“For three days they travelled 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)”.

Ex 15:22, 23 NIV

Water is essential to life. And we all know how wonderful a glass of cold water tastes when one is very thirsty. The weather in the Middle East is very hot. And the air is dry – very dry. The bottled water industry does a roaring trade round that corner of the Mediterranean.

But in Moses’ day there was no such industry. And the lack of water was their first problem after three days’ walk. They were going to be dependent on what they could find for the whole jour- ney. But after three days there was water – bitter water. The place was even called Marah which means bitter. For the Israelites, the joy of the rescue from Egypt had given way to bitter water, thirst and questioning of God.

Many a Christian disciple has set off into the desert of a humdrum, everyday, existence expecting ongoing joy and then found that the initial joy doesn’t carry them far. The going soon gets tough and one is tempted to question what God is up to. This is perhaps a parable for Christian pilgrims. Expect hardship and trial. That is what life is made up of. It matters not whether you are fifteen or fifty. And your faith does not enable you to duck round the Marahs of life. It may enable you to hang on, to endure, and to look forward to the fulfilment of a promise that life will bring blessings as well. The rule is “Trust Jesus, even in the toughest time”. Then keep on trusting.


Lord, help me to look beyond present problems to blessings ahead.