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STRUCK   5'1m*f RT: Moses struck the rock in anger

(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 and sandals, carrying walking
stick) My name is Moses. I am the leader chosen by God to lead
the Hebrews out of the land of Egypt and into the promised land.
The reason I called this press conference is to make an
important announcement.

REPORTER -- Are you speaking about the miracle of getting water
out of a rock?

MOSES -- Well, yes, but only incidentally.

REPORTER -- Is it true that this is not the first time you
performed this miracle?

MOSES -- I have two things to say about that. First of all, it
was not I who performed the miracle in either case. It was the
Lord God himself. I was only an instrument God chose to do his
work. Secondly, while it is true that the Lord performed this
miracle about forty years ago in this same spot...

REPORTER -- Can you tell us what spell or incantation you used
to induce your god to do this miracle?

MOSES -- I'm trying to explain to you that getting a rock to
spew out water was not my idea. It was God's idea. I didn't have
to DO anything.

REPORTER -- But you DID SOMETHING before God made the water flow
from the rock, didn't you?

MOSES -- Yes, that's what I was trying to explain to you. The
first time we arrived here in this section of the desert forty
years ago, God told me to strike the rock with my walking stick.
(offers stick)

REPORTER -- How many times?

MOSES -- Excuse me?

REPORTER -- How many times did you have to strike the rock in
order to get the water to start flowing?

MOSES -- That's what I'm trying to explain to you. Striking the
rock did not cause the water to flow. It was God who caused the
water to flow. The striking of the rock was merely a signal to
the people that something miraculous was about to happen.

REPORTER -- According to eye witness reports of this second
miracle, you struck the rock TWICE. Is that correct?

MOSES -- That's what I DID. But, what I'm trying to tell you is
that I DIDN'T DO what God told me to do.

REPORTER -- But according to eye-witness reports the water
flowed from the rock anyway.

MOSES -- Yes, that's true. In spite of my disobedience, God gave
my people the water they needed when they needed it. He didn't
let my people suffer for my disobedience.

REPORTER -- Disobedience? How did you disobey?

MOSES -- This time God instructed me to SPEAK to the rock
instead of striking it.

REPORTER -- Why would God change the instructions?

MOSES -- I guess it's primarily because people tend to be
superstitious. When they see me strike the rock and the water
flows from the rock, they conclude that the striking is what
causes the flowing. God wanted everyone to see that it's the
will of God, not some good deed of man that makes good things
happen. That's why God will rarely do the same miracle twice in
exactly the same way. Unfortunately, when I repeated what I did
last time I reinforced such superstition among my people. And so
now I must suffer the consequences.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that God will punish you for striking
the rock instead of speaking to it?

MOSES -- That's what I'm saying and that's why I called this
press conference. I'm here to announce that because of my
disobedience, God will not allow me to accompany my people when
they cross over the Jordan river into the promised land.

REPORTER -- Isn't that a harsh penalty for hitting a rock with a
stick?

MOSES -- Not at all. When I took on the job of representing God
to my people, I took on a very important job. If, as I did with
the rock, I misrepresent God or cause people to misunderstand
how he works, I am doing serious long term damage to man's
relationship with God. God cannot allow me to get away with
that. Otherwise, people will think it's okay to brush aside
other instructions of God as unimportant.

REPORTER -- Who will replace you as leader of the Hebrews when
they cross the Jordan River into the promised land?

MOSES -- His name is Joshua. For forty years, he has been my
right hand man and the general of our army. He is very dedicated
and capable. He will be a good leader for our people.

REPORTER -- Do you have any regrets as you hand over power to
your successor?

MOSES -- Yes. It was out of anger that I disobeyed God. I let
the impatience of my people irritate me. In my anger I forgot
that God had changed the way he was going to do this miracle. I
fell back into old habits. In my anger I not only failed to
follow instructions, I also gave my people the impression that
the miracle was as much from ME as from God. And now I'm being
justly punished for a mistake I made in anger. I hope this is a
lesson for you as much as it is for me. (exits)

REPORTER -- Thank you, Mr Moses.

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