And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without food? Without water? Scientists tell us that you can go for more than three weeks without food. There are some accounts of people fasting for as much as 40 days.
But water? That’s a different story. The human body can only last about a week without water. So how did Jesus do it?
First, the Bible never specifically says that Jesus gave up water for 40 days. It says He fasted, so there’s every possibility – and even likelihood – that Jesus drank water while He was in the wilderness. (That’s actually a desert. We think of wilderness and picture lush green woods. That doesn’t exist in Israel.)
But even if Jesus did go without water, it would have been a supernatural act, completed through the power of the Holy Spirit. In so doing, Jesus showed us that the only way we can do anything worthwhile for Him is through that same Spirit-led power.
Today, on Ash Wednesday, we start the season of Lent, where the tradition is to give up something special until Easter. Sometimes you’ll catch children offering to give up eating vegetables or doing their chores. Clearly that isn’t the point. The only point of a “Lenten rule” is to give up something that will help focus us more on the Lord’s will for our life.
If we are to be successful in fasting from anything – food, soft drinks, sweets, TV, etc. – it will be with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. A wonderful Easter is usually established by a special and sacrificial Lent. Don’t let the next six weeks slip by without growing closer to the Lord. Today, if you haven’t done so already, pray about what the Lord might have you give up this Lenten season.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.