Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the Bible the basic principle concerning man’s relationship with God is that man needs to eat and drink of God. Because eating and drinking are so common in our daily life, they have not been given much consideration by the great teachers and scholars of the Bible. Nevertheless, in the Scriptures eating and drinking are basic and crucial.
After the record of the creation of man, there is mention of the tree of life and of a river which “went out of Eden to water the garden” (Gen. 2:9-10). The tree of life was for man’s eating, and the flowing river was for man’s drinking. Hence, at the beginning of the Bible, eating and drinking are presented with respect to the relationship between God and man.
At the end of the Bible we also read of eating and drinking. In Revelation 21 and 22 eating and drinking are emphasized strongly. According to Revelation 21:6, the Lord will “give to him who thirsts from the spring of the water of life freely.” In 22:1 we see the “river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,” and in verse 2 we are told that “on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life.” The river of water of life flows out of the throne, and the tree of life grows in the river. In Revelation 22:14 there is a promise related to eating, and in 22:17, a call related to drinking. Verse 14 says that those who wash their robes have the right to the tree of life, and verse 17 says that whoever wills may take the water of life freely. In verse 14 we have the promise of eating the tree of life, and in verse 17 we have the call to drink of the water of life. Therefore, we may say that the Bible concludes with a word about eating and drinking.
In the Gospel of John, the Gospel that emphasizes the deity of Christ, there also are references to eating and drinking. According to this Gospel, God was incarnated so that we may eat and drink of Him. Chapter six covers the eating of Jesus as the heavenly manna, as the true bread, the living bread, the bread of God. In verse 57 the Lord Jesus speaks a clear, strong, and definite word concerning eating: “He who eats Me shall also live because of Me.” Chapter seven goes on to speak of drinking the living water. On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the great day of the feast, the Lord Jesus stood up and cried, “If anyone thirst, let him come to Me and drink” (v. 37). Chapter three of John covers regeneration, and chapter four, the drinking of the living water. In this chapter a thirsty Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw water. At the well she meets the Lord Jesus, who talks with her and tells her that living water is to be found in Him. At a certain point He says to the woman, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (v. 10). Then in verse 14 He says that the water He gives will become in the one who drinks it a “spring of water welling up into eternal life” (v. 14). These words about living water are weighty and of great significance.
We should not consider the eating and drinking spoken of in the Bible as commonplace. On the contrary, these matters are crucial. It is by eating and drinking that we, God’s chosen people, take Him into us. Throughout the years, we have pointed out repeatedly that God’s intention is to work Himself into us to be our life and our everything. But we still need to be impressed with the fact that the way God works Himself into us is through our eating and drinking of Him.
When I was in mainland China more than thirty years ago, I did not see the light on eating and drinking the Lord as clearly as I see it today. In the early years of my ministry, I did a lot of gospel preaching, often preaching on the subject of God as the living water to satisfy us. I even translated the song, “Never, Never Thirst Again,” from English into Chinese. I loved this song, was deeply impressed by it, and used it in my gospel preaching quite frequently. However, although I preached on God as the living water to quench man’s thirst, I myself did not know how to drink of this living water. How ridiculous for me to preach on drinking the living water when I myself actually did not understand how to drink! We Christians often do ridiculous things such as this. Most believers know that Christ is the heavenly manna; however, not many know how to eat Him.
The first message I delivered on eating Jesus was in 1958. Before that time I did not know the way to eat and drink Him. But having been enlightened by the Lord concerning this matter, I began in 1958 to speak on our need to eat Jesus. After I gave the first message on this subject, a brother who was a professor at Taiwan University approached me and told me that it sounded crude to talk about eating Jesus. (The Chinese word I used means to eat up, to devour.) I reminded this brother that I was not the first to speak of eating the Lord. I pointed him to John 6:57, where the Lord Jesus says that the one who eats Him will live by Him. I told him that I was simply following the Lord and repeating His words. When the brother heard this, he had nothing further to say.
Throughout the centuries, Christians have talked about eating and drinking, but hardly anyone has known how to eat or how to drink. Christians have written many “how-to” books, books on subjects such as how to pray, how to overcome sin, and how to be victorious. But do you know of a book which tells us how to eat Jesus or how to drink the living water? But as we have pointed out, eating and drinking of Jesus are extremely crucial matters.
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