The LORD delivered the
children of Israel out the bondage in Egypt with His
mighty hand. What a demonstration of His sovereign
power as Israel walked on dry land across the Dead
Sea with the waters held back like a wall on either
side. When the walls of water came back together on
the Egyptian soldiers, it was total disaster. Israel
looked back and saw the dead soldiers on the
seashore. "When Israel saw the great power which the
Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people
feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and
in His servant Moses" (Exodus 14:31). After they had
crossed the Red Sea, they broke forth singing the
first recorded song of redemption in the Bible
(Exodus 15). Compare it with the last song in the
Bible, the victory song of redemption (Revelation
15). The result of God's deliverance was fear of the
Yahweh and great rejoicing in Him. "The LORD is my
strength and song, and He has become my salvation .
. ." (Exodus 15:2). "Sing to the LORD, for He is
highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has
hurled into the sea" (v. 21).
Three days later in the
wilderness "the people grumbled at Moses" (v. 24).
How sad. They went from the bondage of slavery in a
foreign land to the thrill and excitement of freedom
and praise to the LORD God. Then they were overcome
by their old way as slaves looking at life. They
allowed their circumstances to dictate their
attitude toward their leader.
Who led them to Marah?
They were led there by the Pillar of Cloud (13:22).
Their murmuring against Moses was, in reality,
murmuring against Yahweh! What was the cause of
their murmuring? Their eyes were no longer upon God.
Three days into the
wilderness they found no water. And when they came
to Marah, the water was so bitter that they couldn't
drink it (v. 22-23).
THE LORD YOUR HEALER
God uses the "marahas" in
our lives to remove all our false securities one by
one so we will trust in Him alone.
Sin also makes our waters
in life become bitter as gall. What makes your
experiences so bitter and distasteful, blasted and
filled with broken promises? Do you experience
wounds that ache, and injuries that fester and
infect the memory? Do you find yourself in the midst
of a hot desert and the bitter waters of Marah will
not sooth your parched life?
The people in the
wilderness of Sin grumbled at Moses, saying, "What
shall we drink?" (v. 24). They failed to reason that
if Yahweh can hold back the walls of water in the
Red Sea can He not provide water.
Moses "cried out to the
Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw
it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.
There He made for them a statute and regulation, and
there He tested them." God said, "If you will give
earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and
do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His
commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put
none of the diseases on you which I have put on the
Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer. Then
they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of
water and seventy date palms, and they camped there
beside the waters" (vv. 26-27). It was nothing short
of a miracle. God answered Moses prayer (v. 25). The
wood thrown into the water was symbolic of God
working a miracle in the water. There was nothing
magic in the tree limb. God sweetened the bitter
waters. Again, Moses and the people could say, "I
saw God do it!"
God revealed Himself at
Marah as Yahweh Ropecha, "I the LORD, am your
healer." The word for "healer" means "to restore, to
heal, to cure, or a physician." He not only heals
physically, but morally and spiritually. "The LORD
your God heals." The word means "to mend," like the
mending of a torn garment. It has the idea of
repairing as being reconstructed and to cure as a
diseased person is restored to health. "The LORD is
We all come to life with
a need of healing. Our waters become bitter as gall.
"Where will you be stricken again, as you continue
in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the
whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even
to the head there is nothing sound in it, only
bruises, welts and raw wounds, not pressed out or
bandaged, nor softened with oil" (Isaiah 1:5, 6).
The LORD says, "The heart is more deceitful than all
else and is desperately sick; who can understand
it?" (Jer. 17:9). The Apostle Paul says, "For all
have sinned and come short of the glory of God"
How poignant are the
questions in Jeremiah 8:21-22. "For the brokenness
of the daughter of my people I am broken; I mourn,
dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in
Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has
not the health of the daughter of my people been
restored?" Resin was derived from a special tree
which grew in Gilead that was known for its healing
properties. It was a very costly and therefore
precious resin, in which fifty or sixty drops were
extracted from a tree a day. It possessed marvelous
curative properties that cured poison venom (v. 17).
It cleansed, soothed and healed and it was readily
Is there one who can
bring healing to our broken lives? Have we learned
how to make the bitter waters in our lives sweet?
What changes the bitter experiences of your life in
to the sweet fragrance of life?
JESUS, OUR GREAT
At the beginning of His
ministry Jesus opened the scroll to Isaiah 61 and
read Himself into His messianic office. He read
aloud in the synagogue at Nazareth, "The Spirit of
the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to
preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to
proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of
sight to the blind, To set free those who are
oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the
Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).
What did Jesus do for
over three years? The disciples of John the Baptizer
asked that question. They reported back to John,
"the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are
raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to
them" (Matthew 11:5). The Gospel writer Matthew
said, "Jesus was going throughout all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the
gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of
disease and every kind of sickness among the people.
The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and
they brought to Him all who were ill, those
suffering with various diseases and pains,
demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed
Jesus treated all men as
spiritual in essence. One day some men tore a roof
up where Jesus was teaching in the room below, and
let their friend down on a pallet attached to ropes.
Jesus saw their faith and said to the paralytic, "My
son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5). The
Pharisees hopped on it and said, "Who can forgive
sins but God alone?" (v. 7). They were correct! "The
Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"
(v. 10). Jesus saw men as sinners in need of
spiritual healing. As the God of grace He reaches
down to us and brings us to the tree of healing. He
knows the human heart just as He knows us
individually. He deals with us as spiritual in
essence, and He has never met a hopeless case.
Jesus is both the tree
and the waters. "He (Christ) bore our sins in His
body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and
live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were
healed" (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus alone brings spiritual
healing to our broken lives. The tree of the cross
is the only balm that can sooth our broken hearts
and cleanse us from our sins. The cross of Christ
sweetens the Marah's of life. He turns the cross
into the tree that gives life.
One hot day in Samaria a
woman met Jesus at Jacob's well. Jesus asked her for
a drink of water since she had come with a rope on
her bucket. In the conversations that ensued, Jesus
offered her His living waters. "If you knew the gift
of God, and who it is who says to you, "Give Me a
drink," you would have asked Him, and He would have
given you living water." She said to Him, "Sir, You
have nothing to draw with and the well is deep;
where then do You get that living water?" (John
4:10-11). Jesus responded, "Everyone who drinks of
this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of
the water that I will give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I will give him will become in
him a well of water springing up to eternal life"
The LORD who heals in the
Old Testament is Jesus, the great Physician in the
When we get to heaven
there will be no more crying there. "He will wipe
away every tear from their eyes; and there will no
longer be any death; there will no longer be any
mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have
passed away. . . Then He said to me, "It is done. I
am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the
end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the
spring of the water of life without cost"
(Revelation 21:4, 6). Come to Him and drink of the
sweet waters of eternal life while there is still
time. The last invitation in the Bible closes with
these words: "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.'
And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the
one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take
the water of life without cost" (22:17). Will you
not come and drink from His fountain?
15:22-27 Sweet Water of Life
Christ in the Old Testament