MANNA2   6'1m*f RT: Manna, meat and water during the exodus

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

MOSES -- (enters wearing tunic, headdress and sandals, crosses
to podium) Good Morning. My name is Moses. As most of you
already know, I recently led my people the Hebrews out of Egypt.
As promised, this is just one of many daily press conferences to
update you on the status of the Hebrews as we make our way to
the promised land. Last night we camped here at the oasis of the
seventy palms where there will be plenty of water for my people.

REPORTER -- Mr Moses, if there's plenty of water here at Elim,
why did you stop yesterday at the bitter springs at Marah.

MOSES -- I want you reporters to listen carefully to my answer
to this question, because it will be the answer to many
questions today. The reason we stopped at the bitter springs
yesterday was to urge my people the Hebrews to trust in God's
mercy. You see, we are God's chosen people to preach the news of
God's mercy to the rest of the world. But how can we preach the
news of God's mercy if we haven't experienced God's mercy.

REPORTER -- How was God's mercy experienced yesterday at Marah?

MOSES -- Some of you reporters were with us in Egypt when God
devastated Egypt with ten plagues, and again when God opened up
the Red Sea to let us pass through on dry ground and again when
God caused the red sea to swallow the entire Egyptian army. So
you know how God has continually demonstrated his care for his
people and his contempt for those who oppose us. Yet, within
just a few hours and days after these monumental demonstrations
from the Lord, when his people should have been giving praise to
God who delivered them, the people began complaining. Yet, in
spite of the fact that these ungrateful people deserved death,
God chose to extend them yet another mercy. He turned the bitter
water at Marah to fresh drinking water. I think that's a pretty
convincing experience of mercy. Don't you?

REPORTER -- Yet, it seems to be happening again.

MOSES -- What does?

REPORTER -- I have several reports from your tribal leaders that
your people began grumbling again almost as soon as they began
to drink the water here at seventy palms.

MOSES -- Alas, if I didn't know them better, I would swear that
they were mentally retarded. They forget God's lessons almost as
fast as they experience them. (sighs) You're referring to the
grumbling about food, I presume.

REPORTER -- According to the tribal leaders I've interviewed,
the livestock you brought out of Egypt with you have all been

MOSES -- That's true. But instead of looking forward to God's
provision, they moan and they complain. It's a good thing God is
in charge and not me. I would have lost patience with them by
now and there sun-scorched bodies would be rotting back at

REPORTER -- So, what provision does your god have to feed his
people out here in the desert?

MOSES -- God will send food to us by supernatural means twice
per day. The first delivery will happen while we're sleeping
during the night. When we wake up in the mornings, the ground
will be covered with nutritious flakes of food known as Manna.

REPORTER -- Manna?! Manna means "what is it" in your language
does it not?

MOSES -- That's right. We call it MANNA because it's not a grain
and it's not a fruit. It doesn't look like any food on earth
because it doesn't come from earth. It comes from Heaven. The
people will gather exactly as much manna as they need to feed
their families for one day.

REPORTER -- What will happen if they take more manna than they
need for one day?

MOSES -- I'd like to be able to tell you that that will never
happen. But these people still have a slave mentality. Some of
them will hoard as much manna as they can, in which case the
leftover manna will rot and stink and be filled with maggots.

REPORTER -- This is in keeping with your god's desire to keep
his people dependent upon him every day?

MOSES -- That's right. The only exception to this rule will be
on the sabbath day. The sabbath day is the seventh day and it
will be set aside for rest, worship and devotion to the Lord our
God. So, in keeping with the sabbath, the people will be
instructed to gather a two-day supply of manna on the day before
the sabbath.

REPORTER -- But won't the second day's supply of manna rot and
stink on the sabbath?

MOSES -- No. Remember, this is God's own food. He gives it the
properties he wants it to have. And on the day before the
sabbath, the manna will resist rotting for two days.

REPORTER -- So, you're god is serious about wanting his people
to be dependent and devoted to him.

MOSES -- That's right.

REPORTER -- How long will your god continue to feed his people
with manna from heaven? Will it be a matter of days? Weeks?
Months? Years?

MOSES -- It's not a matter of time. It's a matter of readiness.
As soon as my people learn to be dependent and devoted to God,
he will send them into the promised land where the land itself
will feed them abundantly. If they learn their lesson in days,
then the manna will fall from the sky for days. If years or
decades, that's how long God will feed them.

REPORTER -- Speaking of feeding them, you mentioned that manna
was just one of two feedings your god will provide for his

MOSES -- Yes. The second will be in the evening. Just before
sundown, a large flock of quail will fly into the camp for easy
trapping in time for the evening meal.

REPORTER -- And this too will continue until your god determines
that his people are ready to go into the promised land?

MOSES -- That's right.

REPORTER -- Do you think this will satisfy the people?

MOSES -- Absolutely not. I predict that while the people are
chewing on their very first morsel of quail meat, they will
begin complaining about the lack of variety in their diet.

REPORTER -- What will you do about that?

MOSES -- If I was in charge, I'd strike them dead on the spot.
Fortunately for the Hebrews, I'm not in charge.

REPORTER -- What will your god do?

MOSES -- He will keep them out here in the desert until they
stop complaining.

REPORTER -- Judging from past experience, that could take a long

MOSES -- Fortunately, God is patient. He'll wait however long it


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