Empty Shelves

Living in Florida means living with the threat of hurricanes. In preparation for the arrival of a forecasted hurricane, I went to the store to stock up on essentials. I quickly realized I was not the only person doing so! In fact, it was obvious many had already done so! This was four days before the forecasted arrival of the hurricane, and the bread shelves were already bare.

Another aisle of shelves that was nearly empty was the bottled water aisle. We were warned to stock up on water in case the water out of the tap became undrinkable. People certainly had heeded the warning! Fortunately, for us in Florida, the hurricane missed us.

The experience of the empty bread shelves and water shelves clearly indicates the importance of bread and water. If bread and water are the basic provisions for physical survival, then what would be their counterpart in the realm of spiritual health? What are the bread and water for the soul?

We have many options for trying to fill this deepest hunger and thirst. Often, we mix our own personal cocktail of these. Sometimes, we opt for that which is outright harmful such as over drinking, drug use, or pornography.

At other times, when we feel empty, alone, fearful, joyless, bored or whatever, we opt for that which is not necessarily bad, and sometimes is actually good. We go for our favorite comfort food, watch TV, go to the movies, read a novel, go shopping, spend time on a favorite hobby, or try to gain the attention and affirmation of others. We attempt to make such things our primary source of gratification, satisfaction, or fulfillment, and they’re not up to the task. They can be good for us but can never be the best for us!

So back to the fundamental question: what’s to be the bread and water for the soul? Most everyone agrees that Jesus was one of the greatest spiritual teachers of all time. He taught on this subject of what’s to be the bread and water in the spiritual part of our lives. Astonishingly, He taught that He is this bread and water!

On a regular basis I’ll pray, “Lord, I want you to be my bread and water.” I need this reminder that He is to be my all in all, my greatest satisfaction.

In our pre-hurricane prep we shoppers didn’t go to the shelves that stocked electronic devices, books, toys, tools, or candy. We went for the shelves that stocked bread and water! In a crisis we know what we need most. Wise are we when we realize this even when not in a crisis!

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35

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