We have been in the Middle East for about a month now. The longer you stay in a place, you begin to pick up on the rhythm of life and the local flow of things. It’s as if the layers peel back further and deeper with each new week. You notice the underlying beauty of a place…whereas when you first arrived, all you could see was what the culture presented on the surface.
One of the local rhythms in any culture is food. The obvious observation is how food gathers us together. At the table, strangers become lifelong friends. But the cultural rhythm of food isn’t expressed only at the table, it’s also observed in the preparation.
There is a flatbread shop just up the street from us. Three men and two clay ovens bake some of the best bread I’ve ever had. It’s a tiny, hole of a room that could easily be passed by in the commotion of the city. But for the locals, it’s a daily routine to stop at the window, hold up money ($0.80 for 4 pieces), and watch a lump of flour transform on the side of a clay oven.
As I watched these three men work, and saw the hundreds of pieces of bread that were sold, I remembered what Jesus said about “working for bread that perishes.”
“Don’t work for the bread that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you…I am the bread of life. No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry” (John 6:27, 35)
I’ve already quoted that passage to many people here in the Mid East. But today I felt the Lord quoting it to me. There was an emphasis on the ongoing, continuous need for “bread”…Him. We can not be satisfied by yesterday’s bread. A healthy disciple is a hungry disciple.
And like the local rhythm of life, our walk with Jesus has layers that are peeled back the longer we know Him.