The Gospel of John uses a number of related and interwoven metaphors to describe Jesus. We encounter a number of these images as we work our way through some of John’s longer story units during the season of Lent.
Jesus is a spring of living water from which the thirsty can draw (John 4:14). He is the grape vine to which we are remain connected (John 15:1-4). He is bread for the hungry (John 6:5-11, John 6:30-35) . His body and blood are food and drink (John 6:48-56).
He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep to give them life and keep them safe (John 10:10-11). He is the gate by which the sheep enter the sheepfold (John 10:7).
He brings his own into his father’s household (John 14:2-3). and the path by which we can go to the Father (John 14:4-6).
He is the light of the world (John 8:12) and he gives sight to the blind (John 9:1-7).He makes the lame walk (John 5:1-9) and sets the slaves to sin free (John 8:32-36).
He is the both word that is spoken (John 1:1) and the truth it proclaims (John 14:6).
He reveals the Father to the world (John 1:18). He is the eternal I AM (John 8:58).
He is life (John 1:4, John 11:25, John 14:6). The life he gives is like the birth of a newborn (John 3:3-7) or like resurrection from the dead (John 11:25-26). It is abundant life (John 10:10). It is eternal life (John 3:14-16, John 4:14, John 5:24, John 6:40, John 6:54, John 6:68, John 10:28, John 12:25, John 17:2-3, among others). It is, in fact, this image of “eternal life” that seems to tie many of the others together.
During this season of Lent, John’s words call for contemplation, not just explanation. Perhaps more than any other gospel, the Gospel of John calls forth religious devotion to the person of Jesus.