Vacations offer a vital opportunity to escape from the rigors and monotony of our daily lives to do something different. For some, that means challenging physical activity, for others it is exploring faraway places and cultures, and for still others it is rest and relaxation. Invariably, the nature of the change makes us more aware and appreciative of our surroundings. We might find ourselves drinking in the beauty of sunsets and nature, breathing deeply of ocean or mountain breezes, or losing ourselves in activity requiring total concentration (like white-water paddling). In the end, we are “eating up” and “drinking in” experiences and environments that are life-giving. It is usually sad to leave all that to return to the routine. But, is there a way to hold onto – even practice daily – the uplifting aspects of vacation?
Jesus made an outrageous statement of Truth that actually cost Him followers. “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” (John 6:53-55)
Far from cannibalism, Jesus was attempting to relate the simplicity of relationship with Him that resembles the benefits accompanying vacation venue changes, but surpasses them in constancy, endurance, and depth of experience. We know how to drink in the beauty of nature and feed on exhilarating experiences. But how do we eat His flesh and drink His blood? John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Fortunately, His Word is readily available today online and at any bookstore. Although the Bible is composed of words, they are not ordinary words, but spiritual – God-breathed. (2 Tim 3:16) They are living and active (Heb 4:12), and therefore feed our spirits, in the same way that food nourishes our bodies. The greatest nutritional benefit occurs when we chew our food slowly and deliberately – when we meditate on the Word. Jesus goes on to say, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life.” (John 6:63)
From the time of Moses, God has been very particular about the way His people should deal with blood (whether human or animal), because “the life is in the blood.” (Lev 17:11) It was not until Jesus poured out His precious blood for us at the cross that anyone started to understand the significance. Jesus’ death to our sin, opened a path for us to eternity with Him. As we drink in the reality of His work, we get to participate in His abundant life right now, and eternal life in the future. (John 10:10)
Similar to the way vacation transports us to a physical reality, we can experience the spiritual reality Jesus was describing. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57Just 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.” (John 6:56-57) This spiritual place is ABIDING in Him — a venue that brings peace to the stresses/rigors, totally eliminates life’s monotony, and goes with us wherever we go every single day. Is this amazing gift worth a change in our diets?