SBL 2000
Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature
Nashville, TN - November 18-21, 2000

Feeding Imagery in the Gospel of John: 
Uniting the Physical and the Spiritual

Adam C. English
Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798

Presented to the SBL "Johannine Literature Section" on Monday 11/20/00
[Copyright 2000, by Adam C. English.  All rights reserved.  This is a draft version of a work still in progress; please do not copy or cite anything from this paper without explicit permission of the author.]

The Word...changes His power in diverse ways to those who eat. He knows not only to be bread but also to become milk and meat and greens and whatever else might be appropriate to and desired by the one who receives him. Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, II.140

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, the methods of literary criticism have played a major role in biblical studies, especially with regards to the Gospel of John. Some of the most prominent contemporary Johannine scholars are proponents of a literary or narrative approach to John. [1] Yet, despite widespread interest in and employment of literary criticism, one of the fourth gospel's most recurrent literary devices has been largely overlooked: the device of feeding imagery. [2] Images of feeding, drinking, hungering, thirsting, lacking food and drink as well as being oversupplied with food and drink recur again and again throughout the Gospel. From the first sign at Cana to the crucifixion and resurrection, the reader is served a host of eating and drinking images. But, for what purpose and to what effect? Is there a pattern or progression of images? Do the metaphors change or evolve or do they remain static? This essay will explore a few of the major occurrences of feeding imagery in order to answer these and other questions. Ultimately, our study will demonstrate the unity of the literal and the figurative, the physical and the spiritual within the Gospel.

Placing Drink Orders

Skipping the first significant episode, the wedding at Cana, we turn our attention to the second pericope that displays Jesus as a divine source of food, the woman at the well.

Jesus startles a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well when he asks her for a drink while his disciples search for something to eat in town. "How can you ask me for a drink?" she retorts (4:9). Jesus disarms the Samaritan's defensiveness by indicating that he is more than a Jew who is culturally forbidden to associate with her: he is a possessor of living water (hydor zoe). Sarcastically, the woman observes that Jesus does not even have a bucket to draw such water, but Jesus persists that his water can give eternal life. Finally, the woman is sold by Jesus' "sales-pitch" and asks to receive this water. Strangely, even at this point Jesus does not concede that he is speaking figuratively, not literally. Jesus instead tells the woman to bring her husband (implying that he would then actually present his product). But in this request, Jesus pushes forward to the heart of the matter; he sees through the Samaritan's own "sales-pitch" as a respectable woman, and unmasks her true identity as a sinner in need of liberation. Then, he pours out his true identity as the Messiah. Astounded, the Samaritan forgets her thirst ("leaving her water jar"v.28) and runs back to town to gather others to taste and see this new well of living water which she found at Jacob's well.

So, does Jesus get the drink of water he first requested? The story continues as the disciples return gulping down whatever they managed to scrounge up in town. They notice Jesus has not eaten and urge him to do so. Jesus replies, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." Naturally the disciples are puzzled: How could he have already eaten? Jesus explains, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work" (6:34). Thus, he shows them what the Scriptures meant by, "Man does not live on bread alone." The disciples may feel a little chagrined at having trekked all the way to town and back to find a meal for themselves and Jesus while Jesus had found food where he was, in a conversation with a disreputable woman. As with the wedding miracle at Cana, Jesus conflates the supernatural and the natural. To him there is no division. With no great ado, ordinary water becomes fine wine; similarly, a conversation with a Samaritan becomes a meal which fills the body and the soul.

If You Feed Them, They Will Crown You

In the latter half of chapter 5, John enters a deeply theological discussion of Jesus' messiahship and relation to the Father. Then, as if to season this complex discussion, the reader is presented with the feeding of the five thousand in chapter 6. It is interesting that the one miracle recorded by all the gospelers revolves around the problem of hunger. [3]

Many have speculated about the significance of the feeding. Is it intended to parallel the giving of manna in the desert during the forty years wandering? Is it the equivalent of a Passover meal meant to be another sign of the new messianic age? Or does it represent the breaking of Christ's body for the salvation of the multitudes? Whatever the celestial symbolism is of this mass feeding, it originates in the dirty hands of a boy holding five small barley loaves and two small fish. As with the water in the stone jars, Jesus bypasses the temptation to brandish his divine powers. He simply blesses and distributes the skimpy victuals. Yet, the loaves and fish do more than suffice the hungry gathering, indeed, twelve baskets full of leftovers are collected. The compiling of all the extra food demonstrates a certain quality about Jesus as the divine feeder. [4]

In each of the episodes recounted thus far, there is a certain excessiveness with which Jesus provides sustenance. He makes forty gallons of wine, offers water which eternally slakes the thirst, and ensures plenty leftovers at a meal of five thousand. However, while the Johannine Messiah gives nourishment freely and lavishly, his gifts are not to be squandered. He orders his disciples to pick up the pieces from the impromptu feeding of the five thousand and charges them to "Let nothing be wasted." Furthermore, Jesus' consumable gifts are not pretentious shows of power meant to mesmerize the audience. This is obvious from Jesus' reaction to the crowd at Galilee. The people, like sheep with their bellies full, determine to pronounce Jesus king and enjoy a welfare state in which they would never have to work again but simply graze on their daily feedings from their new dispenser-king. Knowing their intentions, Jesus "withdraws again to a mountain by himself" (6:15). The insatiable crowd misses the point of the free meal. Even the disciples have to be chided for their naivety, "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you" (John 6:27).

An Exhortation to Cannibalism

And yet, the misunderstandings of the crowds and disciples are reasonable. So far, it seems that Jesus can cook up spiritual and physical miracles whenever he desires. And, from the way Jesus speaks ("whatever you ask in my name," "ask and it will be given," "Ask and you will receive"), it seems that anyone can invoke this need-meeting power with the right words. Did not Jesus say, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full"(John 10:10b)? What exactly is this new Messiah serving? A passport to an Eternal All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Bar?

Immediately following the miraculous feeding of the five thousand in chapter six, Jesus interprets and expands the significance of the feeding miracle. He warns his disciples not to be trapped by the physical gratification of the feeding, but rather encourages them to seek an even more permanent sustenance. He explains that the true "bread of God" is not manna of Moses or his own fish and loaves, however supernatural they may seem. The eternal bread of God is something much more: "the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven" (6:33). When compared to this living bread from heaven, the manna from Moses is actually "death producing." [5] Even after saying this, the listeners, like the woman at the well, miss Jesus' meaning and ask to see a loaf of this heavenly bread. At this, Jesus resolutely declares "I am the bread of life" (6:48). No longer does he mince words and politely refer to himself as the giver of life, bread, and drink. Now, he declares he is the life, the bread, the drink. He is the Word become sarx: real "flesh" for the consumption of all. The crowd is incensed by his vulgarity and begins to mumble, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Ignoring their shock and disbelief, Jesus continues speaking words too tough to swallow: "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life" and "my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink" and "so the one who feeds on me will live because of me" (6:53-58). [6]

Many suggest that this discourse is to be read in the context of the early church's celebration of the Passover-Eucharist. [7] Yet, how is such a sacramental reading reconciled with the general consensus that the Gospel of John is "anti-sacramental"? According to Bultmann, the only way to reconcile this Eucharistic phraseology (6:51c-58) with John's anti-sacramental leanings is to assume that they must be later ecclesiastical additions. Paul N. Anderson concurs with Bultmann's basic sense, yet he maintains that these verses are from John's pen, not later additions. Why? Because the text is not concerned with the sacraments of the church, contra Bultmann, it is concerned with the supreme sacrament: Jesus, the Word of God come into the flesh. According to Anderson, "the ultimate 'sacrament' for John is the incarnation, and to 'eat and drink' the 'flesh and blood' of Jesus is to assimilate the salvific reality of the incarnation by faith and communal faithfulness." [8] Maarten J. J. Menken similarly interprets John 5:51c-58 as Christological and not sacramental; he claims, "John betrays no interest in church practices or structures in themselves; he tacitly presupposes them and concentrates on the person of Christ as their basis." [9] Certainly, Anderson and Menken are correct to link this passage to Christology. Yet, despite their compelling interpretation, we must not lose sight of the stark words of the Gospel. Neither Bultmann's consolation that this passage is addressed to the early church's sacramental rituals nor Anderson's consolation that it actually refers to lofty theological concepts are able to alleviate completely the reader's shock.

Regardless, one thing seems certain. If Jesus intended to run off thrill-seekers by his speech, it worked. The listeners grow nauseous, perhaps wondering what they really ate by the Sea of Galilee, perhaps confirmed in their suspicions about the insanity of this carpenter. One can almost visualize Jesus standing with arms outstretched, ready for consumption, watching the repulsed crowd slowly dissipate. John comments, "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him" (6:66). Even Jesus' most faithful friends cannot digest this "hard teaching" and it appears for a moment as if the whole movement will decompose.

The Last Supper Rendered Inedible

With chapter six, the tone of the feeding imagery shifts. From this point on, the cross is inevitable. All the action and imagery move the story toward the slaughter. When the reader arrives at chapter 13, the last supper, he or she realizes that hope for another divine feeding has given way to more pressing matters. The reader is not given much to chew on at the Passover meal in the way of setting and action. His depiction of the meal is meager. Even the installation of the Eucharist memorial is not recorded by John as it is by the other gospelers and Paul (giving further credence to an anti-sacramental reading). The actual eating of the meal is bypassed except for a brief moment in which Jesus dips a piece of bread and hands it to Judas Iscariot. And even this is not a display of Jesus' feeding powers: immediately upon receiving the bread, Satan enters Judas. Such a pronounced void of positive feeding images does not necessarily mean that the Passover is insignificant to the fourth gospel. [10] Rather, it should alert the reader to something ominous. Something is amiss. The whole evening is tainted by the smell of death. [11] Premonitions about the immediate future eat away at Jesus, but the disciples are clueless. He tries to take their minds off of food by suggesting they all go pray together.

The Main Course

The privation of feeding imagery does not mean that the time for feeding is over. The divine Passover Lamb is about to be slaughtered for the most horrific and wonderful Passover meal ever consumed. The last ray of hope for escape from this meal is dashed when Jesus is arrested in an olive grove. As if plucked from an olive branch, Jesus is carried away from the grove to be pressed. The Jews hurry the trial along, wanting to avoid uncleanliness so as to be able to partake of the Passover meal (they obviously do not realize they are preparing the ultimate Passover lamb because they are trying "to avoid ritual defilement" [John 18:28]). As the plot thickens, the soldiers lead Jesus to the place of the Skull, the place of death, corrosion, and spoiled food.

Throughout the narrative, Jesus has always been the feeder, the giver, the provider, never the one in need. However, at the crucifixion the situation is reversed. Jesus has relinquished his power to feed himself or anyone else; he grows weak and listless, languishing from dehydration. With the end in sight, Jesus exclaims that he is thirsty (Dipho, 18:28). A sponge soaked in sour wine (also translated "wine-vinegar") is offered to him, providing a stark contrast to Jesus' former extravagant bestowals of food on others. Oddly, John explains that this episode is a fulfillment of scripture. Yet, which scripture is fulfilled here? The debate has not yet been resolved. Brawley and Witkamp argue persuasively for the identification of Psalm 69:21 ("They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink") as the intended reference. [12] However, we should not be so hasty to pin down a particular verse. It seems more prudent and even more enlightening to adopt the approach of Raymond Brown, which has been recently reintroduced by Alan Culpepper. Both of these men allow the text to refer on its own imprecise terms. [13] The sour-wine scene could refer back to any number of Psalms. It could refer to the entire witness of scripture concerning the Messiah. Or the scene could be an intertextual reference to John 18:11, in which Jesus answers his own question, "Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?" What prevents the incorporation of all of these as possible references? [14]

At any rate, the crucifixion is the climax of the feeding imagery. The fullness of Jesus' life has been depleted on the cross; all that remains is a feeble, unquenchable thirst. In surrendering his body to the cross, Jesus has surrendered his ability to feed others or even look after his own body. Then, "when he had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished'" (19:30). As a final sign of the depletion, decomposition, and destruction, the soldiers puncture Jesus' side with a spear, and from his side pour blood and water (19:34). Literally, the little remaining fluids in Jesus' body are drained out of the wound. Figuratively, the water of eternal life that Jesus so freely offered to the woman at the well has now been contaminated with blood and wasted on the cross. The literal and the symbolic are mixed together as the blood and water. Stephen D. Moore is correct to observe that in this final blow to Jesus' already expired body, the literal and symbolic elements are as mixed and inseparable as the blood and water: "this water is neither simply material and literal, since it is symbolic, nor fully spiritual and figurative, since it is physical." [15]

And yet, many commentators do not completely permit the conflation of the literal and figurative, the earthly and the heavenly. A clear example is Peder Borgen's seminal Bread from Heaven. Although Borgen repudiates any dualism in the fourth gospel, he observes a "sharp distinction" between what he calls the "external" and the "spiritual." Accordingly, "the external sphere of man as flesh points to the spiritual sphere." [16] More recently, L. T. Witkamp has reaffirmed a sharp division between the physical and the spiritual, which he labels double entendre (see footnote seventeen). He goes beyond Borgen in that he gives preference to the spiritual readings over the physical and literal ones. [17]

Yet, as seen in the wedding at Cana, the woman at the well, the feeding of the five thousand, and now at the crucifixion, there is not a sharp distinction between the external and spiritual primarily because there is not a sharp distinction between the literal and the figurative. Certainly, both dimensions are present, but one does not necessarily lead to the other in accordance with some formula; rather John lays the literal and figurative and ergo the earthly and heavenly side by side, indistinguishable.


Still reeling from the stench of the crucifixion, the reader comes to the fresh day of the resurrection. Mary and the other disciples are overjoyed at the news and appearance of Jesus from the grave. But, some, like Thomas, doubt. Could this really be the same Nazarene with whom they had eaten Passover supper a few days earlier? Could he have the same divine power he once possessed or would he be weak? Perhaps these and other questions are what drive Peter and six others to their old trade of fishing on the lake of Tiberias. As they return from a restless and fruitless night on the sea, they see a man on the shore who tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. [18] When they obey, the foaming, frenzied water reveals a catch so magnificent that Peter realizes the man on the shore can be none other than Jesus. Moreover, the excessively large catch of fish (153 fish to be exact) makes it clear that this resurrected Jesus is the same divine provider the disciples formally knew.

As the disciples bring to shore their haul of fish they find that Jesus has started a fire, brought some bread, and is preparing breakfast. The happy reunion over breakfast shows that Jesus' character has not changed since his death and resurrection. As the feeding ends, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Peter, who may be still masticating the freshly caught fish, answers in the affirmative. Jesus responds cryptically, "Feed my lambs," "Take care of my sheep," "Feed my sheep" (21: 15-17). Obviously, Jesus did not have actual sheep he wanted Peter to shepherd so the commission must be read figuratively. But, we must not be too hasty to spiritualize this passage because it is no coincidence that Jesus gives this great commission in terms of feeding. The literal and figurative meanings of the imagery are both present and inseparable. This is the Johannine pattern as evidenced in the feedings at Cana, the Samaritan's well, the Sea of Galilee, the crucifixion and now the Sea of Tiberias.

A Culinary Commission

After the resurrected Messiah orders Peter to "feed sheep," he adds, "when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go" (John 21:18). John interprets these words as indicative of the way in which Peter would die. But why does Jesus (as interpreted by John) even mention this matter at this point? What is the connection?

The ironic fact is that Jesus' statement is completely reasonable once we understand how Peter must feed the Lord's sheep. He must feed them as Jesus fed them, that is, with his own body and soul. In these last lines, John's gospel story comes full circle. Jesus fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, and ultimately offered his own body and blood as salvific food for the world. Now Jesus bequeaths this ministry of joy and sorrow, of spirit and flesh, heaven and earth to Peter. Likewise, John the gospel-writer passes on the divine ministry of feeding to the next generation of Christians who in turn pass it on to succeeding generations until the Lord returns. While this process is sometimes termed apostolic succession, it might be better thought of as one holy, unbroken food chain.


In conclusion we may venture an answer the questions posed in the introduction. First, "What is the purpose of the feeding imagery?" Stated simply, feeding imagery is a wonderful method of demonstrating who this divine/human Jesus is and who we spiritual/physical beings are. Secondly, " Is there a pattern or progression of images?" We have confirmed that there is a pattern of feeding metaphors in John. As evident in the pericopes studied, the evangelist employs the imagery very systematically and purposefully. Thirdly, "Do the metaphors change or evolve or do they remain static?" The feeding and drinking metaphors evolve throughout the story in relation to what they are describing. In the first part of John, images of food and drink are centered on Jesus' miracles -- his works are described in terms of feeding (1:1-6:24). Midway through the story the locus of feeding imagery shifts from Jesus' works to his person -- he portrays himself as the source of nourishment (6:25-17:26). And, Jesus ultimately becomes the divine/human meal, the sacrificial lamb, when he is crucified (18-19). Ironically, as he is dried out on the cross, his feeding power is simultaneously depleted. However, upon rising from the dead, Jesus is again portrayed as he was at the beginning of the narrative, as the divine feeder (20:1-21:14). This is significant not only for the unity of the story; it is a vehicle for the transfer of Jesus' mission and authority to his disciples (21:15-25). Thus the imagery is extremely useful in helping the reader to outline the progression of John's thought and pinpoint his major emphases. Yet, tracing the major occurrences of feeding images throughout John's story has proven more fruitful than merely as a means of answering of the initial literary questions.

Studying the fourth gospel's feeding imagery has brought to light the way in which John blends and blurs the literal and the figurative and thus the material and the spiritual. In fact, although literal/figurative, material/spiritual, and external/internal distinctions are helpful for the sake of analysis, they are foreign to John's thinking. For the evangelist, there is no dualism, nor even an identifiably "sharp distinction" between the two, as Borgen and others believe. The literal is immured in the figurative, the ironic collapses into the paradoxical, and consequently, earthly matters fold into heavenly ones, or to use the patristics' neo-Platonic image, the earthly "participates" in the heavenly.

[1] R. Alan Culpepper, Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel: A Study in Literary Design (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983); Charles H. Talbert, Reading John: A Literary-Theological Commentary on the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Epistles (New York: Crossroad, 1992); Dorothy Lee, Symbolic Narratives of the Fourth Gospel: The Interplay of Form and Meaning, JSNT 95 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994); Francisco Lozada, Jr., Literary Reading of John 5: Text as Construction, SBL 20 (New York: Peter Lang, 2000). These four will serve as representatives of the pervasive trend to study the literary aspects of John, although it should be noted that a host of others exists.

[2] Notable exceptions include Antonio Sicari, "The Hunger and Thirst of Christ," translated by Timothy Coble, Communio (Winter, 1991): 590-602. Also see Richard Pervo, "PANTA KOINA: The Feeding Stories in the Light of Economic Data and Social Practice," Religious Propaganda and Missionary Competition in the New Testament World, edited by Lukas Bormann, Delly del Tredici and Angela Standhartinger (New York: E. J. Brill, 1994): 163-194. Despite these and other studies that discuss feeding imagery in John, no systematic, fully developed study has yet been produced.

[3] Any discussion of this story cannot avoid confrontation with questions about its status as a miracle. While an adequate consideration of various pertinent questions cannot be given here, it should be noted that some very positive work is occurring in this area. For instance, Gerd Theissen has cleared the way for new exegetical possibilities by simply changing Bultmann's classification of this story from "Nature Miracle" to "Gift Miracle." Gerd Theissen, The Miracle Stories of the Early Christian Tradition, translated by John Riches (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), 52-56, 103-106.

[4] Ched Myers has similarly analyzed Mark's telling of the miraculous feeding and noted the manner in which Jesus reverses the disciples' expectations. All the disciples can imagine is the stark "market scarcity" but Jesus rejects an economic solution. Instead, Jesus offers an alternative way to feed, a way that is extravagant and not economic. Ched Myers, Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1988), 442.

[5] Paul N. Anderson, The Christology of the Fourth Gospel, 216. Also see his "Sitz im Leben of the Johannine Bread of Life Discourse and its Evolving Context," Critical Readings of John 6, edited by Alan Culpepper, Biblical Interpretation Series (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997), 1-60.

[6] As if intentionally prodding his listeners further, Jesus drops the genteel verb for eating, phagow and uses the coarse term, trogow. It should be noted that Maarten J. J. Menken discredits the contention that trogow is stronger than phagow, however, his basis for doing so is deficient. On the contrary, there does appear to be a level of gradation between the two synonyms. See Maarten J. J. Menken, "John 6:51c-58: Eucharist or Christology?" Critical Readings, 195-7.

[7] For instance, Ernst Haenchen, A Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 1-6, Hermeneia, translated by Robert Funk (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), 298.

[8] Anderson, Christology, 134.

[9] Menken, 202.

[10] Indeed, the feasts and Passovers are extremely important for John. As methodically as someone stakes down a tent, John stakes down his narrative with Jewish feasts. The Passover is named in 2:13, 2:23, 4:45, 6:4, 11:55, 12:1, 13:1, 18:28, 18:39, 19:14. References to other feasts are found in 5:1, 7:2, 7:8, 7:10, 7:11, 7:14, 7:37, 10:22, 11:56, 12:12, 12:20, 13:29. F. F. Bruce, among others, believes that three separate Passovers are marked off by these references. The first one comes in John 2:13, the second in 6:4, and the third in 11:55. At any rate, the peculiarly large number of feast references in a book as symbolically rich as John's indicates they are more than chronological place-markers. F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans, 1983), 73. This last Passover is significant in that it represents some of Jesus' most extensive teachings.

[11] Even the famous vine-sayings in 15:1-7 are tainted by the gravity of the evening. The verses are just as much about being cut off and thrown into the fire as they are about abiding in the vine and bearing fruit.

[12] Robert L. Brawley, "An Absent Complement and Intertextuality in John 19:28-29" Journal of Biblical Literature 112 (1993), 434-7; L. T. Witkamp, "Jesus' Thirst in John 19:28-30" Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996), 489-510. Interestingly, Witkamp believes that John 19:28-29 must be read in light of Ps 69:21 as interpreted by Ps 42:2-3 and 63:2 as well as by Jesus statement about drinking the cup given to him by the Father (John 18:11). Witkamp deduces that "we have no option left except to interpret the word dipho not in the literal sense as the context of Ps 69 would suggest but in a spiritual sense as Jesus' thirst to drink the cup the father has given him - that is, to complete the Father's work in laying down his life," 509. According to this reading, "The reaction of the bystanders is a misunderstanding, but in it they unintentionally help to bring the scripture to fulfillment," 509. Witkamp explains that the bystanders' reaction is a "misunderstanding" because "they thought that he was only thirsty for water, while in reality Jesus had a more consuming and profound thirst," 508. From these statements, it is no wonder that Witkamp so harshly criticizes Stephen D. Moore, whom he perceives as intermingling and confusing the spiritual and physical as well as the literal and figurative. But, could it be that Moore's reading is more subtle and in the end conforms more to the Johannine practice of laying the spiritual and external side by side without clearly distinguishing either? Moore appears to be genuinely attempting to uphold the tension between the two spheres, whereas Witkamp openly gives preference to the spiritual reading over the mundane, thus slipping into a Docetic rhetoric.

[13] R. Alan Culpepper, "Reading Johannine Irony," Exploring the Gospel of John: In Honor of D. Moody Smith, edited by R. Alan Culpepper and C. Clifton Black (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996), 203.

[14] Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John: xiii-xxi, Anchor Bible 29A (Garden City: Doubleday, 1984), 929-30.

[15] Stephen D. Moore, "Are There Impurities in the Living Water that the Johannine Jesus Dispenses? Deconstruction, Feminism, and the Samaritan Woman," Biblical Interpretation 1 (1993), 222.

[16] Peder Borgen, Bread from Heaven: An Exegetical Study of the Concept of Manna in the Gospel of John and the Writings of Philo (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), 181.

[17] See Witkamp, 489-510.

[18] Interestingly, this final miracle is remarkably similar to a story told in Luke 5:1-11. John places the miracle after Jesus' resurrection while Luke uses it as the miracle by which Jesus calls his first disciples. Such placement accentuates John's intentional use of feeding imagery to convey his message.

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[Copyright 2000, by Adam C. English.  All rights reserved.  This is a draft version of a work still in progress;
please do not copy or cite anything from this paper without explicit permission of the author.]

For questions or comments about the content of this paper, please e-mail Adam C. English.

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