After the purification ceremony, the community members proceeded
to the refectory, to partake of the communal meal. Apparently, the
meal was held in a large assembly room, the remains of which have
been uncovered to the south of the central building. In a room adjacent
to the refectory, more than a thousand serving and eating utensils
were found. The sect members seem to have eaten seated on mats,
arranged in rows running parallel to the long walls of the room.
Their diet was varied and included bread, dates, date honey, dairy
products, and even meat. The scrolls mention that the sectarians
drank a beverage called tirosh, but it is uncertain whether this
refers to wine or to some sort of unfermented fruit juice.
The sectarians perceived their community life as a kind of "spiritual
temple", which replaced the real Temple in Jerusalem, with
the daily communal meals serving as a spiritual substitute for the
daily sacrifices. This would explain their strict observance of
ritual purification prior to participation in the communal meal.
It is possible that the communal meal was seen as a forerunner of
the feasts of the righteous in the End of Days, and as such it is
reminiscent of Jesus' Last Supper, as described in Matthew.