“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?'” – Exodus 15:22-24
It’s interesting that right after God showed up for the Israelites in a mighty way – by parting the Red Sea – He led them into a desert where they travelled for 3 whole days without water.
Imagine the irony – a great body of water stood between the Israelites and their freedom. Then God performed a miracle, parted the waters and then led them to a place where there was no water.
Then, when they finally got to a place where there was water, it was too bitter to drink!
Isn’t that how life is sometimes?
Has God ever opened a way for you only to lead you to a place of great need immediately after? Like despite hundreds or even thousands of applicants, you are miraculously accepted into a program, only to realize that you don’t have the funds after all.
What’s even tougher is when the very thing you so desperately need is within reach, but too bitter for you. Like after struggling to complete your studies, the only job offer you get after months of sending off applications requires you to compromise your faith.
God is testing you. Marah is a place that – after wandering for a long time in a proverbial desert – seems promising but fails to deliver what you need. It’s something you placed your hope in but it left you disappointed.
“Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine”
The Israelites were led by Moses, and Moses by God. Not only did God transform the water to make it fit for drinking, but after testing them, He led them to a place where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees! The Israelites needed water at Marah, but at Elim, after the test, God gave them water and shade – a bonus! And they camped there.
It’s just like God to throw in a bonus and give you more than you asked for.
Marah is a testing ground. God has a purpose for every Marah in your life He leads you to. Whatever you desperately need at Marah, press through and endure the test because God has immeasurably more waiting for you at Elim.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” – Ephesians 3:20
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
Vimbai E. is a writer, journalist, ghostwriter and the founder of The Weight She Carries. With hundreds of articles publishing online, in print and for broadcast, her love of language and storytelling shines through every piece of writing that bears her name.