Summary: When our physical hunger is satisfied, what can satisfy our hunger for security and satisfaction of the soul?
In his book entitled God‘s Psychiatry, Charles Allen tells this story:
As World War II was drawing to a close, the Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans. They were placed in camps where they were well-fed. Despite excellent care, they slept poorly. They seemed nervous and afraid. Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution. Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he was put to bed. This particular piece of bread was just to be held—not eaten. The piece of bread produced wonderful results. The children went to bed knowing instinctively they would have food to eat the next day. That guarantee gave the children a restful and contented sleep.
What can be notable about this bread … is that it wasn‘t bread for the stomach, but bread for the soul. Their stomachs were already full. But a deeper hunger and need was at hand… a need to find security and satisfaction of soul.
As we get older… we understand the need for bread… but also the limits of physical bread. We lose the adolescent illusion of immortality… like holding water in our hands. Anyone who has outgrown it takes claims of eternal life seriously.
As we continue in our series A Journey with Jesus through the Gospel of John… Jesus speaks to the deeper hunger in all of us. Jesus speaks to another well fed group in need of bread. You may recall that he had massive crowds following him… and one late afternoon when a crowd followed him across the Sea of Galilee, the obvious need for food arose as it was late and there was no place to get food… that Jesus was offered a boys lunch.. and from it miraculously fed somewhere between 5,000 to 15,000 lives. Soon after we come to this dialogue wit those who followed him.
25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" 26 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." 30 So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." 35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.