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Hungry For Things Other Than Food


As it turns out, food plays a major role in the pages of the Bible. Long before Rachael Ray learned to eat on forty dollars a day and Michael Pollan outlined the dilemma we omnivores face, God was the original foodie.

I soon embarked on a culinary, Biblical adventure.

I descended 410 feet down a salt mine,
traveled to Israel to fish on the Galilee,
spent time with a famous fig farmer,
brought in an olive harvest in Croatia,
and even graduated with a Steakology 101 certificate from a Texas butcher.

With each person, I asked how do you read these Scriptures—related to what you do to plant, procure, or process these foods—in light of what you do every day.

Their answers changed the way I read the Bible forever—and the way I approach the table.

Time and time again, I found myself asking, How have I grown up in the church, listened to so many sermons, downloaded so many podcasts, and no one has told me these things?

All this became a mouthwatering book and Bible study, Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers Bakers and Fresh Food Makers.

Along the way I rediscovered the table as a place of freedom, a portal of healing, connection, remembrance.

With each of the places I traveled, I shared countless meals, but there’s one I’ll never forget.

I flew half-way around the world to cast nets in the Galilee. I spent long days studying the life of life of fisherman and the fish.

I’d planned on staying for a few days, departing just before the Passover. But my host, Ido, insisted I stay and celebrate with his extended family.

Who wants to miss the opportunity of celebrating the Passover with a Jewish family in Israel?

So I spent the evening listening to the reading of the Haggadah, the children singing songs, and tasting bitter herbs and lettuce dipped in salt water—symbolic of the salty tears of the Israelites under the Egyptian rule.

After the meal, I tried to help clear the dishes but Ido’s grandmother, Vered, waved her index finger at me, “Sit Mar-gar-eet.”

Vered leaned over me and asked, “Do you know why we do this?”

The answer seemed obvious, but I felt unsure, “B-b-because it’s the Passover?”

“Because they must know where they came from,” she announced, gesturing toward the children. “This is our story from slavery to freedom.”

My eyes followed the pattern of plates and half-eaten dishes lining the table.

Together we had tasted the bitterness of oppression, remembered the hardship of slavery, tasted the salty tears of suffering, sunk our teeth into the bread of affliction, drank cups of redemption, and listened to a one of the greatest stories of liberation that had been handed down for thousands of years.

The Passover, which uses food as prompts, tracks the story of God’s liberation of Israelites. The meal commemorates a physical going free, but the heart of Passover is the invitation to become spiritually free, to lay behind that which hinders, ensnares, and enslaves us.

To discover that God wants to satisfy the deepest hungers of our hearts.

When Christ came, He signified another story which must be passed among generations.

This is an account of a special lamb, a man who offered up His body to free people from the slavery of sin. Just as God asks the Jewish people to commemorate the Passover with a meal, Jesus asks those who hunger for Him to commemorate His life with a meal; the same elements that are part of the Passover, the Pesach—the flatbread and wine—are also part of Eucharist.

Jesus could have chosen many activities as an act of remembrance like foot washing or a special prayer or listening to a rooster crow, yet Jesus chooses a meal.

Even more radical, Jesus is the meal, the Eucharist—The Bread of Life and True Vine.

I left Israel after that meal and flew back to the United States to engage in many other spiritual, culinary expeditions.

From fishing to farming and baking to barbecuing, I met God at table after table.

On the shores of Galilee, I learned to live wide-eyed for displays of God’

Adeyemi Victory

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