We need to educate our biological or bodily functions, insofar as possible, such that they acquire a theological meaning and purpose and not just purely biological functions.
If we are truly serious in our Christian duty to make ourselves “another Christ” who is the pattern of our humanity and the redeemer of our damaged humanity, then the Christian transformation of our own selves should not only involve our spiritual faculties—our intelligence and will—but also our biological or bodily powers.
Thus, when we experience hunger for food or thirst for some drink, it should not just be food and drink that we should be interested in. We should not remain in the level of the material aspect of our life. Our hunger and thirst should also lead us to God.
In fact, more than food and drink, it should be God, his will and ways that we should be more interested in. We have to train ourselves to realize that our biological hunger and thirst can fully be satisfied only when we fulfill the will of God.
This truth of our faith was graphically demonstrated in that episode where Christ met a Samaritan woman beside the well and where the apostles offered him some bread to eat. That’s in Chapter 4 of the gospel of St. John.
When the Samaritan woman asked him about the living water he was offering her, Christ said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again (referring to the water at the well), but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn 4,12-14)
In this particular case, Christ is telling the woman about a water that is more important than the natural water. This is the water that refers to having a life with God.
The same idea is highlighted when the apostles offered Christ some bread to eat. Christ retorted, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about…My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (Jn 4,32.34)
We obviously have to find food and drink that would meet our bodily needs. That is part of God’s will for us. But we should go further than that. We have to see to it that our hunger and thirst for food and drink would lead us to God. Otherwise, remaining only in the meeting our bodily needs would trap us into the dynamics of self-indulgence which is the antithesis of what true love is.
Our hunger and thirst should lead us to God and as a consequence should lead us also to others. They should make us praise God and express our willingness to follow his will which is also for us to love and serve the others.
This is a truth of our faith that is worth clarifying and spreading around, since it would make live our Christianity with greater integrality. It would be Christianity that touches on our bodily dimension, and not just on the spiritual aspects of our life.
Perhaps the practice of saying a little prayer before and after meals can be a good way of to remind us of this truth of our faith. What we eat and drink should not just be food and water. What is involved is assimilating the will of God in our life.*