20 Things Jesus Ate and Drank as Evidenced by the Bible

Understanding what Jesus ate and drank during His time on Earth provides our world today with valuable insights into His daily life and the cultural setting of His time. From bread to wine to nuts and fruits, we’ve listed some of the most common food and beverages mentioned in the Bible and some historical texts. By learning these things, we’re positive you’ll better grasp how things worked in the ancient Judean culture.

Bread

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Bread, even more so than today, was a staple in the typical diet of those who lived during the first-century Greco-Roman world. It’s also assumed that Jesus ate coarse barley bread, as it was most accessible during His time. The fact that Jesus ate bread was even made more apparent during the Last Supper, described in Matthew 26:26, “During the meal, Jesus took and blessed the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples: take, eat; this is My body.”

Wine

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Similar to France’s history of having very expensive water and having to choose wine over the former, many communities in the ancient world had the same situation. People were often forced to drink wine over water because water was usually viewed as dirty or containing harmful pathogens. Because of this, Jesus drank wine on a day-to-day basis.

Lentils

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During Jesus’s time, there was no mass production of food, and therefore, food was a limited resource. This forced people to become frugal eaters who survived on what was available to them. One of the most common food options during His time was legumes, which included lentils. Lentils were even mentioned in Genesis 25:34, which reads, “And Jacob gave Esau bread and the dish of lentils; and he ate and drank, and rose up and went away.”

Beans

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Like many ordinary people during His time, Jesus lived on a simple diet of many vegetables; beans were also very popular, along with lentils. There are parts of the Bible that also mentioned when beans were consumed or when beans were used as an ingredient. For example, Ezekiel 4:9 tells a tale of how beans were used as an unusual source of bread. It reads, “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.”

Grains

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Barley or wheat were among the most common grain forms during Jesus’s time. These were usually made into bread, and it’s believed that the poor ate barley bread while the rich ate bread made of wheat. An article from the Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Catholic Church explains, “Barley or wheat grains were ground between two millstones, almost always by women, and this was done at home.” Jesus eating grains can also be traced back through Matthew 12:1, which reads, “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.”

Fish

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During Jesus’s time, fish was a far more common choice than meat. The miracle of the multiplication of the fish and bread also attests to this. Additionally, in a more historical and geographic context, the Sea of Galilee was known to be abundant in fish. Therefore, it was a ubiquitous staple during Jesus’s time.

Lamb

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Meat was considered a luxury in olden times; therefore, not many common folk ate it, nor was it a staple. However, there are instances when meat, especially those from goats or lambs, was consumed, such as the Passover. Jesus and His disciples were present and ate during the Passover supper. Since lamb is considered a staple of this ancient event, it’s believed Jesus ate lamb, too.

Vegetables

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The Bible is filled with many mentions of fruits and vegetables. Though beans and lentils were the most popular, other vegetables, such as cucumbers, onions, and leeks, were also well-known and consumed. Numbers 11:5 reads, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.” The Los Angeles Times also shares, “Jesus essentially ate a Mediterranean diet rich in whole grains, fish, fruit and vegetables.”

Olives and Olive Oil

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Olives were abundant during Jesus’s time, so olives and olive oil were most likely part of His daily diet. Most olives would have been eaten directly, while others were pressed for oil, considered liquid gold during the olden days. It was so prized and treasured that it sometimes functioned as a form of currency.

Cheese and Other Dairy Products

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Cheese and milk were largely consumed during Jesus’s time. Cow milk was rare, but lamb or goat milk wasn’t. Additionally, since milk tended to get rancid quickly, making cheese out of it was a common practice.

Walnuts

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During Jesus’s time, people got ample amounts of protein by consuming nuts. An example of a nut consumed during His time was walnuts, which were believed to contain healthy fats. There’s also a high probability that walnuts were part of Jesus’s day-to-day diet, as walnut trees were growing around the Sea of Galilee during His time.

Almonds

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Another type of nut that was popular during Jesus’s time was almonds. Though it can be found worldwide now, it was initially harvested in the northern mountains of Palestine and the southern mountains of Syria, which are considered parts of Galilee. This nut was first mentioned in Genesis when Jacob sent almonds as a gift to Joseph, but it holds many meanings and significance to the church today. An article notes, “Don’t stop following Jesus Christ, and learn the lesson of the almond tree: the death comes so that the new life can appear!”

Honey

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Today, there are many ways to sweeten food. However, during Jesus’s time, one of the few options was honey—the sweetener used for most things. Fort Hill United Methodist Church says, “In the Bible, honey is mentioned 61 times, and its meaning is often associated with prosperity and abundance.”

Date Palms

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Some dates exist today, but date palms, which Jesus ate during His time, are different. They are fruits of ancient, 2,000-year-old biblical trees that could have grown between Galilee and the Dead Sea during Jesus’s time. Recently, efforts to revive the ancient and previously extinct Judean dates, or “The Dates That Jesus Ate,” have slowly been coming to fruition.

Grapes

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Grapes and vineyards were abundant in ancient Israel and during Jesus’s time. Because of this, grapes were often eaten directly, while others were made into wine. In fact, grapes are mentioned 72 times in the Old Testament and 6 times in the New Testament.

Pomegranates

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Pomegranate was often made into fruit juice, which people of Jesus’s time greatly enjoyed as an alternative to wine or milk. This fruit is also considered a symbol of righteousness in Judaism and is mentioned 15 times in the Bible.

Figs

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Figs could be harvested two months in the year—mid-June and August—during Jesus’s time. Figs are common in the Middle East today, but they were first cultivated in Canaan before the Israelites arrived. Figs were a common fruit, and they were eaten fresh or dried like raisins. They could have also been fermented for longer keeping.

Bitter Herbs

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Bitter herbs are hugely associated with the Passover. It’s believed to be similar to a salad or condiment that should be eaten with the lamb. Bitter herbs are also known to include lettuce, endive, chicory, and more. In a more philosophical sense, the bitter herbs of the Passover are a reminder that humanity is no longer enslaved to sin but is a being of free will who is loved by Christ.

Garlic

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Ancient Jews preferred strongly seasoned food. One way they did this was by using garlic, which was already used as an ingredient for cooking during these times. Though some people think garlic was found in Egypt, there are accounts that this specific crop was grown in the Holy Land, making it available to Jesus during His time.

Mustard

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Mustard is another type of seasoning that was common during Jesus’s time. In fact, Jesus even said something about the mustard seed, which is still contested today. Matthew 17:20 reads, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” Additionally, using the mustard seed as a metaphor for something tiny was common during His time.

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Author: Karen Danao

Bio:

Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

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