(Exodus 15:22-26 NLT) “Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.””
The nation of Israel had just experienced one of the greatest miracles in the Bible. Yahweh had parted the Sea so they could pass and then used the same water to drown the elite Egyptian soldiers. I have heard people try to say a better interpretation of the Red Sea would be the Reed Sea. This is a big deal to them because the Reed Sea is about knee deep in many places. I don’t think this is accurate but, sure, why not? It is still a miracle because that would mean God used knee deep water to drown 600 elite warriors riding chariots. Wow.
After this great miracle, they quickly began to complain to Moses because the water they had found on their next road stop was bitter. The actually wording there means it was salty. Even to this day the Arabs in the local region consider the waters of Marah to be the least desirable of the area. Here’s the thing though. What if they Israelites had simply dealt with what they were given instead of complaining? I’m going to use my own imagination here but see what you think…
If they had of simply taken what God had given them without complaining, drinking the salty water would have tasted bad and probably caused them all to have a bad case of … least just say ‘stomach issues.’ However, after that, the taste of Egypt would have been out of their system. For years after this, the Hebrews continued to complain to Moses about how they missed the food of Egypt. If they had gone through this short season of uncomfortableness that taste of Egypt would have been gone. However, they did not do this. They complained. God used Moses to work a miracle but still.
What can we learn from this? What if God sometimes leads us to uncomfortable places not to make us unhappy but to do more than we realize? What if He is allowing a season of pain for something that will be helpful in the future? Does this mean we should always pray for deliverance but trust God when He does not always bring it the way we thought? Think about it. God gave them what they wanted but they still had to drink the water. It just no longer had the fuller healing they should have experienced. Just something to think about.