Where’s Waldo?

There’s a familiar story (in John 6) about Jesus being followed out into the middle of nowhere by a crowd of people (5000+). They stayed awhile and it got to be dinner time. The only food around was the picnic lunch of a little boy: 2 fish and 5 barley loaves. Don’t know how big the fish were, or how big the barley loaves, but no way could they feed all those people. Yet Jesus made it more than enough. When everyone in the crowd had all they wanted to eat, there were baskets of food left over.

One of the children last week informed me that this is her favorite story. It’s one of my favorites too. I like the part about “now there was a lot of grass in this place.” It takes a lot of grass for 5000+ people to find a place to sit down. On my long walk along the C&O Canal trail in the spring, it was HARD to find a place to sit down for lunch that wasn’t muddy, flooded, full of poison ivy. Sometimes I would walk over an hour before I would find a spot of grass to rest on. I have learned to appreciate grass as much as fish and bread.

The other amazing thing about this story is that it is NOT the only story here. There are several other stories hiding in it. In fact, unless we know what those other stories are, we might miss the whole point of why Jesus did this. It’s sort of like the “Where’s Waldo?” books that I used to read with my children: in a detailed picture of crowds of people and interesting objects, there would be a funny little Waldo guy somewhere. It helps to know what Waldo looks like to find him.

I don’t imagine the writer of John’s gospel knew about Waldo. But it would help us to know that in this story he writes, Moses is hiding a couple of places. One of Isaiah’s poems is sneaking around the corner. You don’t like poetry, you say? Well, Elisha (friend of Elijah)is hiding there too and he is always doing something dramatic that would make a good action film.

I’ll tell you what. Now that I’ve given you a hint, you figure out what stories about these characters are hiding. Each day in the comment section, I’ll tell you where in the bible you can find one of these hidden stories. Of course, if you see a story without needing a hint, by all means, comment and tell us yourself. Maybe you’ll see a story, or even another bible character, that I (or the wise commentators I learn from) don’t see. For those of you who get it all figured out by the end of the week, you won’t have to come to worship on Sunday for the sermon…just the singing and the praying and the fellowship and THE MEAL 🙂

So, read John 6.1-15 to get started….Hope to hear from you.


  1. I like what you’re up to, and hope that folks will join in the game. (I already know where some of the Waldos are hiding, and I’m not telling).

  2. Thanks, Jean. Okay, here’s the first hidden story. It’s a Moses story and found in Exodus 16.

  3. Here’s the second hidden story: 2 Kings 4.42-44. Surely what Jesus did caused a flashback to this!

  4. Now this one is a hidden song written by Isaiah. Must have made the top ten in his day. Wonder if someone started humming it after their barley loaves and fish. Isaiah 25.6-10a.

  5. And there should be something in the story that reminds us of the last supper in the other 3 gospels.

  6. Jesus went up a mountain. Hmmm….did Moses ever do that?