the log that makes bitter water sweet*

the log that makes bitter water sweet

22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 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, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” (Exodus 15:22-26, ESV; emphases added)

They were in the wilderness for three days. Three days without water. Then Marah. Marah had water. But the water could not be consumed because it was bitter.  The Israelites responded by grumbling against Moses. Moses responded by crying out to the LORD. The LORD showed him what He would use, through Moses, to make the bitter water sweet.

Are you there?
In the wilderness?
Walking through a difficult season?

You may have accepted that there is no way around.
Only through.

Or you were moving toward acceptance.
Determined not to complain.
Or at least to complain less.
Trusting that things would not get worse.

But now you are at “Marah.”
And you realize that you were wrong.
Things can get worse.

For Marah is a place of bitter water.
And from all you can experience through your natural senses,
there is nothing here that will refresh.
Nothing that will make the wilderness bearable.
There is nothing life-giving in this place.

In our Marahs, we have two choices: grumble like the Israelites; or, like Moses, cry out to the LORD. He is the only One who knows how, and is both willing and able, to transform what is bitter into something sweet. He has the “log” which, when brought into that which is bitter, transforms it. The “log” is His Word. The “log” is His love.  The “log” is His grace. The “log” is His power all wrapped up in His finished work of redemption through the Cross (Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, and resurrection). We can cry out to Him to in our Marahs and He will transform that which is bitter into something life giving . . .  even when that which is bitter is us. He says to us as He did to the Israelites, “I am the Lord, your healer.” Will you allow Him to heal you?


*This post is a revised version of a post published on this blog on February 20, 2017.