In the natural and to the naked eye, there is not much special about water, food, and a community of people that are wandering in the desert. From an ancient perspective, such resources are a sign of strength, provision, and wealth. From a modern perspective, water and food are commonly viewed as necessities, while building community is rediscovering what it means to communicate and do life with other people. In the next few paragraphs, we will engage visual faith as described by William Dyrness and the artistic connections that water, food, and community have with theology and faith as seen in the context of the Book of Exodus.
We need a drink. While in the wilderness, the Israelites were thirsty and the Almighty provided water for them from a rock. In trying to see how ancient artists might have viewed this element, the first thing I see is that the rock was an original uncommon source from which to drink water. It eludes to that the truth that God possesses a unique quality to do uncommon things or miracles that cannot be duplicated or matched. He alone is an original unrivaled and uncommon source who makes provision for his people.
Give us this day our daily bread. With a preset table and food ready to eat, the Israelites received nourishment from the hand of God. Men, women, and children ate manna and quail until they were satisfied, yet not one of them was responsible making provisions. It could be that ancient art lovers realized that if God feeds the body, then he may as well be able to satisfy the soul where the seat of one’s emotions, will, and spirit being makes up the inner man. Another way to put it is that they may have saw God as the food source for the soul too.
God does life with his people. Within the community of the Israelites at they wandered through the desert, some ancient art lovers must thought that God is very patient with the Israelites. Although, modern day bible readers often think that God was very impatient. That God would listen to the people and allow the people to express their frustrations and many times ungratefulness demonstrates is temperament and graciousness with his people. One overall message is that we are to be patient with each other as we do life together.