Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Isaiah 33:16
It was a mission trip that brought this to mind. There at the humble home of my host family, the first evening meal was set forth with bowls of steaming soup. Dipping in with gusto, I kept a vigorous pace, relishing the savory broth with its hearty chunks of soy meat. At least that’s what my vegetarian mind assumed. Gratified at my obvious enjoyment, the host filled my empty bowl to the brim with a generous second helping. “He likes your goat soup,” he said to his wife with a proud smile.
The biblical bread and water would have been welcome at that point. The second bowl went down much slower than the first. The ancient languages leave unclear whether the Bible promise is really a figurative term for Special K loaf and Draper Valley grape juice. But really, I’m fine with just plain bread and water.
I do love bread — homemade, crusty, whole-wheat goodness. It has occupied an indelible spot in my life since early memories of my mother kneeling before a grinder and a bag of Montana hard red wheat to laboriously create stoneground flour. Gluten intolerance was apparently not an option.
But if we had to depend upon God’s bread now, what would He provide? Would He be able to satisfy our cultivated sensitivities?
You see, we’ve learned many things during long hours on the Internet. Facebook friends and online blogs have schooled us in a multitude of fine-print worries. They cause me to wonder.
Would our heavenly Father be careful not to use genetically modified wheat? Would He know of the problems caused by inflammatory gluten? Would He be savvy to the reported ills of grain brain or wheat belly from those nasty carbohydrates?
Would His water be purified from a heavenly spring, or out of a tap with chemicals and traces of discarded drugs? Would His brown rice be from some celestial farm, or full of arsenic from the earth? Would His fruit or vegetables be organic or irradiated?
I understand the desire to feel energetic and clear-headed. If eating a vegan or gluten-free diet relieves your challenging symptoms — amen to that. If a raw-foods-only regimen has brought health and healing to your body and soul, so be it. If the CHIP program has saved your life, I rejoice with you.
But somewhere, someday, you’re going to sit down at a friend’s table where the fellowship is fine but edible options are limited. That’s when the simple act of grace — “Lord, please (PLEASE!) bless this food to our needs” — becomes most meaningful.
It’s also when that promise of bread and water takes on added spiritual meaning. The Christian walk includes an important truism. It’s not about us, straining over salvation by avoidance. It’s about Him, the One who can bridge the gap between the ideal and the real. It's about Him, the One who can turn water to wine and transform a meager lunch into an abundance for thousands.
It's a transformative promise as we gratefully accept whatever bread and water He places before us today.