Our reading this week from John’s gospel comes right after Jesus fed 5000 people and now they are hungry again. Since they were fed by him the day before why not again today? Having enough to eat in Jesus’ time was a challenge for many so it would be understandable that they wouldn’t want to lose sight of what they have just experienced.
After the feeding Jesus and the disciples got in their boat and crossed the lake and many decided to follow them. When they meet up, the original question is asked again - what signs are you going to give us so that we will believe in you? How about a regular diet of manna raining from heaven like our ancestors enjoyed? Jesus seizes on their opening to explain who he is and why he's here: I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry.
To the disappointment of the idlers, Jesus is not promising an endless buffet of material goodies. He is offering himself as the spiritual food that will fill our deepest needs.