Barley: (n) a hardy cereal that has coarse bristles extending from the ears. It is widely cultivated, chiefly for use in brewing and stockfeed.Dictionary B

Barley is the slum of grains.

It’s plentiful, cheap and normally gets fed to pigs and other creatures who grunt.

That’s a very important thing to understand.

Religious people who read the Good Book usually do it as an exercise in their faith–exercise in the sense that they believe that in turning the pages and mouthing the words, they have done something spiritual. They often feel no compunction to understand what they read nor dig deeper to get the context of the script of the scriptures.

So the average religious Christian will tell you that Jesus fed the 5,000 with loaves and fishes, and never understand that the bread happened to be barley.

What’s the significance?

Well, the five little barley loaves–which were probably each no bigger than a baseball–were part of a lunch for a little boy who obviously lived in poverty. Everything about his provision was small: tiny loaves, made of cheap barley, with two small fishes. (I don’t know how miniscule these fishes were, but somebody felt it was important to point out that they were dwarfed.)

Even though the Good Book tells us a miracle happened, and 5,000 men ended up munching on the expansion of this little boy’s lunch, at no time were the barley loaves changed into more expensive grain.

Everybody ate the same poor boy’s lunch.

But they ate their fill–and because the lunch was provided and people had compassion, the need was met.

Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out if people will be happy when their needs are met, or if they’re only happy if their needs are met in a specific, prosperous way.

Jesus multiplied the cheap lunch for everybody to eat. He did not improve the quality … and everybody ended up having a plentiful poor man’s supper.

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