Miriam woke before the others and grabbed a basket from the corner and went to the market to get some fresh fruit, bread, and a few other things they would need for the day. She really didn’t want to go to the beach, but her parents insisted that they go as a family. She hated the way the water made her eyes sting. She hated the hot sand that felt like it was burning right through the soles of her sandals. Her little brother on the other hand loved it, but then their father was teaching him to fish. Being a girl, she only got to watch, which really didn’t bother her all that much. She didn’t want to touch those smelly old things anyway. Mother was teaching her how to cook the fish. That was bad enough.
She looked at the sun, which was just over the horizon. She had better hurry before it got too hot to fish. She gathered her purchases, paid and hurried home. By the time she arrived, her mother was already bustling around the kitchen, “Good morning, Miriam, dear.” She gave her a kiss on the top of her head. “Is the bread fresh today?”
“Yes, Mother.” She put the basket down.
Her mother began to set the table. “Go get your father and Benjamin. They are back of the house getting ready.”
Miriam nodded and scooted out the door. She saw them busily repairing the net. Benjamin got it caught on something last time and ripped it. “Mother said to come to eat.”
Her father looked up and smiled, “We’re done. We just need to wash our hands and we will be right there.”
After they finished, her mother packed the rest in the basket for their lunch and they set off for the day. As they got closer, the fishy odor hit her and it almost made her gag. She didn’t mind eating fish, but it was hardly her favorite meal.
They walked along the beach, looking for the best spot. They had a hard time finding a place. There seemed to be more people at the water today than usual. She followed her mother to a place to sit while her father and Benjamin went to the water’s edge. She had to admit the water’s blue was peaceful. The heat from the sand penetrated her body. She felt herself dozing off, and tried to stay awake. Eventually, she stopped fighting, leaned against her mother and drifted off to sleep.
She felt a hand touch her shoulder and heard her fathers’ voice. She stretched as she woke up. She didn’t feel like she’d been asleep that long, but her father was packing things. All the people who had been at the beach were gone. What was going on?
Her mother packed the food basket. “We saved some for you. Are you hungry?”
“No, I’ll wait until we get home.”
Her mother nodded. “Benjamin, would you carry this for me?” He ran over and took the basket from their mother.
As they walked, they found it hard to make their way home. There were people everywhere! As they made their way through the crowd, she lost track of her family. She heard a man’s voice and followed it, thinking it was her father. It wasn’t him, but she realized that he was the reason for the crowd. People were trying to get as close as they could to him. This was the new preacher that everyone had been talking about. He spoke of God in a way nobody had heard before.
Tired of walking and being jostled by the crowd, she sat and waited for her family to find her. She lost track of time listening to the man. Someone handed her a basket with bread and fish in it. The woman smiled and said, “Here, have some.” She realized that she hadn’t eaten anything since they left the house and was grateful for the food.
“Thank you,” and passed the basket after taking a piece of bread and fish.
“Miriam!” She turned and saw her brother, a big grin on his face. “You’re not going to believe this!”
“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” John 6:9
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