EATING AND DRINKING IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
The eating and drinking of Christ is also revealed in the Gospel of John. Throughout the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself as life to us (10:10; 4:14; 6:35; 7:38; 14:6). In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, a book showing how the Lord Jesus as life can meet the need of every man, there are five major items: God, the Word, the flesh, the Lamb, and life. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God (John 1:1). This Word, who was God Himself, became flesh (v. 14), which means that He became a man. As a man He is the Lamb of God (v. 29), our Redeemer, and He is also our life (1:4; 10:10). The Gospel of John begins with God, the Word, the flesh, the Lamb, and life.
In chapter two of the Gospel of John there is a wonderful event—a wedding feast (vv. 1-11). When I was young, I studied this portion of the Word. I understood chapter one but not chapter two. I did not know the meaning of the wedding and of the water being changed to wine. Now I realize much more. At this wedding feast the wine ran out, so the Lord Jesus asked the servants to fill up six stone waterpots with water. These waterpots were for the Jewish rites of purification with water, which signify religion’s attempt to make people clean by certain dead practices. But the Lord changed the water in the waterpots, which were for purification, into wine. This wine was not good for outward cleansing, but for drinking! We must forget about how dirty we are outwardly and drink the Lord as our wine inwardly! Regardless of how much we may be cleansed and purified outwardly, we can still be dead inwardly. The Lord Jesus did not come to merely cleanse us outwardly, but He came for us to drink of Him. He turned the water into wine, changing the cleansing element into the drinking element.
The Lord’s life is a feast, not for purification, for outward cleansing, but for inward drinking. The inward drinking will take care of the cleansing. Whatever we drink into us will cleanse us, not from without but from within. This is a kind of metabolic cleansing—a cleansing of life. This is not a cleansing in an outward way, but a metabolic cleansing from within by life.
Today I appreciate John 2 to the uttermost. In many places, when I was asked to preach the gospel, I used John 2. I have told people, “You are just the six waterpots because you are a man made on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26, 31); therefore, the number six represents man. Your need is the wine. Your need is life. Do not try to improve yourself, correct yourself, or better yourself. To do so is just to try to cleanse or purify yourself. Your need is not cleansing water but wine to drink.” John 2 shows us that our need is not outward cleansing but inward drinking. The concept of John 2 is the eating and drinking of the Lord.
In chapter three, Nicodemus, a highly educated teacher and an experienced, older man, came to the Lord Jesus and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God” (3:2). The human concept is that we need a teacher and more teaching. The Lord Jesus is so wise. He did not argue with Nicodemus or rebuke him, nor did He speak too much with him. After listening to him, the Lord Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a man is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (3:3). This word really puzzled Nicodemus. He may have thought, “I came to be taught by You, to seek teaching. I recognize You as a rabbi, a teacher, yet I do not understand what You mean by being born anew. An old man such as I cannot go back to my mother’s womb and come out again. What kind of teaching is this?”
The Lord Jesus indicated to Nicodemus that to be born anew was not to go back to his mother’s womb and come out again. To be born anew is to be born of the water and the Spirit (v. 5). He that is born of the flesh is flesh (v. 6). Even if Nicodemus could go back to his mother’s womb and come out again, he would still be the same Nicodemus, the same flesh. He needed to be something else. He had to be born of the Spirit. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). The Lord’s word really puzzled Nicodemus. If you or I were there, we too may have been puzzled along with Nicodemus by the Lord’s heavenly language.
The Lord Jesus continued to tell Nicodemus that as Moses lifted up the serpent of brass in the wilderness, He as the Son of Man must be lifted up (3:14). All the dying people, bitten by the fiery serpents, had to look unto the brass serpent that Moses lifted up. Whoever beheld the brass serpent lived (Num. 21:7-9). The Lord was there for Nicodemus to look unto Him. Nicodemus had to believe in Him; then he would have eternal life. Nicodemus did not need teaching. His need was eternal life, the life which Christ could give him.
(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)