Ichthys, the Greek word meaning fish, is a predominant and powerful Christian symbol. Mentioned in the Gospels several times, the fish is quite symbolic of Jesus Christ. The letters in Ichthys are Greek words which make the Greek phrase, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Savior."
The historical meaning of the "Jesus Fish" goes back to after the Resurrection of Jesus. During the years following the Resurrection, the Church grew rapidly and the Christians were being persecuted by the Romans and Jews. Because it was dangerous to be a Christian, strangers that would meet would draw on the ground the upper have of the fish symbol. Upon recognizing the symbol the other would add the bottom and complete the drawing which was a fish. It may have been very simple but it was also easy to erase in case it was not recognized.
As we enter into Lent, we recall the importance of Jesus in our own lives and we begin to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection. Fr. Greg Friedman O.F.M. with American Catholic gives a great 60 second piece on the importance of the "Jesus Fish" and how this ancient symbol points directly to Jesus. During Lent, we try to realign ourselves with Jesus, by sacrificing something we enjoy. Normally, we give up meat, we fast, we pray, and we give alms to those in need.
Like Jesus, fish have fed thousands of people and nourished them. During Lent, we use the example of Jesus and the Gospels to nourish our souls and get feed by the Eucharist in order to have eternal life. We need the nourishment of Christ in our own lives and as we approach Lent, our nourishment comes in the sacrifice and preparation for the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter.