The Marah and Israelite – Bible Study
“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.” (Exo 15:23)
After 400 yrs of slavery under evil men in Egypt, Israelite people finally exiled from bondage of Egypt, as free nation and with new wings of freedom! What a great joy overshadowed the people, everywhere happy sounds of tambourine, like a post rainfall rivers, with its full flow, moving towards its newly called hope, the promise land of Canaan. After the three days of long journey through the wilderness of Shur, children of Israelite began be in want of water, their tired body, prickly heat of wilderness, burden that they carried all add more impact on their health and mind, finally they found place of water, and they run and drew water out of it to drink, guess what? Shocking news, they have arrived to a placed called, Marah! Where water is bitter, like a passing cloud, their happiness & faith all shuttered, they were under tremendous pressure, how are we going to travel further, how is it possible to drink this bitter water and continue the journey?
A PLACED CALLED MARAH
According to JFB Commentary, Marah is almost universally believed to be what is now called Howarah, in Wady Amarah, about thirty miles from the place where the Israelites landed on the eastern shore of the Red Sea – a distance quite sufficient for their march of three days. There is no other perennial spring in the intermediate space. The water still retains its ancient character, and has a bad name among the Arabs, who seldom allow their camels to partake of it.
It didn’t take much time to bring agitation among children of Israel, Exodus 15:24 says, and the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” The pendulum of human weakness alarmed their faith to leap under bitter waters of Marah.
Dictionary gives following meaning to the word “Bitter”, 1) having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant. 2) Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation 3) Difficult to accept, admit, or bear, 4) Severe grief, anguish, or disappointment.
Well, have you ever tasted anything bitter? What was your immediate response? Here is the woman I would like to introduced, who tasted harsh bitter things in her life, there was no part in her life where bitterness are not found, in fact for this reason she desired her name to be called exactly very place name called, Marah! (Ruth 1:20)
In a long or short journey of everyone’s life, we often knowingly or unknowingly arrive to a place called, Marah! None by choice we arrive here but the earthly journey makes everyone to pass through, note not all of them successfully passed thou. Many were chocked by its strong impact and made them to surrender their life under it, we know it because we have seen their bold written label; RIP!
Some are simply dipped lightly into bitter life but there are people out there, whose life is socked under it, shown no mercy, spared no part of the life, we could find such heart breaking testimonies from the life of Job in the Holy Bible, moreover if you ever think, your life is most bitterest, I would strongly suggest you read his life story, that would bring great comfort to your soul.
The story of job tells it all; how unfair is the life, how uncertain is the goods & possession of this life? For about seven days he didn’t open his mouth, bitterness of life paralyzed him, Job 17:14 explain his most bitter life. “if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’”
Corruption addressed here is grave, “thou art my father”, “to the worm” ” my mother” meaning he is near to it, figures he was so sad and sorrowful, he was so diseased, so wretched, so full of sores and of corruption (Job 7:5), he speaks himself as son of grave and close family member to tomb.
We never know in life when and how we will arrive in Marah! (A period of Bitter life), the course of the life will sail towards it with its own style and time. Dear Brothers & sister in our dear lord, have you arrived to the placed of Marah? I understand, how it tastes, How it feels, how it hurts, how it burdens, but I want to tell you one thing for sure, If there is no God, I’m needless to say, we are doomed at Marah, no hope remains, a cup of poison would have been a great remedy for us, and our story could have ended likewise. But it isn’t true! Bible says, there is God and he Loves you! This living God was very much presented at the place of Marah, and thus says the Holy Scripture, the Lord didn’t forsake them at Marah!
Exodus 15:25 is interesting verse, where the Lord guides Moses to a tree, which would solve their bitter water, “And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them,” (Exo 15:25)
We don’t know much about this log but there are various opinion about its nature; some say it had sweet nature yet Hebrew writer and other renown authors supports, the tree was bitter itself, and therefore the miracle was the greater. And yet others say, for instance, The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem say that, when Moses prayed, “the Word of the Lord showed him the tree ארדפני ardiphney, on which he wrote the great and precious name of (Jehovah), and then threw it into the waters, and the waters thereby became sweet”
Whatever way, ultimately it is the hand of the Lord that healed his people, his children and their possession from the wilderness destruction, what happened at Marah and other places in Old Testament is mere initial, foretaste, temporal and symbolic act, but the perfect and greater healing is yet to come in due season.
But New Testament proclaims, that the almighty God, who turn bitter water into sweet water at Marah! Finally decide to heal the people of the world, from their wretchedness, bitterness and from the fist of sin at,
A PLACE CALLED CALVARY
Just like Moses, in fact far better than Moses, God commanded his son to carry out the mission, with all submission and with great passion, he took the most bitterest log of sin over his shoulder to heal you and me from our wretchedness & bitterness he marched towards Calvary where blood thirty men awaiting to satisfy their violent heart, where salvation planned for the ends of the earth, where bitter water of sin and punishment of sin is awaiting, there he marched, Made himself so bitter by suffering, Like log fell from heaven to earth’s bitter water, brought forth healing, and turned every bitter life into sweeter life, amen. And in First Corinthian 1: 18 says, It’s none other than our Jesus Christ who become a mighty powerful tree of salvation to all those who believe in him!
Now every bitter life can be made sweet by log of calvary, where the blood of his son Jesus Christ shed for you and for me to forgive our sins. So I boldly say to all those are at Marah! Come, come to Calvary, here your bitter life is transformed!
Isa. 52:3 says, you don’t need money to be redeemed, and Prov. 23:11; Jer. 50:34 says, know ye your redeemer is mighty to plead for you and deliver.
It is true that the Lord’s people arrived at marah, they were not forsaken, nor left to die in wilderness instead Lord saved them by his miraculous power, moreover it is wonderful to see in the scripture, God didn’t told them to other place for clean water, but he made bitter water into clean water to drink, we could see pattern of God’s restoration power all through the scripture, for instance, when a servant lost his rent axe, God didn’t give new one but with mighty power he restored the same(2 Kings 6:1-7), likewise restored the same lost coin, sheep and lost son(Luke 15), this mean, where ever you lost your life, he is able to restore it through his son Jesus Christ.
If you think your life had become too hard to move on anymore, then remember there is healing log for you, just like one god provide for moses to heal the bitter water, that healing log is our Lord Jesus Christ! Lord God choose mount of calvary to heal the bitterness of this earthly life through his son, therefore now come, come to the place of Calvary, where your divine healing adobe is, where all your bitter water made sweeter by the power of cross!
A voice in the wilderness cry;
Come, come all those who choked by bitterness of life, come with open arms to the cross of Calvary, a heavenly log is thrown In this evil world, to heal the sinners from their pathetic way & doomful fate! Come, Come is the heavenly call, come drink from the well of Christ, let your bitter life turn into joyful life through his son Jesus Christ.
(Written by Pastor Jayasheelan.R for Sunday Service on 14/4/13)