A Short Study of Exodus 15:22-25

“So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.”
(Exodus 15:22-25)

God brought Israel straightway from the sea to the bitter pool of Marah.

Marah means bitter waters. It stands for every bitter experience we are forced to drink on our journey to Cannan. What makes these waters so bitter? There are many things that contribute to its pollution. Here are five of the major reasons.

First; is an ignorance of the love of God. “Love worketh no ill” (Romans 13-10) God leads only those He loves and He leads them only to such things as are necessary for their good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)

Secondly; it is an ignorance of the sufficiency of Christ that makes these waters undrinkable. Where is the pool so distasteful that His cross cannot make it sweet to the taste? What is the bitterest pool of the journey? Is it death? What is death to those who understand the cross? Is it not an open door into glory?

Thirdly; what makes the waters along our journey so bitter? It is ignorance of the glory of heaven. If we had a true sense of the glory of heaven we should not want to stay here one second longer than needful. To God’s elect it will mean perfect rest, knowledge, conscience, health and a rejoicing heart. God Himself will wipe away all tears and the Father will meet you with open arms. The true heirs, sons of God, and joint heirs with Christ will be with Him in everlasting happiness. Who believes this and yet finds his departing a bitter thing?

Fourthly: It is ignorance of the presence and power of God. Surely I go with you was God’s words to Moses. What is our Lord’s promise to us? “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) It is His presence and power that sweeten the pool and turn the polluted stream into the sweet waters of grace.

Fifthly; what makes the waters along our journey so bitter is unbelief. How bitter was the loss of Jesus to His disciples. Why was His death so bitter to them? “Oh, fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory? And beginning of Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27) It is ignorance and unbelief that makes the circumstance so bitter to drink.

Why would God lead those He loved to such a bitter unsatisfying pool? He did not lead them there to drink it, only to taste it. It is only as we taste the bitter waters of Marah that we cry out for the remedy. No sooner had they tasted and cried, God showed them a certain tree. What is this tree? It is the cross of Christ. It is the crucified Redeemer that sweetens all the bitter waters of Shur. The first lesson in the wilderness journey is that the cross is the only sweet thing in the land. It is sufficient, not only to sweeten the bitter pool but every step we take and every circumstance we encounter. In this wilderness journey we are shut up to the grace and mercy of our God. There is nothing in this place to contribute to our preservation. Everything we need our God will supply by His grace and His cross is the supreme manifestation of that. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

May God in the midst of our trouble be pleased to show us his cross and turn all our bitterness into a sweet experience of grace. 

D. Pruitt

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