Then we come to the last point we mentioned, that of the Lord’s breathing into His disciples. By breathing the Spirit into the disciples, the Lord imparted Himself as life into them.
DRINKING, EATING, AND BREATHING
If we consider these various items covered in John, we realize how vital they are for our existence. Without drinking, eating, and breathing we could not live.
These three means for our physical existence are all used by the Lord Jesus to illustrate how we may take Him. He is our water, more refreshing than the best earthly drink. We must drink Him!
He is our bread. We must eat Him! Bread is not merely to be looked at. Its purpose is to be eaten. This living bread must be eaten. Do not think that to say this is uncultured and wild. He says Himself that we must eat Him.
He is our breath, imparting Himself as life to us. We must breathe Him!
This enjoyment of Jesus is God’s economy. It is this that He would recover among His people. Jesus is the living water, the living bread, and the living breath. We must drink of Him, eat Him, and breathe Him.
THE WAY TO TAKE CHRIST IN
There are two ways by which we may drink, eat, and breathe Jesus. These are the Word and the Spirit. “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). This verse mentions both the Word and the Spirit. The very Word revealed in John 1:1 eventually became the Spirit. It is this Spirit who is the water, the bread, and the breath.
John 20:22 reads, “Receive the Holy pneuma.” This Greek word pneuma may be translated either as spirit or as breath. It is equally correct to say, “Receive the Holy Spirit” or “Receive the holy breath.” The Spirit today is our breath. This breath is Jesus, the incarnate Word who went to the cross, entered into resurrection, and ascended to the heavens. He then returned to us as the life-giving Spirit.
We have the Word outside us and the Spirit inside us. Day by day we must come to the Word, not only with our mind but also with our heart and spirit. As we open the Bible, we must open our whole being. We must read not only with our understanding but also with prayer. The Bible is not an ordinary book. In this holy Word there is life, the Spirit, God, and Jesus Christ. These are all contained in the Word and are conveyed to us as we open ourselves and pray. This prayerful reading of the Word is the eating, drinking, and breathing in of the Lord.
How would you answer if someone asked you where God is? Do not say that God is in the heavens. Heaven is too far away. How could one get there to find Him? God, you must tell him, is in the Bible. Where is Christ? He also is in the Word. Where is the Spirit? Where is life? The answer to these two questions is also “in the Word.”
THE WORD AS A SEED
If you plant a little stone or a piece of rock in the soil, nothing will come up, even if you wait for twenty years. On the other hand, if you sow a tiny seed into the soil, in just a matter of days it will sprout. This sprouting proves that the seed contains life.
Where is life to be found? It is found in a seed. Did you know that the word of God in the Bible is a seed? “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23). The word in the Bible is a seed, conveying life. What, then, is the soil? Our heart is the soil. We must open our heart to receive the Word just as the soil must be opened to receive the seed. What is the water? The Spirit is the water. When we come to the Bible and open ourselves, the very seed of the Word gets into us. The more you pray, breathing the air, the more the Spirit as the water is added to you. The air of prayer mingled with the water of the Spirit produces the dew. Much dew becomes a river.
This is the Christian life. There is a seed, planted in the soil of your heart, and watered by the Spirit. It sprouts and grows till the blossom appears and the fruit comes. The reason Christ can be the water, the bread of life, and the breath is that He is the life-giving Spirit. He is the Spirit, compounded with divinity, humanity, human living, the death of the cross, resurrection, and ascension. All these are wrapped up in this life-giving Spirit. And you can find Him in the Bible!
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)