Welcome to the new site and as I explained, all new posts will be here at www.timothymutegi.com. This marks the beginning of a new season and as I had promised, today’s post is going to be interesting. It is a fiction story by one Jimmy Nzioki, a friend I have known since high school. He is a gifted writer but I am going to let you be the judge of that. I know you are itching to scroll down so let me leave it at that. Make sure to capture the lesson at the end. I’m out .
(Jimmy takes over…)
The Bronze Snake
“Mama, I feel hungry….”
“Be quiet Bethuhel we all do.”
From those walking beside them he could hear some people’s bellies grumble, a clear indication that in deed there was hunger in this convoy. To his left was a young girl holding a jar of water that was almost dry if not dry. To the right were two Reubenites looking at the last pieces of bread crumbs that were in their leather bags.
Suddenly there was a sudden halt and murmurs ensued. There seemed to be something in front or someone who had done something to make the people agitated. The long chain of travelers unwound slowly and in its place a circular form of humanity came into being. However, there was one soul who was encircled and Bethuhel could almost guess who the person was as he adjusted himself and had his mother carry him facing forward. His aerial view helped him see past the array of heads and into the center of attraction.
The person could be identified as having a greyed beard that flowed seamlessly (a clear indication that he had been on earth for long) and carrying a long staff that was held at an angle such that its handle rested on his left shoulder. The murmuring increased and soon the whole crowd started grumbling against the man and some even felt like they could do away with him altogether.
“Mama why are they furious at Moses? What has he done?”
His mother wanted to snub him but decided not to. “Bethuhel don’t you wish you were at a much better place where there are ever-flowing streams of water and enough fish to fill your stomach so that you never feel hungry?”
“I would mama, is that why everyone is angry at Moses?”
“Yes! He hasn’t provided us with food since we left Hormah….”
“He doesn’t care about us, I wish we never left Egypt in the first place. Life was much more comfortable than this dry wasteland that he is taking us through,” cut in a brazen middle aged man spitefully. His sentiment was the same all round.
“Mama don’t say that, I don’t want to be swallowed by the ground like Korah.”
“Hahaha…, your child is quite funny woman. Tell him that if God wanted to do that he would have done it already. If anything, it would save us the hunger and thirst we’re feeling right now,” said another man from behind them.
“I’m sorry for that Bethuhel. I won’t say anymore.” No sooner had she said that than numerous screams were heard all over the plain. From as far as his eyes could see people were falling down one by one as if something was sweeping them off their feet. The screams increased drastically till Bethuhel could see some rod-like creatures that glistened; moving on the ground and leaving small holes on peoples’ heels and calves. Had he known he would have immediately called them snakes but his tender age couldn’t allow him to know what they were save for the hissing sounds that seemed to match the pitch of the Israelites’ wails. He saw some snakes come right under their feet and even before he could shout for his mother to run she had already started taking off with her mouth wide open screaming at the top of her voice.
Bethuhel looked behind her mother’s shoulder as she ran aimlessly and from afar off he could see some men, mostly tribal heads pleading with Moses for something. As the whole crowd ran in all directions (with the livestock following their masters’ frenzy as well), Bethuhel could barely see through the dust that had risen and was now covering everyone and everything. After an hour or two, his mother had managed to climb a bolder and finally let him down to ease her fatigue. Moses had erected something and those who were near the pole seemed to be calm. He hadn’t realized that he had been bitten till he saw blood oozing from his left leg. The more he looked at the figure the more the sharp pain he had experienced a while ago subsided. Furthermore, even the bleeding stopped on its own and the wounds vanished.
All this time his mother had been lying down silently and he couldn’t understand why she had quit answering any more of his questions like she always did. He turned his gaze to the other corner of the plain and saw some men and women from the tribe of Gad and Simeon trying to take off on top of mules towards the west. He saw some from the tribe of Issachar and Zebulun trying to mount their camels in order to flee to the east. To the north of the plain he could see the people of Judah and Benjamin running towards the Levites who in turn were running towards the tabernacle. The people of Asher and Naphtali were busy trying to nurse their wounds by applying some herbs to the snake bites. Many of the Israelites seemed to move to them for help as they saw it worked (though temporarily).
All this time Moses stood silently next to the bronze serpent that he had made as he looked on at what was happening. Bethuhel turned and the sight of his mother frothing nearly shocked him to death. “Mama, mama, ma…ma…., please talk mama…,” he started sobbing not knowing what to do. His mother had numerous lacerations underneath her feet both from the random snake bites and the thorns and thistles that had scratched her as she ran to save them both. His tears fell on his dying mother’s laps as he tried to do anything that could save her.
Unknowingly he forced himself into her embrace and in so doing made her to rise a bit so as to say her last farewell to her only son. As the tears that had clouded her eyes ran dry- facing the same direction that her son had previously been facing a while back- she saw the same figure that was next to Moses and immediately the pain she had ceased. After a couple of minutes, her wounds started to disappear and her strength was restored. She lifted her son and hugged him all the more and thanked him as she shouted to all those who could hear her sharp voice, “look to the bronze snake and you’ll be healed!”
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14-15 (ESV)