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spiritual output is just as nourishing as spiritual input

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16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” 27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him. 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

After Jesus approaches the woman at the well and reveals her thirst for grace, she leaves immediately to invite others to “come and see” (John 4:29). Before the crowds come, the disciples find Jesus. They are focused on their next meal and urge Jesus to find the sustenance he needs. But, instead of joining them to find food to satisfy his hunger, Jesus makes a startling comment, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Interestingly enough, Jesus uses another physical metaphor to refer to a spiritual reality.

In other instances, where Jesus speaks about spiritual hunger, he invites his disciples to consume something they need spiritually (John 6:35, Matthew 26:26). If viewed in this light, we tend to equate spiritual hunger with the satisfaction of consuming spiritual food by reading the Bible or by gaining more spiritual input. Yet, in this moment, Jesus suggests that spiritual output is just as nourishing as spiritual input. Jesus is confident that by “doing the will of his Father,” his spiritual hunger will be satisfied. From this story, we can see that active participation in “doing the will of our Father” becomes the very nourishment our souls need. Input is simply not enough.

When asked about what God commands or wills, Jesus replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus encourages us to love because he knows it’s good for us. Loving God and loving others through intentional actions is spiritual food. And, that’s what God designed to fulfill our greatest hunger.

If you’re unsure about how to actively demonstrate love, the Apostle Paul suggests offering someone patience and kindness, not responding out of envy or with rudeness. Choose one of the attributes of love from 1 Corinthians 13 and begin to feast off of doing the willing of your Heavenly Father today.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Yvonne Biel 

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