Bread in the Bible

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans and Joseph bent over the wastebasket and rubbed their fingers and hands. They tried to rub off all of the bread dough that was stuck to them.

“Come, wash your bowls out. That will get the rest of the dough off your hands,” Mac’s mom, Mrs. Evans, said.

When the big bowls were clean and dry, Mrs. Evans showed Mac and Joseph how to coat them with oil. “That way the dough won’t stick to the bowl when you want to take it out,” she explained.

Then Mac and Joseph each put their lump of dough into their own bowl and rubbed oil on top of it. “The oil will keep the dough nice and elastic so it can rise easily,” Mrs. Evans said.

“Don’t touch me!” Mac hollered as Joseph wiggled his oily fingers in front of her face.

Joseph laughed. He washed his hands with lots of sudsy water.

“Now what?” he asked.

“Now we put the dough in the oven,” Mrs. Evans said. “But we don’t turn the heat on. I’m going to put a pan of hot water in with it. That will make the oven nice and warm and steamy. The yeast will grow happily, and the dough will rise. It will be ready for attention in about an hour. Would you please set the timer, Mac?”

“What shall we do while we’re waiting?” Mac asked.

“Oh, I’ve got an idea for you,” Mrs. Evans said brightly. “I want you to see if you can find some of the things the Bible says about bread.”

“The Bible talks about bread?” Joseph asked.

“It sure does,” Mrs. Evans said. “Can’t you remember any stories about bread?”

“I do! I do!” Mac exclaimed. “One of my favorite Bible stories is about bread. Remember that widow who was picking up sticks outside the city? There was a famine. She was going to make a fire with the sticks and use the very last bit of her flour to make a loaf of bread for her and her son and then they were going to starve to death. And the prophet Elijah came and asked her to make a loaf of bread for him and she did and her flour never ran out until the famine was over! She always had bread! I love that story!”

“I remember one too!” Joseph interrupted. “Jesus took that little boy’s loaves of bread and his fishes and He fed 5,000 people for lunch one day!”

“I remember another one!” Mac put in, dancing up and down. “The Lord told Moses He would give the children of Israel bread from heaven when they were wandering in the wilderness. That’s what manna was—bread from heaven!”

“And I remember one! That prayer—‘give us this day our daily bread.’ ” Joseph said.

“Jesus and His disciples ate bread at the Last Supper,” Mac added.

“Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread when He was so hungry!” Joseph remembered.

“Ravens brought bread to Elijah!” Mac laughed. “I love that story too!”

Mrs. Evans’s eyes twinkled. “Your memories are starting to work now!” she said.

It was quiet in the kitchen for a minute, then Mac exclaimed, “We could look in the concordance!” She dashed to the bookcase in the living room and found the heavy, big red book. She lay down on the rug on her stomach and turned the pages, looking for the B’s. “There must be about a billion places the Bible talks about bread!” she exclaimed when she found the right place.

It didn’t seem long before the timer began its beep-beep-beep. Mac and Joseph hurried back to the kitchen. Mrs. Evans opened the oven. A wonderful, soft smell filled the whole room.

“Look at that!” Mac exclaimed. “The dough is almost spilling out of my bowl!”

“It’s time to knead it again,” Mrs. Evans said.

Joseph and Mac sprinkled flour on the counter once more. They dumped the spongy dough out and began to knead it. “It feels so squishy!” Mac said.

“Knead all the air bubbles out of it,” Mrs. Evans instructed. While Mac and Joseph kneaded, Mrs. Evans greased four bread pans with shortening. “Divide your dough into two parts,” she said. “It’s time to put it into the pans.”

Mac pushed half her dough into one of the old glass bread pans. “I feel like a real pioneer woman,” she said.

“I read a story once about a pioneer woman who had a huge oven,” Mrs. Evans said. “And she made 15 loaves of bread every time she baked.”

Mac looked out the window as she thought. “If Joseph and I put our dough together and then had four times that much, that would make 16 loaves.” She looked at Mrs. Evans. “How could anybody knead that much dough?”

“I don’t know,” Mrs. Evans admitted. “She must have had really big, strong hands.”

“How much longer before our bread will be done?” Joseph asked. “I can’t wait to eat it!”

“You can’t eat it! It’s missionary bread!” Mac exclaimed. “We’re going to sell it!”

“I don’t care what you say! I’m going to eat some of it!” Joseph retorted. “I like homemade bread, and I made it with my very own hands, and I’m going to eat it!”

“Then you have to buy a loaf!” Mac shouted. “And it’s going to cost $3.00!”

“Hey! Calm down!” Mrs. Evans said quickly. “Of course, you are going to eat some of it. Here’s an idea. We could eat one loaf. I want some of this bread, too, you know! You could use one loaf for samples so people can see what your bread tastes like and will maybe want to order some. And you could sell the other two right away.”

“I guess so,” Mac muttered. She took a breath. “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” she said to Joseph.

“I forgive you,” Joseph answered. “I’m sorry too. We can’t fight over missionary bread!”