“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” (John 6:35, ESV)
There is no longing more basic to the human experience than that of hunger and thirst. From the poorest beggar on the street to the richest king in his palace, everyone experiences these repeated reminders of our need and dependency.
In John 6, Jesus is talking to those who had eaten of the miracle meal from the fish and loaves. Jesus knew that the crowd was following him because they desired more of this kind of food (v. 26). They missed the spiritual reality to which the miracle was pointing–that Jesus satisfies and gives life. Jesus corrects them saying, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.” (v. 27)
How often do we need that correction? We spend much of our days laboring for that which satisfies momentarily only to perish and leave us hungering for more. Jesus stands before us all, inviting us to come to him to receive true bread and true drink that provides eternal life and satisfaction in every circumstance (v. 55). Jesus is the true manna sent from heaven. Like that heavenly food which sustained the hungry Israelites in the wilderness, Jesus provides sustenance to all who believe in him. Yet, the first heavenly bread only met a temporal need; the true Bread of Life (to whom the manna pointed) meets eternal needs.
So, let us labor for that food. Let us labor to believe in Christ who offers his own flesh and blood as true bread and true drink. The best that the world can offer will always leave us hungry again. Jesus simply offers himself, and whoever comes to him shall not hunger.