Dependent by Design
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.– John 6:35
Every July 4th, Americans gather with watermelons, fireworks, and flags to celebrate Independence Day. We are a free people living in a free country and, boy, are we proud of it. Not just our independence from England, but our independence in every way. Nobody can tell us what to do or think or feel. But rob the earth of its atmosphere for just five minutes and we’d all be dead before we’d have time to wonder just how independent we really are.
There are some aspects in which we can and should be independent. Parents, for example, raise their children so that by the time they reach maturity they can provide for themselves. No one thinks much of a forty-year-old man who still lives in his parent’s basement. But when you really think about it, humans are desperately dependent.
Take water for example. Only three days without water will kill you. Dehydration is serious; it can causee heat exaustion and heat stroke, cerebral endema, seizures, hypovolemic shock, kidney failure, coma, and, finally, death.*
Humans are also dependent on food. You can go longer without food than you can without water, but still, malnutrition will lead to severe physical and mental complications and followed by death.
We simply cannot live without water or food.
But why? That’s how we were designed to run. I’ve always wondered why, though, God designed us to need so many things. I think it’s to remind us of something else we need: Himself.
C.S. Lewis put it this way:
God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.*
And here’s what the commentator Matthew Henry had to say on John 6:
Christ is bread is that to the soul which bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life (is the staff of it) as bread does the bodily life; it is the staff of life. . . . Our bodies could better live without food than our souls without Christ.*
By our very design, we are dependent on God. And every bite, every sip should remind us of it.
*Information on dehydration taken from this webpage.
*From Mere Christianity
*From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible