD! Something as basic and necessary as food. This part really awakened me to think: Do I really value the will of God as much as I do food? Do I consider it an essential to my daily living? Is it so second-nature to me that I need it to survive and live a wholesome life? Even while journeying and resting and going about His usual business on earth, Jesus didn’t allow Himself to forget what His main purpose was. He knew exactly why He was sent and what He was meant to be doing.
Note to Self: Becky, amid meal planning, prepping for food, worrying about food and obsessing about food; do you spend half as much time considering what God’s will looks like for you? You have three meals a day (at the least, not counting all the snacking in between) but how many times a day or even in a week do you stop to enquire of God about His will. Are you constantly reminding yourself of ‘the One who sent you’ and how you are going to ‘finish His work’?
3) What exactly then, is the “will of the One who sent me”? I asked myself this too. I’m sure the disciples wondered that too. Jesus explained: “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months until the harvest’? I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are riped for harvest.”
Jesus reveals something important here. Four months was the usual time it took from the sowing of the seed till the crop was ready for harvest. Jesus knew that the disciples were aware of this. He uses that as a point of reference to bring their attention to the fact that the ‘new harvest’ He was talking about didn’t take that much time! It was ready! Jesus knew that while He was still speaking to them, the Samaritan woman was already telling people about her ‘Messiah’ encounter and bringing many to believe in her testimony. He was referring to the harvest of souls that were ripe and ready to accept Him as Messiah.
While it is God’s desire that we live wholesome lives on earth and do well in life; His primary will for us is that we get going and do something about the end-time harvest. He wants us to be as intentional about the Great Commission as we are about eating. He wants us to need it as much we need nutrition. While we are primarily pursuing the humdrum and mundane or doing our best to make ends meet; the Father’s will takes a major backseat in our lives. While we are so focused on that next new work project, or on family matters or fun and entertainment; the Father’s heart beats for the broken and the lost.
Note to Self: Becky, your primary work isn’t the work that you do, it is using the work that you do to point people to the Messiah. If everything I do every day doesn’t point to Him, it is all pointless indeed. I need to be more conscious of how I’m fulfilling the Great Commission and if I am not, is anything else I am fulfilling worth it at all?
I was deeply moved and encouraged by this Jesus-prescribed diet. I hope you are too!
NOTE: I plan to post musings from my personal journaling and study on the gospel according to John more regularly on this blog. Please enter your e-mail address below to subscribe and get notified each time I upload something.