“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 twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water” (Exodus 15:22-27).
Water is your best friend. I’ve heard my wife and daughter say those very words more than once, and it’s true … water is your best friend, physically and spiritually.
I didn’t used to care much for water. I preferred to drink a certain diet cola after I left it sitting in the refrigerator … opened … for at least a day. I know it sounds terrible, but I like the acquired taste. There’s no fizz, so it’s not as bad on your stomach, and it does taste good … to me.
When my doctor said I need to cut way back on this bad habit (4-6 per day) and drink water instead, I made an adjustment. I now drink one of these in the morning and the rest of the day I drink several glasses of ice water. I’ve actually grown to like water with ice … not so much without ice.
If I’m outside working in the hot sun, nothing satisfies like water; not a cola, not tea or anything else, just cool water.
Now why am I rambling on about all this? Merely to make a point. Our body knows it needs water, lots of it. When we listen to it (our body), we are much healthier and there is even a bonus; our skin is not as wrinkled, so they say anyway. (Just thought I would throw that in, especially for the ladies.)
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, several thousand people got thirsty in that desert region quickly. I’ve read anywhere from about 600,000 to 2.4 million. Either way you cut it, that’s a bunch of thirsty Israelites. Here’s the thing. There was more than just physical thirst involved here.
From the constant belly-aching, nagging, whining and threats that Moses had to deal with throughout the trip, it is obvious Israel had forgotten God, except for wanting Him to pull their butts out of the fire – in slavery in Egypt, when they were thirsty, when Pharaoh came after them, when they were hungry, and ad infinitum.
Here at Marah they thought their problem was physical thirst, but their real problem was a lack of spiritual thirst. They were thirsty for H2O, but they didn’t have a thirst for God, other than wanting Him to appease their discomfort. One of their own, the apostle Paul, said many years later:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
That’s a far cry from the belly-aching Moses had to deal with from Paul’s ancestors. When reading the book of Exodus, I always scratch my head (figuratively) and say something like, “What’s wrong with these idiots?” Over and over again they show their desire for the earthly things but no desire for spiritual things. Finally, it came down to only Joshua and Caleb (and their families) of that generation being allowed to enter the Promised Land. All the others died off during 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, just going around in circles. When the 40 years were up, their children were allowed to enter the land their parents never saw.
I believe we have reached that plateau of ignorance in our day. There is no thirst for the spiritual. Oh, you betcha, we cling to what the world has to offer but have no room for God … unless we’re sick, broke, jobless, dying, or whatever. We’re just going around in circles like the wandering Israelites in the desert.
The Bible tells us that just before Christ’s return there will be a great apostasy.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
“Falling away” is a falling away from the faith which is ‘apostasy.’ How long will the apostasy of our day be allowed to continue before Jesus removes His Church and allows the “man of sin” to come on the scene? I don’t know, but I do believe we are living on borrowed time. Any day Jesus could call out to His bride (the Church), “Come up here.” Millions upon multiplied millions of people are risking their souls for a drop of water offered by the world instead of the Water of the Word, the Son of God, freely given by God.
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1).
I’ve always loved this verse. It has God’s grace written all over it. Salvation cannot be bought. It is free to all who will come to Jesus Christ to be saved. Jesus paid dearly for it.
“But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins” (Romans 5:15-16).
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html