Bread of Life

If you were stranded on a desert island, and could only bring one food with you, what would it be? Well, as long as I could slather it with butter, I’d choose bread.

I really love bread.

After all, is there anything more comforting and delicious than a warm piece of bread and butter? I think not. Recently, in an effort to fall even deeper in love with bread, I started grinding my own wheat berries to make bread from scratch.

Bread has been made for thousands of years and is the most widely consumed food in the world. It’s consumption spans throughout cultures and every continent. Considering the fact that you would be hard-pressed to find a single soul on earth that hasn’t eaten bread in one form or another, I think it’s safe to say:

Bread is a big deal.

In American culture today, it’s easy to simply go to the store and buy bread instead of making it totally from scratch. But as I become more educated about the processes that packaged breads go through before they hit the table, and fall into the sweet mouths of my children, I feel the need to make my own.

There are so many brands of wheat berries it’s hard to know where to start. What recipes to use? And how to decide which brand of wheat grinder is the best? During this process I’ve learned a lot about gluten, wheat, bread, yeast, and how to make a healthier food for my family.

I’ve been so focused on the “how-to” of making bread, I never realized that God would teach me about Himself through this mundane task. I have found, that even though I’m, “just making bread” God speaks to me about His character.

Last week, as I felt the tiny, wholesome wheat berries my hands, the wheels started turning. His voice became clearer. If you’ve never seen a wheat berry and have no clue what I’m talking about, don’t feel bad. Most people haven’t! Here is a picture.

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This is the stuff bread comes from. It’s a hard, rice-like product. This is a whole-grain, perfect in its form. But in order to get the melt-in-your mouth, satisfying, delicious bread, these wheat berries have to change.

They have to change… a lot.

They literally, metamorphosize as they, “go through the wringer”.

The earliest form of wheat grinding was probably done by hand, using rocks. This created a very coarse flour. Then, around 800 B.C. in Mesopotamia, two flat, round stones were first used to grind the wheat. This was done by sheer muscle power, either slave or animal. Here’s when the fine flour made an entrance. Having and using this type of flour was a real status symbol. You had to have dough to make dough!

Today, the flour most of Americans eat in their bread has been sifted to remove the bran and germ (harder parts of the wheat berry containing the most fiber) and is also bleached.

O.K. Enough with the history lesson?

This is my “wringer”. Behold, the Nutrimill wheat grinder.

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All I do is plug it in and it works like magic! No slave labor or donkeys powering this baby! It grinds about 6 cups of these little gems into a fine flour in around 5 minutes.

The very moment the delivery truck driver pulled up to my house, my girls and I rushed out to meet him.

We don’t get packages often.

The wheat mill had arrived! We tore open the box and plugged it in!

We couldn’t wait to grind the Kamut berries that we had chosen. It took a few minutes to figure out the machine, but soon the sound of the mill filled the kitchen. A light dusting of flour covered the counter.

Presently, we opened the bottom and found this…

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A fine, perfect flour! We got started on bread right away.  The smell filled the house while the oven was at work. Cool butter waited on the counter. We could hardly wait to pop it out of the pan.

It was delicious, and I was hooked!

That night, tummy full, I ruminated about my bread-making adventure. My thoughts turned Jesus. He was born in Bethlehem. The name Bethlehem means “house of bread” interesting, right? I always thought this meant that Jesus was like bread because people have to eat and if they don’t they will die. It’s true, we need Him to fully live. But there’s more.

Jesus is a lot more like bread than we realize.

1 Corinthians 11:24 “…and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, broken for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ ”

Jesus knew people would eat bread. He wanted it to be a daily symbol of His presence with us even now. He came to this world perfect. A little baby, flawless in form and deed. But like my wheat berries, He underwent a huge change. His very life was sacrificed, his body crushed, to give us the REAL bread we all need to eat of, in order to have eternal life. He made Himself like something that we eat all the time, as a constant reminder of His sacrifice.

“Jesus answered, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Father.'” Matthew 4:4

Is it possible that we need to partake of Jesus, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His acceptance, His love, more than we need actual food? Could it be that He is even sweeter and more satisfying than my home-made loaves? I think so.

Jesus is our, “soul food”. We spend so much time nourishing our bodies, but what if we are under-nourishing our spirits?

Many are actually walking around in healthy, well-nourished bodies, starving on the inside. In order to nourish ourselves, we need to get back to the basics. We need to accept the fact that Jesus became something new so that we could eat and never hunger again.

My bread hasn’t got anything on Jesus.

The bible has a lot to say about bread, but if you want to hear what Jesus said about Himself being bread, read the entire chapter of John 6. Amazing stuff.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from John 6:

32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

50 “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

I’m challenging you to eat up. Consume of the bread that gives us our very lives. You have to choose to sit at His table. As often as you eat bread, remember that He underwent physical change to bring you abundant life. Then, in the light of this knowledge, partake of His sacrifice.

I will never look at bread the same way again, will you?

Writing in answer to His call,

Hosanna Barton

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