Exodus 15:19 – 17:7; Matthew 22:1-33; Psalm 27:1-6; Proverbs 6:20-26
Water has much significance in the Bible. In agrarian and nomadic cultures, water was essential to everything that made up life and health. And collecting and containing water was not as simple as we moderns have made it—we have canals and pipes to bring it from far away, but the Israelites had to rely on the rain that fell from heaven or the springs of water they could find.
So as the Israelites leave Egypt, the fact that they come to a spring and it has only bitter water is life threatening. They have no alternative. Without potable water, they will all die.
They immediately assume the worst—God is out to get them and they will now die of thirst in the desert. They blame Moses and grumble against him in Exodus 15:24: “What are we to drink?”
God knew the Israelites needed water! And He who brought them out of Egypt, out of bondage, would provide water for them. He was not tricking them by providing bitter water; He was waiting for them to ask Him for the resources He would readily provide.
“Then Moses cried out to the Lord and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water and the water became sweet" (vs. 25).
I love this verse because it speaks to me of more than water. It speaks to me of bitter circumstances, circumstances that are vital to my life but that I can’t change or, believe me, I would change them! So I come to this verse and pray, “Lord, show me the piece of wood. Show me what is right at hand that can change my bitter circumstances into sweetness.” Because if the Lord was committed to making bitter water sweet for Israel, He is committed to making bitter water sweet for me. I can’t change or even affect the circumstance, but Yahweh, the One whose Name is “I AM,” can make even the most bitter event sweet.
But I have to come to Him and ask.
- Nell Sunukjian
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