Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Ecclesiastes 11:1
What does this phrase “cast your bread upon the waters” really mean? It is basically a call to put your faith in action. It is a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” kind of challenge. It bids us to take a risk and relinquish control of something that is precious and essential to our existence in hopes that something even better will return.
There are three common interpretations of this scripture verse. The most accepted interpretation among many Bible scholars is that it refers to helping the poor. The verse is viewed as an encouragement to provide bread to those who have none. Proverbs 19:17 says “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward him for what he has done.” (NIV)
Another interpretation is that this verse was applied to the practice of planting on flooded fields. In biblical times when the Jordan River would overflow its banks, farmers were known to go out in a boat and actually sow their seed right on the water. They did this believing that the seed would sink to the bottom and eventually be covered with the fine silt left by the receding flood waters. That would serve as rich soil in which to grow an abundant harvest. Of course it took tremendous faith on the farmer’s part to sow in such adverse conditions. But he took the risk because of the rich return he hoped to gain.