How Scripture Offers True and Lasting Satisfaction
It’s a classic Bible story—one we’ve heard so many times we likely begin to tune out by the end. In John 6 Jesus is teaching a group of over 5,000 people who are hanging onto his every word. But the crowd is hungry and there’s not enough food. So, in an extraordinary miracle, Jesus feeds them all, satisfying their growling bellies.
However, just a day later everything changes. The very same crowd who yesterday ate their fill of miracle-bread come again to hear the Savior speak. But this time, they balk at his hard teaching. “I am the bread of life,” Jesus boldly declares. “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (vs. 35).
Hesitant to be challenged by his exclusive claims, the crowd (including some of Jesus’ own close followers) turns away. They will find somewhere else to fill their hunger—perhaps from some place or person who doesn’t demand so much of them. Undeterred, Jesus turns to the twelve who remain: “Do you want to go away as well?” he asks (vs. 67).
Always the first to reply, Simon Peter answers with some of the most poignant words in Scripture: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (vs. 68).
Are You Hungry?
We too are hungry. We too have growling bellies demanding to be filled. So we do. We fill them with whatever we can think of to gain momentary relief and satisfaction.
We fill them with work—it feels good to check off our to-do’s and gain a sense of accomplishment and recognition for our efforts.
We fill them with things—we pop a few more items in our cart and check out, and for just a moment we stave off the hunger.
We fill them with approval—the sense of satisfaction from looking the part or being accepted filling us up for just a little while longer.
But it doesn’t seem to work, does it? These attempts to satiate ourselves fall drastically short. The lingering sense of dissatisfaction still gnaws at us.
So, what do we do? What can we find that will truly satisfy our deepest hunger?
Cultivating our Hunger
Peter was known to occasionally speak too rashly; he sometimes said the wrong thing at the wrong time, and he even was rebuked by Jesus for one of his comments (Matt. 16:23). But it seems that his words at the end of John 6 were spot on. It seems that he knew Jesus’ radical claims were actually the very source of truth and the only thing that would satisfy hungry souls.
We see confirmations of this truth throughout Scripture. Jeremiah in chapter 15 writes “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16). The psalmist declares that God’s Word and promises are the very things that nourish, sustain, and uphold him (Psalm 119:92-93, 116). Jesus himself combats the temptations of Satan even amidst his very real, physical hunger by saying “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).
The Word of God is his very revelation of himself to his people (John 1:1). It sanctifies us, trains us in righteousness, helps us to discern areas of growth, and leads us to look more like Jesus (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It penetrates our hearts and souls, opening us up to be honest before the Lord (Heb. 4:12). It guides us (Psalm 119:105), propels us toward obedience (James 1:22), and leads us to praise (Psalm 56:4). It is the source of truth (Psalm 33:4), it is perfect (Psalm 18:30), and it is eternal (Isa. 40:8, Matt. 24:35)
So may we hunger and thirst for the Word of God—the only thing that will fill our soul-deep longings. May we come to know him more through Scripture, to the point that we are so fully content in him that we desire nothing else. May we cling to God’s Word, abiding in its truths deeply. May we eat and breathe and seek it for all it’s worth, knowing that in it we will find more of him.
And as we do so, may we find that each bite of the Word leads us to long for more. As we come to see more and more of the face of God in Scripture, we will delight in it more and more, cultivating a hunger for the only thing that is guaranteed to give us life.
God’s words are life (Deut. 32:47). They are breathed out by his mouth (2 Tim. 3:16). They nourish us (Matt. 4:3-4) and they will ultimately satisfy our hungry souls.
To whom else shall we go?
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” – John 6:68
Lauren Bowerman is a writer, a wife to Matthew, and a soon-to-be mama. She has been privileged to call many cities, states, and countries home, and it is this nomadic lifestyle that cultivated in her a love for people, cultures, and missions, leading her to receive a Masters in Christian and Intercultural Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is particularly passionate about writing on the intersection between grief and faith, specifically in her experiences with depression, doubt, and infertility. You can find her writing at lauren-bowerman.com or on Instagram.
Thank you for this Lauren. God has used his words through you to convict my heart.