“Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore, the name of it was called Marah…25 So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.” Exodus 15:23,25
Moses records this tremendous miracle. He tells us that when he had cast a tree that the Lord had pointed out into the bitter waters, they were made sweet. What a strange and unusual cure. One would have naturally thought that if the water was bitter something needed to be taken out, not put in.
Bitterness is a heavy burden. Whenever it first comes on us, we cry out for the waters to be emptied. But God says, “No. Don’t empty out the waters. Put something in them.” How right is our great and loving God? When we are overflowed with bitter waters, we don’t need for something to be removed. Rather, we need to see them in a new light.
The Psalmist tells us about a tree planted by the river’s edge. Truly, a tree makes a mighty difference in one’s view of the water. A single tree can change a monotonous view into a marvelous view. It can make beauty out of monotony because it adds to the old thing a new perspective.
Such is it with the problems that come into my life. Simply adding one piece of knowledge, one additional bit of understanding, can chase all of the burden and bitterness away. Think about when a little boy or girl is beginning to go to school. Many times at the school’s door they shed the waters of Marah. How can loving parents cure such bitter waters? Should they turn around and never again take that child to school? Heaven forbid! They must paint for them a picture of a mature tree. They must show them the fruit than comes from going to and learning in school. They must show them the calamity and curse that comes without having an education. The waters will become sweet when they see the tree in the water.
Think of the suffering of our Savior. Surely His suffering on Calvary was sweetened by seeing such a redeeming tree. Would that such an experience would be mine. I don’t ask that the waters recede from my world. I only pray that they would bring nourishment to my tree. May I learn that if I am to truly grow then, it will be impossible for the cup to pass from me. I will have to see the tree in my waters.
I don’t pray to know where my waters are going, but I do desire to see from where they come. I need to know that they are from my Lord. If I may but know that, I would be satisfied even though they overflow me. You see, I don’t need liberation – I need revelation. I can rejoice in the waters as long as He shines through them, on them, across them and beneath them.
“Lord, show me Your way in the sea. Reveal to me Your path in the deep. Reflect Your light through the waters. May Your music be found in the rolling waves. Let me hear You say, “It is I, do not be afraid.” For then there will be no bitterness in the brine. The waters will be sweet to me if I may but share them with You.”