I remembered this moment today as I was reading about Israel during her Exodus from Egypt. God had just dramatically delivered His people on the banks of The Red Sea. They were we so elated that they wrote and sang songs about the miraculous parting of The Red Sea and the vanquishing of their oppressors, the Egyptians.
Then scripture tells us God led them three days into the wilderness…without water. The sun beat down on their heads as their throats grew parched, their tongues clung to the roofs of their mouths and their lips began to crack. Each step they took seemed a little heavier. Then, there in the distance, someone spotted their salvation and the cry rang throughout the camp.
“Water! Water ahead!”
No doubt they ran with what little strength they had left to thrust hands, buckets, and lips beneath the surface of the stream.
Only to spew it out again. For this stream was named Marah (“bitter”). The water for which they had thirsted and waited was utterly undrinkable.
Can you imagine the heartbreak? Surely, as they turned to survey the desolate desert of Shur, with no other spring in sight, they must have wondered if God had walked right out of the room.
Exodus 15:25 says that Moses cried out to God in this impossible moment and God showed him not another water source, but a piece of wood that if thrown into the depths of Marah, would make its bitter water sweet.
Israel was saved and while God had her attention, He made her a promise-
“He said, If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Exodus 15:26
Alfred Edersheim says the lesson of Marah is this-
“in all seasons of need and seeming impossibility the Lord would send deliverance straight from above, and that Israel might expect this during their wilderness journey.” Alfred Edersheim, Bible History of the Old Testament
Even, perhaps most especially, in the darkest of night when it seemed all was lost… For that moment when it seems God has walked right out of the room is often the very moment He is most actively preparing our deliverance and transforming bitter into sweet.