SOMETHING TO READ: John 4:31-32
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”
SOMETHING TO THINK: Ripe fields for harvest Imagine Jesus was talking to the Woman of Samaria at the well when the disciples arrive with their minds full of food whereas Jesus has been awakening in a woman’s soul an awareness of the need for something more than bread and water. Humans do not just need to be fed, they need to be fulfilled. There is a vacuum in each of us that can only be filled by God, just like there is a craving in us that can only be filled by food. One glance at our world is enough to show us that it is ‘ripe’ with both kinds of need. To address one without the other is fulfilling only half Jesus’ challenge. If we ask ‘When?’ God’s answer will always be, ‘Now!’ If we ask, ‘Who?’ his answer will always be, ‘You!’
In Massachusetts, USA, in 1912 the government passed a law that women and under-18s could not work more than a 54-hour week. The employers at the massive wool mill in Lawrence responded to the losses this would entail by reducing hours and wages across the board. There was a historic strike, during which the women workers carried banners demanding that they needed not only a living wage, but also a life which was spiritually fulfilling. And they sang James Oppenheim and Martha Coleman’s song ‘Bread and Roses’:
‘Our lives shall not be sweated
from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies;
give us bread, but give us also roses!’
SOMETHING TO DO: Feed the soul as well.
Look back on the last twenty-four hours. Make a mental list of what has fed your body (meals, drinks, snacks). Then make a mental list of what has fed your soul (music, prayer, beauty). Has one outweighed the other? If so, put it right before you sleep tonight. Some people might call what you are doing a treat. Others recognize a necessity.
SOMETHING TO PRAY:
Use the words of the song to remember before God those who have died for lack of food, but also those whose lives have withered for lack of Living Water and Bread from Heaven:
‘No art and love and beauty
their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for –
but we fight for roses, too!’
COLOSSIANS 3:18 – 4:6 The Message