Though I grew up in the church, spirituality doesn’t come naturally to me. I suck at “feeling” the presence of God, and I have a hard time figuring out what being in a relationship with Jesus is supposed to be like. (“Rely on Jesus”? Should that mean more than hoping/praying really hard that he’ll help when I’m stressed out? You’d think a Bible minor might have figured this out by now.)
But in my daily readings a while ago, I saw a picture of what reliance on God looks like–in Exodus 16, when God provides the Israelites with manna.
I have a Scofield NKJV study Bible. Though sometimes I have a hard time tracking with Scofield’s very minute typology, one of his notes stood out to me: “As man is not nourished by the memory of food, so the Christian cannot be spiritually sustained on past appropriations of Christ.” This was in reference to 16:20, where the manna gathered from the previous day did not last.
The cross-references also brought me to John 6:30-58, where the people came to Capernaum to find Jesus and asked about manna. Though the connections between the passages are pretty obvious, I don’t think I ever read them together before.
The people in John 6 thought of the manna as simply food–not as evidence of God’s provision or their ancestors’ tangible need to rely on Him daily.
Give us this day our daily bread.
These passages struck me with the necessity of the daily, continual acknowledgement of God’s presence and provision. I have nothing that I am not given. My needs are never unknown.
The passages also bring to mind the meaning of the word “communion,” how Bible reading is referred to as daily bread, how Jesus said he is the bread of life, and how John described Jesus as the word made flesh. “What is it?” is both how the Israelites reacted to manna and how I react to the idea of a relationship with Jesus.
Like with manna, a relationship with Jesus seems to have both a spiritual and a tangible aspect. I’m not sure which I have more to learn about.