Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” John 4:4-15 (NIV)
I am not a follower of Oprah. When she says, “These cupcakes are to die for,” I don’t inhale them and then, buy the underwear she recommends to conceal my fat. I don’t read the books on her list or see the movies she promotes. I don’t follow the practices of her doctors or believe in her version of “god.” So, I was quite embarrassed to find myself in the bookstore asking for directions to locate a book that she says, “Changed her life.” The nerdy teenage boy who helped me look for it was perplexed that it was no longer housed in the psychology section until a co-worker pointed us to the entrance of the store under a big sign that read, “Oprah Recommends.” I wish I had paid attention as I walked into the store when I saw the kid’s sneer. The book, written by Geneen Roth, is called “Women, Food and God.” I don’t know where I have been all my life. I didn’t know about Roth and her journey to healing and then, helping others recover from food addictions. I guess I don’t watch enough television. Her reputation nor Oprah’s endorsement are not what led me to the book, but its intriguing title and the fact that I have gained back all the weight I lost last winter and then, some. Work has been stressful. Family relationships have been stressful. And stress always, always leads me to eat. When I explained to my doctor my stress levels, she gave me a pass on the weight loss this once, but brushed off my habit of reaching for the double stuffed golden Oreos as soon as I walk into the door from work by telling me simply, “Don’t buy them, then.” Is it fair to my family that I can’t be trusted with eating just one that they can’t have them in the house? I know what to do, and what to cook. Fifteen years ago, I spent six months meeting a nutritionist once a week and lost so much weight people didn’t recognize me. But, I hate obsessing over food and counting everything that goes into my mouth. Obsessing is the word that Roth uses stating that most of us either diet because food is the only thing we feel we can control or we overeat because food makes us feel comfortable and good. Roth says we need to fundamentally change the way we look and feel about food and that change comes when we fill our cravings with what really makes us feel satisfied. I am not recommending that you buy her book (you can borrow mine when I am done) because Roth is very new age and her teaching is full of Hindu goddesses, Buddhist monks and references to “god” as “a luminous presence”, but some of what she says has given me much food for thought including that I might practice what I preach, but does what I eat reflect what I believe?
A quote from “Women, Food and God,” to make you think:
“Women turn to food when they are not hungry because they are hungry for something they can’t name: a connection to what is beyond the concerns of daily life. Something deathless, something sacred. But replacing the hunger for divine connection with Double Stuf Oreos is like giving a glass of sand to a person dying of thirst. It creates more thirst, more panic. Combine the utter inefficacy of dieting with the lack of spiritual awareness and we have generations of mad, ravenous, self-loathing women. We have become so obsessed with getting rid of our obsession, with riding on top of our suffering and ignoring its inherent message, that we lose the pieces of ourselves waiting to be found beneath it. But fixing ourselves is not the same as being ourselves. The real richness of obsession lies in the ineffable stillness, the irrefutable wholeness, that is found in turning toward its source.”