Exodus 15:22-25 - “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?" Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”
It’s not always obvious from just looking at something that something is wrong. Take me, for instance - I am sure my husband will echo that thought – I look fine. I am not pale or wan. I haven’t fainted or spewed up. I look robust and healthy.
If you could just peel away my skin, roll it up carefully (there are enough wrinkles already) and lay it to one side. If you could unhook all the tendons and muscles and hang them over the back of a chair. Leave the heart alone. I don’t think that is where the problem lies – (although God might not agree with me on that one!) I’d rather you didn’t touch the lungs and liver. Head south – somewhere around the abdomen. Try untangling the intestines. Pretend it’s the end of the toothpaste tube and squeeze gently. Ouch! I did say gently!
It’s not a pretty sight! All is not well in digestive system. I have eaten too much, too often and the belly is revolting! (Revolting as in the verb, not in the adjective!) I don’t think it is just the quantity of food that has been consumed. I have a feeling that it may also be the quality. I have eaten something that seriously disagrees with me.
As I said before – you can’t tell by looking at my outside that anything is wrong, but, believe me, having lived with my insides for a better part of a week, I know for sure that there is something not right!
Moses and the Israelites couldn’t tell by looking at the water that there was something wrong. It looked like water. It probably didn’t have a suspicious looking scum floating about on the top of it. It took someone to sip it to discover that there was a problem.
“A piece of wood” was the solution to Moses. Thrown into it transformed something bitter into something sweet. The story ends with God revealing something about himself – “for I am the LORD, who heals you." What is it that I can throw into my digestive system that will transform it? I have tried indigestion tablets and aspirins by the pocketful with little success.
Maybe it is time to toss in a bit of wood – a reminder that the death and resurrection of Jesus cures all ills – the physical ones, the emotional ones and the spiritual ones!