Jesus asks his twelve disciples, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67)
Peter gives the answer when he says, “to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) Peter realizes that there is no other place, no other truth.
Peter essentially says, “I will accept all of the gospel how it is taught, in its totality”.
When we see ourselves in the position of the apostles who had just heard the Bread of Life discourse, then this question can find relevance in our lives. All of us have (if not just a little) a tendency to want to be cafeteria Mormons, picking and choosing what to believe, or how we will choose to follow Jesus Christ. Or in the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, we want an unbroken chain of green lights to an empty parking spot. 1
C.S. Lewis teaches us this concept with the exchange between Aslan and Jill in his book The Silver Chair. Jill, a little girl from our world, accidentally stumbles into the world of Narnia. She is extremely thirsty and comes upon a stream. But a Lion, Aslan, is sitting by the stream. She is terrified. Aslan says to her, “If you are thirsty, you may drink.” She doesn’t move.
“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.
“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
“Then drink,” said the Lion.
“May I, could I, would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And, as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked a whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
“Will you promise not to do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.
“I make no promise,” said the Lion.
Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
“Do you eat girls?” she asked.
“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
“I dare not come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.
It never occurred to Jill to disbelieve the Lion ‘no one who had seen his stern face could do that’ and her mind suddenly made itself up. It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream, knelt down, and began scooping water in her hand. It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted. You didn’t need to drink much of it, for it quenched your thirst at once. Before she tasted it she had been intending to make a dash away from the Lion the moment she finished. Now she realized that this would be, on the whole, the most dangerous thing of all. She got up and stood there with her lips still wet from drinking. 2
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland warned:
“As the world slouches toward the 21st century, many long for something, sometimes cry out for something, but too often scarcely know for what…In an absolutely terrifying way, we see legions who say they are bored with their spouses, their children, and any sense of marital or parental responsibility toward them. Still others, roaring full speed down the dead-end road of hedonism, shout that they will indeed live by bread alone, and the more of it the better. We have it on good word, indeed we have it from the Word Himself, that bread alone-even a lot of it-is not enough.
During the Savior’s Galilean ministry, He chided those who had heard of Him feeding the 5,000 with only five barley loaves and two fishes, and now flocked to Him expecting a free lunch. That food, important as it was, was incidental to the real nourishment He was trying to give them…But this was not the meal they had come for, and the record says, ‘From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.’
In that little story is something of the danger in our day. It is that in our contemporary success and sophistication we too may walk away from the vitally crucial bread of eternal life; we may actually choose to be spiritually malnourished, willfully indulging in a kind of spiritual anorexia. Like those childish Galileans of old, we may turn up our noses when divine sustenance is placed before us. Of course the tragedy then as now is that one day, as the Lord Himself has said, ‘In an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended,’ and we will find that our ‘souls [are] not saved.’ (DC 45:2)” 3
- Neal A. Maxwell, “Murmur Not,” Ensign, October 1989. He said, “A basic cause of murmuring is that too many of us seem to expect that life will flow ever smoothly, featuring an unbroken chain of green lights with empty parking places just in front of our destinations!”
- C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, p. 17-18.
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65.