We need to stop complaining and cry out to God, depending on him to meet our most important needs of this journey. That we don’t just rely on spiritual leaders to connect us with God but rather we are all responsible for having our own relationship with him.
Bitter Water at Marah
Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).
Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.
It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”
After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found 12 springs and 70 palm trees. They camped there beside the water.
So Moses/God led them into the desert for three days without water. Experts say that in a warm dry environment like that, three days would be the upper limit of survival without water. So these people would be very near death when they came upon this watering hole. And imagine their distress when they found out it was not drinkable. They would have thought for sure they were going to die now.
Again they show little faith, but even though they had seen miracles before, I think we need to give them some slack. I don’t think any of us would expect continuous miracles time and again.
But the main point here is that none of them even pray, they just complain to Moses who then calls upon the Lord and the Lord gives him an action to obey, and God solves the problem through his servant’s prayer and obedience.
They get a drink at Marah and continue on their journey being told that if they let God govern he will be their healer. Every step of the way, Israel struggled with letting God govern them. This is a challenge in the church of the NT as well. Anyway, they come to Elim, which is a beautiful oasis with 12 springs and 70 palm trees.
Twelve Springs: 12 represents divine government or foundation; 70 Palm Trees: 70 represents a combination of two perfect numbers 7 and 10, and often represents the people of God.
We learned today that as we journey, we need to stop complaining and cry out to God, depending on him to meet our most important needs of this journey. And we learned that this whole church thing is a team sport, that we don’t just rely on the leaders to have a relationship with God and let them hang out to dry. We are all part of the priesthood of believers and we are all responsible for having our own relationship with God.
Scott Mensch is the pastor of South Fairbanks Assembly. Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.