I keep having this recurring daydream. I am at a mountain stream with a tin cup in my hand. I dip into the current and bring a refreshing drink of cool water to my lips. Deep draughts slowly roll down my throat. Over and over again I return the cup to the stream. Then my hand goes to a basket I had placed in the shallows. I pull out a pear and crush its icy pulp with my teeth. Four or five bites and it is gone. I reach down into the frigid basket and my fingers find a peach. I chuckle to myself over how good this is going to taste.
Such are the daydreams of those who eat via a feeding tube. No liquids or solids go through my mouth anymore. The good news is that my choking spells are seriously better; there is no longer anything to choke on. I still help in the kitchen by giving orders on how the meal for the family should be prepared. I know I have become a bit demanding of my sous-chefs (and I am guilty of watching too much of the Food Network), but I find great joy over watching my family enjoy meals. I vicariously dine with them.
Recently, my pastor and I had a sad, but helpful, exchange of text messages. We agreed I should no longer take communion. I have been choking on the cup for months and now the bread is getting to me. I must admit the thought of dying with the Lord’s supper in my mouth would be kinda cool. But, I imagine it would be an overly traumatic scene for children and misunderstood by adults; most would think I was being judged for taking the meal in an unworthy manner (see 1 Corinthians 11:27-30). Probably best to avoid all of that drama.
Lately, I have been pondering how the curse of sin and death was brought into this world through eating. Adam and Eve actualized their disobedience through consuming the forbidden fruit. What started in man’s spirit was manifested through his body. Our physical ills have their source in a broken spirit. My ALS is a manifestation of the grand rebellion humans displayed against God. The beauty of our world was shattered through the pride of mankind. And so we all die . . .
But God, rich in mercy, did not leave us in this condition. When the Church celebrates Christ’s resurrection this month, we recall Passion Week and the Last Supper.
And when he [Jesus] had given thanks, he broke it [the bread], and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
The healing of man’s condition is found in Christ. “By His stripes we are healed,” said the prophet Isaiah. Jesus invites us into His life. We sacredly commune through our mouths with Christ. His body and blood are spiritually in us.
What did Jesus tell the Samaritan woman? “[W]hoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” And then during the Feast of Tabernacles,
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
We really are being made into new creatures, ones that can dwell in the new heavens and the new earth. Allow me to finish by turning our thoughts to the Apostle John’s revelation:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. . . . They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Everlasting water for the thirsty. Everlasting fruit for the hungry. Christ is everything and He offers everything.
And so, my friends, when you arrive in heaven, please come find me—I will be down by the river.