Before the fall of man, in the garden of Eden, God’s will for man was that they ate fruit freely from the tree of life. Tree of life, in the poetry of the text, stands parallel to “Spirit of Life” so that to eat from the tree of life signifies sustaining yourself on and finding pleasure in the Spirit of Life in a similar way that Adam and Eve might do with fruit from a tree. Eating symbolizes faith and helps define living a life of faith in the Spirit.
God again uses the picture of enjoying food when Jesus says, I am the bread of life and the living water. He then gives us a symbolic communal meal to repeat this Eden-like experience in community together again and again.
As we eat the gospel meal, we remember where the bread and wine came from: the body of Christ broken for us and the blood of Christ shed for us. We also remember that He gives us life, his life to sustain us and give us pleasure spiritually. All of this, though, arises from the a picture God established at the beginning: come freely to the tree of life, the spirit of life and eat, live on the Spirit by grace. Even today, as you eat any morsel of food or drink any satisfying water, wine, or -in my wife’s case- Diet Coke, enjoy it well. Savor every bite. And… remember the life he gives us, his own life, Himself.