“So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.”
Exodus 15:22-27 NKJV
My time before Jesus was bitter. I struggled with every aspect of life, as I went about with little hope. I had few friends, and many of the people who tolerated me, regularly mistreated me in the hopes that I would go away. Bitter would be the best description for the general tenor of my life.
I used food and drink to ease my suffering, to wash away the bitterness that so enveloped my existence. Nothing worked, and I would ususally feel worse than I did before, as I contended with hangovers and weight gain which only added to my problems.
As I am working through the Book of Exodus, I came to the account of the miracle of the waters at Marah. I am using my old bible again this year, and I had a lot of notes in this passage. Above the passage I scrawled the words “lessons of life.”
The children of Israel were in the wilderness and had a stretch where they had no water. When they did finally find some, they found that it was bitter to the taste. I am reminded of life without Jesus, wandering thirsty for anything that quench me and bring comfort.
I was certainly dry and parched. Whenever I sought to quench my thirst, I found that my choices lead to nothing but more bitterness, and did not satisfy.
The Lord showed Moses a tree. He cast the tree into the waters and the waters became sweet. It is wonderful foreshadowing of Jesus’ work on the cross.
The Lord brought that latter tree, the cross, covered with the Lord shed blood, into my turbulent, bitter waters and made them sweet.
In the blessing of the cross, He has brought joy in sadness, comfort in time of loss, and His ever present love.
He has also brought testing, as life has built up faith in me. He has shown me that He will povide for me, and bring my healing. I am reminded daily that He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider, and Jehovah Rapha, He who heals.
Brothers and sisters, let us remember that the cross of Christ is the only thing that can bring sweetness and drive bitterness from our lives. If you are struggling with bitterness, know that Jesus can take it away. Relinquish the circumstances to the Lord.
If you struggle is with people, lift them up to the Father, that He make what ever changes that are needed. As I have done this, I have found that God’s ways are not my ways. Often He has changed my heart, and made corrections in me.
I love the end of the passage. Days before, they were thirsty and parched. God gave them sample of His miracle working power, then He tested them, gave them comandment, and His assurances if them kept them.
He then took them to a place where there was water in abundance, and shade from the sun. Often the Lord takes us through trial, to prepare us for abundance. I find that I appreciate the blessings more when I have come through trial.
Here we also see a great picture of those who are sent, as we have twelve wells of water, representing the twelve apostles, yet to come, and seventy palm trees, representing the ministry of those who come after.
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Luke 10:1-2 NKJV
Let us be palm trees as we bringing the cool, refreshing shade of the Gospel to people in the scorching hot sun of sin. Let us be wells of water, bringing refreshment and satisfaction to a dry and thirsty land. We are vessels of living water.
“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.””
John 4:13-14 NKJV
We are nearing the last days, let us be faithful to share the Good News while there is still time. Many are caught in the throes of bitterness, and are in need of the sweetness that salvation in Christ can bring.