Words for Thought: Quaff

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was quaff. They provided this definition: to drink deeply.

In addition to the definition they provided this:

Nowadays, "quaff" has an old-fashioned, literary sound to it. For more contemporary words that suggest drinking a lot of something, especially in big gulps and in large quantity, you might try "drain," "pound," or "slug." If you are a daintier drinker, you might say that you prefer to "sip," "imbibe" or "partake in" the beverage of your choice. "Quaff" is by no means the oldest of these terms — earliest evidence of it in use is from the early 1500s, whereas "sip" dates to the 14th century — but it is the only one with the mysterious "origin unknown" etymology.

This brings to mind a passage of Scripture taken from John 4:10-14:

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?"

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

That is indeed a beverage worthy of a deep drink!

Another passage also came to mind from John 6:48-59:

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.

Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

Catholicism would have us believe (contrary to G-d's declaration that both blood and human flesh are unsuitable for consumption- Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14, Acts 10:14) that the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper is transformed into human flesh and blood. Messiah was definitely not expecting the Jews in Capernaum to start cannibalizing Him. So what then was He saying?

In the context of the passage Messiah was talking about manna that was given to the Isra'elites when they left Egypt. It should come as no shock to anyone that Yeshua was not the original "Gingerbread Man" and was not actually made of bread. He was using a metaphor to illustrate His point: just as physical manna fell from heaven and provided physical sustenance to the Isra'elites, so also the spiritual manna (Yeshua) came from heaven to provide spiritual sustenance to the Isra'elites.

Consider the context of the words He has already spoken to them after the crowd finds him on the other side of the sea (John 6:25):

- This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. - John 6:29
- Believe in Messiah - John 6:35-40
- Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. - John 6:45
- Whoever believes has eternal life - John 6:47

In Jewish literature the concept of "eating the bread from heaven" is a metaphor for the daily study and application of Scripture to a person's life. In other writings like the Babylonian Talmud (in tractate Sanhedrin 98b, 99a), we find references to "eating [the messiah] in the days of Hezekiah," which is an idiom for "they enjoyed his blessings."

The First Fruits of Zion ministry makes this observation that we are:

"...more acquainted with the metaphor of eating and drinking than we sometimes allow; we 'devour' books, 'drink in' a lecture, 'swallow' a story...'ruminate' on an idea or poem..."

May we quaff the drink that Messiah offers to us and eat of the food that He ate: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." - John 4:34