Exodus 15:23 -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.
The children of Israel found themselves in an unwelcome place. They had been wandering in the desert for three days unable to find water. And when they finally find water, it is undrinkable! It’s bitter! Can you imagine how frustrating this could be? Maybe you haven’t been looking for water, but maybe you have been looking for something else, and when you found it, it was not what you expected! Some women spend a lot of time looking for a husband, and in desperation they find one, but it wasn’t what they were expecting. Some look for a high paying job, and when they get it, it wasn’t what they were expecting! It happens to the best of us!
If you read the fourteen chapters before this verse, you can well understand that for the people of Israel, this is just another disappointment in a whole list of disappointments. Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt this way?
They were slaves for over 400 years under Egyptian rule and hard taskmasters. When Moses came to deliver them, instead of things getting better, they got worst. When they got to the Red Sea, the Egyptians came up behind them and they were sure they would be slaughtered. And typical of human nature, they were probably feeling “If it’s not one thing, it’s another”. Can you relate? I’m sure that you can! I know I can relate to this on a couple levels!
But God! In the midst of their situations, God was mindful of them and working things out for their good. They couldn’t see it at the time, but it was happening nevertheless. And guess what, I can testify to that truth, that in those frustrating moments, those times of disappointment, He was working on my behalf, and He is probably working on yours!
While they were in bondage, Moses was born. And even though it took him 80 years to get to the place where God could use him, God was still working on the deliverance of His people! They didn’t see it! They didn’t know freedom was on the way, but God was working towards their deliverance!
While Pharaoh was constantly saying no to Moses and God; God was demonstrating His power to deliver; and when He did, they came out of Egypt with great wealth. The tables had turned. The ones who had mistreated them so severely was severely dealt with by God! The ones who had labored and received no wages in return, left with the spoils of Egypt. When I read the Word of God and see this type of thing, I am encouraged, because I know that if I trust Him with my disappointments, He will turn them around for my benefit!
When they got to the Red Sea, (after having been led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night) God parted the Red Sea and they crossed over on dry land. How spectacular is that! I can’t help but think that at this point they should have been fully persuaded that God was on their side. At this point, after being led by a cloud by day, fire by night, and having the Red Sea opened for them, they should have been able to trust Him for something as simple as water. But that was not the case!
When they arrived in the Wilderness of Shur, and for three days they couldn’t find water, they were not happy! They were upset!! Doesn’t that just sound like people. No matter what God does for us, if He doesn’t do that “one” thing, we can get an attitude with Him real quick!! Instead of remembering His goodness towards us, we can only concentrate on our disappointments and hurts, just like the people of Israel!
Exodus 15:24 – And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
Wouldn’t you think that after all of the miracles before the Exodus and the latest miracle of crossing the Red Sea, that coming to bitter water would cause them to look forward to what God was about to do instead of complaining? Hind sight is twenty twenty!
How many times have you and I seen the hand of God move on our behalf? For me, I have been healed of paralysis, one of our daughters was healed of abnormal seizure activity, another was healed of larynx Malaysia, while yet another was healed of “the issue of blood”, to name a few. Many times He has provided finances, jobs at just the right time, favor in a situation, protection from an incident or accident… and the list of His faithfulness to us can go on and on! How about you? What has He done for you through the years? Any healings? Any financial breakthroughs? Any protections?
And yet, just like the children of Israel, when something happens contrary to what we expect, we find ourselves dealing with bitter waters. I know, we don’t like to admit that we can become bitter with the Heavenly Father, but it happens all too frequently.
Bitterness is a terrible place to camp out at. The bitter water was good for nothing, and so are bitter people. Life can at times be filled with disappointments, setbacks, and even heartaches. God knows this! And so does Jesus. Didn’t He say in John 16:33-“ In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”? Jesus didn’t say, we would have tribulations and at this time He understands how we can become embittered. Nope! He said, “be of good cheer”! What kind of advice is that? That’s the kind of advice One gives when He knows the Father!
In other words, we are not to allow these things to stump us, to cause us to become bitter. We are to understand that He overcame that we might overcome! We are to realize that the One who delivered us before can deliver us again. We are to trust that the One who provided will provide again! There is no situation that is too big for the God we serve. There is no problem that He cannot solve! There is no circumstance that He cannot overcome! He is God! He has not lost His ability to bring about a miracle in our life!
If you are stuck at the waters of Marah, feeling bitter about life, it is time to change your location. Time to move from this place of bitterness to your oasis. Bitter water is not for drinking, so don’t drink it! Repent of your bitterness and ask God to give you life giving water, so you’ll never thirst again! Then watch Him do it! Wonderful Jesus!