From the OT Lesson for Monday in the week of Easter 6
3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 The clothes on your back did not wear out and your feet did not swell these forty years.
Every once in a while I am caught up short by something in Scripture that seems, if not out of place, at least utterly mundane, plain words plopped down in the midst of religious rhetoric, like plain stones mixed in with pearls. Today there is an example. Verse 3 includes an aphorism so well-known, so oft quoted (even Jesus quoted it to the Tempter), that one need only begin its first few words ~ “Man does not live . . . .” ~ and it is likely everyone within earshot will complete it almost verbatim. It is, however, followed by the homey recollection that “your clothes didn’t wear out,” and the startling reminder that “your feet didn’t swell.” ~ In my younger days, desert hiking and backpacking were among my favorite avocations. College weekends were often spent lugging a pack (including gallons of water in collapsible 1-quart plastic cubes) through the Anzo Borrego wilderness in southern California. Once I took up a career in law, I backpacked the Virgin River valley of southern Nevada. A few days hiking the desert and swollen feet were to be expected; several days and dry climate and harsh terrain could wreak havoc on natural fibers ~ worn clothing was not uncommon. So these two throw-away, pretty much forgotten recollections of Moses (reputed author of Deuteronomy) are (to me with my experiences and memories) even more revealing of the care of God than the magical manna! These folks hiked the desert for forty years, in sandals and cotton shifts, and their feet did not swell and their clothes did not wear out. This plain stone is as miraculous as the pearl with which it is found.