Bitter Water

In Exodus 15 there’s an incident that carries weight for today. Israel has come to the springs of Marah. The water is bitter. The people turn to Moses. They challenge him and the complaint voraciously. “Why have you brought us here?” They press Moses to the point of mutiny. They are furious.

Some commentators believe this bitter water was a laxative, and anyone who drank this “bitter” water made many trips to the outhouse!

Moses is shown a branch of a common tree. The Lord speaks a word of ďirection he’s to throw the branchaďirectly into the spring. It’ll cure the water, and make it sweet.

It seems to me that Jesus’ awful cross cures the bitterness we absorb as we make our way through life.

His “Irresponsible” Love

“Nothing in the church makes people in the church more angry than grace. It’s ironic: we stumble into a party we weren’t invited to and find the uninvited standing at the door making sure no other uninviteds get in.

Then a strange phenomenon occurs: as soon as we are included in the party because of Jesus’ irresponsible love, we decide to make grace “more responsible” by becoming self-appointed Kingdom Monitors, guarding the kingdom of God, keeping the riffraff out (which, as I understand it, are who the kingdom of God is supposed to include.)” 

— Michael Yaconelli


Often there can be a frustrated hostility simmering just below the veneer of a religious person.  It can be seen in sudden outbursts of irritation that seems to come from nowhere.  It is often encountered when they feel the ‘spigot of grace’ has been open too long, too much water is being used, and the people are getting a little wild in showing their enthusiasm.  “They’re acting like ungodly pagans.”

Regulating the watering hole becomes a compulsion, and a necessary work of the “Church.” Jesus’ love is for all is a confirmed fact, but we must have some standards of decorum and appropriate levels of conduct and respect.  “We the keepers-of-the- spigot are called to take some responsibility in this,” we end up saying.

Celebratory shouts of joy are simply not acceptable.  Dancing in the mud is way ‘out-of-line.’  But there is an outrageous element to grace.  It is preposterous and disturbing.  It is untamed and wild, and not at all logical.  “We definitely prefer the thinking side of our faith,” we say.

Judas rebuked Jesus as he was getting a foot massage from the ungodly woman.  She had no business to be there in the first place.  And secondly, she has just poured this incredible fortune on the feet of Jesus!  Judas said, “way out-of-line!”  But there is a irrepressible love that always pushes its way forward.

For those of us who have first experienced God’s love and grace we must keep an alert out for our hard hearts.  First, He is in charge of how the water is utilized.  Second, [and we MUST believe this] when a man or woman connect with the water, there can be spontaneous displays of joy!

The dance of grace

We must change our thinking, e.g. repent, and insist that we ‘cease and desist’.  Our attitude is not acceptable or true to the Spirit of Christ.  We are the ones way “out-of-line” and we have not been good witnesses about his grace and love.  We had better turn from this sin, and ask Jesus to free us again.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:32


Drink Up!

water-running from-hand

Now on the final and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! 

John 7:37,   Amplified

The strangeness of this metaphor has never really been resolved in my thinking.  There is one other which strikes me as incredibly odd; it is when Jesus declares that He is “the Bread of life” whom we must eat.  With both of these I’m content right now to think that I am reaching through a cultural airlock, and things will resolve.  It isn’t doubt, I’m just content to wait for it to be sorted out.  I’m certain it shall be.

hands_of_jesus_pouring_waterBut I cannot minimize these declarations, and their significance.  “I am the Water for this parched world.  Come with your buckets and cups.”  If we but think about this, there is an implied exclusivity.  He has everything we need.  And there is no one else.  Also reading the text over again, I’m struck by the setting for this announcement.

They were standing in the Temple.  Jesus had been unveiling His ministry to be messianic, and His presence to be divine.  And the Temple and the feasts created the atmosphere for this dramatic revelation.  And the best part was this, “everyone, anyone who understands having a thirst, can come to me, and drink me.”

I lived for three years in the deserts of Baja, Mexico.  I learned about heat, and the exquisite value of water, and savoring it to the last mouthful.  I saw spring rains soak the desolate terrain, and saw the awesome results of a blooming desert.  And it was all about the water.

The world has been confronted by the real spiritual, and most don’t even understand this.  But yet we all know there exists a powerful thirst.  And thirst,  is perhaps the best word to use.  We walk through life parched and dried out, and nothing we’ve tried to drink has helped.  There has been a joint effort by many brilliant minds, but it has completely and definitely failed.

     “Is anyone thirsty?
      Come and drink—
      even if you have no money!
      Come, take your choice of wine or milk—
      it’s all free!”    -Isa. 55:1

Isaiah the prophet used the imagery of thirst.  He has shown us that thereis somewhere (or more precisely “someone”) who has the fantastical ability of meeting our needs.  I can’t say a lot about the “wine”, (but I’m sure it’s something good.)  And the milk? Well growing up in rural Wisconsin, I drank lots and lots of wholesome raw milk, straight from the cow. With the cream four inches thick in our gallon jar. It was grand, I loved it!

When we follow Jesus, He provides what we need.  When I come, as one of His flawed ones, He pays extra attention to me (at least that is what it feels like).  Satan’s lies fall away, and my understanding grows as I drink Jesus.


ybic, Bryan

kyrie eleison.

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