Scene I: in a great tent in the wilderness
Moses: So what are they grumbling about now?
Joshua: I know. It’s like they are never satisfied.
Moses: I know. First they were actually afraid God brought them out here to starve.
Caleb: Wait. I remember. (squeaky voice) But Moses, what are we going to eat? I’m hungry. I’m hungry. (Baby cry) Waaaa!
Moses: Exactly. So I talk to God about it because they are all too AFRAID to talk to God themselves. Then I come back and in my best Charlton Heston voice I say, “Behold, the Lord your God gives you Manna from heaven for your bread.” But does that satisfy?
Joshua: NO. They refuse to move further, and some sit and start swinging their arms wildly demanding meat.
Caleb: Yeah! (sings) “Now we’re not complaining but there is still one thing remaining. Bread is quite boring if that’s all you eat. Do us a favor, give us something with a little flavor. We won’t be moving ‘till we get some meat…”
Moses: I remember. What a headache. So I talk to God again and God works it out. I say, “Behold, the Lord your God gives you quail.” You would think that would be enough.
Joshua: Not a chance.
Caleb: Grumble, grumble, grumble.
Moses: So what do they want now?
Caleb: (Like a man in the desert) Water. Waaateeer. (cough, cough).
Joshua: Water. They say what good is the food if they die of thirst?
Moses: (angry. Picks up staff and stomps to tent door). I’ll give them damn water…
Scene II: outside the tent among the people
Moses: Behold, your damn water. (strikes the rock and water flows)
Off to the side:
Ruth: Look Manny, now we got water. Too bad it is time to move on.
Manny: Not a problem. We’ve been walking in circles for years.
Ruth: It’s a wonder no one remembered to bring a compass.
Manny: You just stay here. I’m sure we will be back by supper.
Ruth: Yes dear. Don’t be late. I’ll have quail and bread for supper. And water…
Jesus told the crowd, stop your grumbling. He fed 5000 men plus women and children with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. No big deal. He healed countless numbers, all they brought to him. But apparently none of that was enough. Show us a sign, they said. Jesus might have responded, don’t you mean show you another sign?
What is it about us that we are never satisfied? We all want free food, free clothing, free shelter, free healthcare (knowing all along that nothing is free and soeone must pay for it) – but if God (or whoever) can supply these things without us having to work for them, we think, “all the better.” Meanwhile, we spend all our time and energy chasing after these and like things of this world where moth and rust corrupts. Jesus says that time and energy would be better spent following after him, learning of him, partaking of him. He is the only one who is trying and able to free us from slavery to these material things.
Understand: God knows we have needs and is not unsympathetic to our plight in this world. But when you read your Bible and read about all the miracles, keep in mind that they are not the point. They are never the point. They are God simply being utterly gracious about things which have no ultimate importance.
Jesus is saying, don’t put all your time and energy into this life striving after temporary things like food and things that are passing away because life itself is passing away in, what? 60? 80? Maybe 100 years? That is just a camera flash in the face of the sun. Focus on Jesus. He is the bread of life. He is offering eternity – forever. Wouldn’t we all be better off building a solid, loving relationship with Almighty God? Don’t worry about tomorrow, Jesus said. Consider your eternal life. But the people still did not get it.