One of the most beautiful things in Israel is the food! Wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables are the main offerings at every meal. There is hardly any processed food and often we could look out the windows and see the goats that would make the milk for yogurt and the trees/bushes that were growing the very foods that we would be eating at some point that day. Want some juice? Fresh squeezed orange, apple, and pomegranate juice is on every corner. Olive oil- freshly pressed, honey from the sweetest dates that were literally falling off trees in some areas. “Local” and “Organic” were not words plastered on signs to market these foods as all food was fresh, local, and (probably) organically grown. As much as we seemed to be cognizant of the lack of water in this dry land, brightly colored, fragrant foods surrounded us in abundance.
And I loved it. Not just because I love fresh fruits and vegetables, but because standing there, thousands of miles away from my home, I was extremely aware that my presence there was a miracle. If this trip had been offered to me 7 years ago, I would not have gone. It would have been inconceivable to me to leave the safety of the tightly controlled schedule created by my eating disorder and completely surrender to foods strange to me with no labels for me to examine or scales or measuring spoons. Now, years into restoration, I stood in The Place of Promise and wondered at how far I had journeyed….a thousand miles….a million miracles…all one step, one bite at a time.
As I was walking through my recovery journey, I began to realize that food was not the enemy, but even more than that, as I started to look into God’s Word-His Daily Bread-for truth to combat the lies of the eating disorder, I saw that God created us to have bodies, we are made in His image, He provides for us, He loves us. I have written a great deal on my recovery journey but what I want to say here is that even though I realized that God gave us food to fuel our bodies and He used certain food images to communicate with His people, I was under-prepared for the wealth of connection that could be found in the symbols of food in the landscape of Israel.
When God described the Seven Species that would be present in the Promised Land, these were more than tasty foods. Each one came with a metaphor, a meaning that has developed over time I am sure, but still, these FOODS were more than provision, they were prophesy, they pointed to the Promised One.
I imagined what it would be like to still be afraid to taste these foods…Turning down foods that were prepared for me due to fear (not dietary needs or taste preference) seemed to me to be at the very least, a failure to appreciate God’s provision, but worse, I would be missing out on a chance to taste His goodness. One of the things I learned in recovery, was that my fear of foods, was not really that, rather, it was a fear of not meeting a standard that I (or society, or both) had set for me. I believed my body defined my beauty, and maybe it does, if I am living according to the world’s standards, but that is not the TRUTH of where my beauty is found. Ultimately, I realized that my beauty came from the Lord–I am created in His image, He cares for me, He gives me everything I need for life–to live it to the FULL. As I began to seek His beauty in me, I would have to trust HIM to care for the body He gave me.
Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him! Psalm 34:8
Through the nourishment of His Daily Bread, His Word of LIFE, I saw that He is good. God is good, I am created in His image, His spirit lives in me. My goodness is found through His goodness and the goodness of His Son. If left to my own devices, or the means of this world, I am never good enough, but I can take refuge in knowing that because of Christ, and the FULLness of His Spirit, I am made good. I think it’s interesting that tasting is related to trust. In my recovery, I tasted, and trusted…and tasted again.
As I went through my travels in Israel, I was able to fully consume God’s goodness because I had been nourished by His words. As I ate the foods of the Holy Land, I would taste the blessing, the peace, the promises of God. I was not anxious about anything, but in everything, I gave thanks. Like Peter, who reconciled with Jesus over breakfast on the Sea of Galilee, I felt like I, too, had been brought to that place to fully experience, as much as is possible in this life, the abundance of God’s mercy and the grace available to all of us…if we will just taste, and see, and trust.