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Exodus 15:22-27, Bitter Water Made Sweet

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.
— Exodus 15:27

NL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, October 2, 2018

 desert oasis

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff


The people of Israel were weary from centuries in slavery, a dramatic release to freedom, and now they were wandering in a wilderness they didn’t know, learning for the very first time to be self-sufficient. It’s no wonder they were scared — no, terrified.

After wandering for some time, probably thirsty and hungry, they came upon a pool of water. At last! But the water was bitter, and they couldn’t drink it. Of course they felt defeated.

But God didn’t bring them out to let them flounder. God instructed Moses to drop in a piece of wood to turn it drinkable. Then God reiterated a covenant God had been making with God’s people over and over again. Be faithful to God, as God is faithful to them.

They continued on, and God magnified God’s greatness. Not only did God bring them to a place with fresh water, but it had twelve fresh springs — and seventy palm trees for shade and comfort. Yes, God would outdo God’s self once again.


Narrative Lectionary Daily Reading:

Exodus 15:22-27

Then Moses ordered Israel to 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. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” He 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. There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the water.

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