Eating and drinking are an apt analogy for the actions we must take in order to be healed by the Savior.
Because of His sacrifice on our behalf, His healing power is available to us , but we must choose to receive it. This is not something that can be done at arm’s length, dispassionately. We have to internalize the gift, make it part of ourselves. We have to commit.
The act of consuming food has visceral meaning for us. We all have to eat and drink regularly in order to survive. Hunger and thirst are powerful motivators. And we all know the risks associated with eating or drinking something rotten, unhealthy, or poisonous. We must eat, but we must also be careful what we eat.
Mortality began when Eve and Adam partook of the fruit of a tree. This was a critical decision which could not be undone, and the fact that the fruit was now inside of their bodies made that abundantly clear.
During the Savior’s ministry, He called Himself “the bread of life,” indicating that those who followed Him would never hunger (John 6:35). On another occasion, He said that He could provide “living water” which would permanently quench thirst (John 4:10, 13-14). At the end of the book of Revelation, the apostle John invited all who were thirsty to come to the Savior and “take of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
The prophet Alma combined these two symbols during his sermon to the church in Zarahemla. Come to the Savior, he said, and “ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely” (Alma 5:34).
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we eat bread and drink water every Sunday in remembrance of the Savior. This physical act symbolizes something profound. As Elder D. Todd Christofferson has taught:
Figuratively eating His flesh and drinking His blood [means] to internalize the qualities and character of Christ, putting off the natural man and becoming Saints “through the atonement of Christ the Lord.” As we partake of the sacramental bread and water each week, we would do well to consider how fully and completely we must incorporate His character and the pattern of His sinless life into our life and being (“The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven,” General Conference, October 2017).
Today, I will be grateful that the Savior has made it possible for me to not only be cleansed but also changed. I will remember the symbolism of the sacrament. I can receive His power only by willingly adopting His attributes and incorporating His actions into my life.