Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
By Gerald Dean
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the rocks at night, and moving on in the cool of the early morning and evening. Today, through
necessity, I was traveling in the heat of the day, since my supply of food was exhausted.
Ahead of me, in the distance, through the shimmering hot air rising from the rocks, I could see a
great throng of people that seemed to cover the whole mountainside.
A young woman approached, her face drawn and anguished. I could see that she wore pale muslin
underdress, over which she had on a darker brown overdress and a white veil shielded her head
from the sun.
She pleaded “Pray sir, do you have some food you could give us, for we haven’t eaten since last
night, and our bodies are becoming weak?” .
I told her I did not, and that I had not eaten anything myself for the past two days, and that even
my own body was slowing through lack of nutrition.
I asked about the old man lying on the sand next to her.
“ That is my father. A week ago he was unable to walk, and we had to carry him everywhere. His
legs are still weak through hunger, but nonetheless he now walks unaided ”.
I left wondering how this could possibly have happened.
I headed further down the slope into the valley. More people approached me asking for food. A
young woman looked at me with hope and expectancy. She was trying desperately to suckle an
infant on her side, sweat and dirt dripped from her brow in the dust and heat of the scorching
midday sun: but I was unable to help her.
“Please sir, do you have any food, our bags are empty, are we to die on this mountainside?”
inquired an elderly man, his eyes large and staring, and partially dried saliva seeping from the
corners of his mouth. He had with him a young boy.
“ My son had sensibly saved food for us to eat in the event of something like this happening. Then
men from below came looking for food , they took ours for themselves, and carried it to their
friends and their leader in the valley. We have been following these men for days and seeing
unusual happenings, the like of which we have never seen before”
I wondered what manner of evil might have taken place.
I headed through the starving people to the valley floor. As I descended I passed many more
people stretched out on the hot, parched, sandy ground.
I thought ‘ What kind of catastrophe could have brought this all about ?’
Near the valley’s bottom people were being segregated, women and children on the one hand, and
men on the other, for what reason I was unable to tell.
To my right, was a mass of people milling around. A group of about ten men seemed prominent.
Spread on the ground in front of them was a large piece of dirty linen, on it articles of clothing and
a number of wicker containers, which I assumed belonged to the men.
A brown haired man who appeared to be the leader held something in his hand. He looked up and
spoke, but I could not hear through the turmoil. At that point I shuddered at what might be about
I felt compassion for these people, but being unable to help, or wanting to become further
involved, so I quickly made my way out of the valley and walked further to the next town where I
was able to find shelter for the night. With what little money I had I was even able to purchase
enough food to satisfy my hunger. I was also able to find work
The following week I met a young man and told him about my experience in the mountains, and
asked him if he knew what it all meant
“ I have heard it said that the leader’s name is Jesus, and that he has healed many of sickness and
demonic possession, as well as feeding five thousand men, and also women and children, with only
five loaves and two small fish taken from a young boy.
When all had eaten their fill the leftovers alone were enough to fill twelve empty baskets full and
brimming over. I would not wonder if one day, his name is heard of throughout the whole world.
These are certainly unusual days”.
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