The first miracle in the desert after God had opened and closed the
Red Sea was about a piece of wood and water. The small section found in Exodus 15:22-25 (NIV) caught my eye as I was reading. It reads, “22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the . For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. [e] ) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?" 25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.” Another translation says it became “good to drink”. Desert of Shur
As I read those 4 verses, I wondered why a piece of wood? Did the wood represent hope that there could possibly be trees found in this desert region? I wonder if Moses wondered why God would choose a piece of wood as opposed to a rock which probably was more available, especially since rock is made up of minerals from dirt. I’ve been to one of the desert regions near the
Dead Sea and there weren’t many trees around, just rocks. Not to mention, it was so hot I couldn’t drink enough water to satisfy my thirst.
I wondered if this was God’s first clue to His children that one day, He would send His son die on a piece of wood to redeem the people from the bitterness of sin. I believe this was God’s visual illustration to show His children what was to come. Even then, God wanted the people to ask the question, what are we to drink? Jesus referred to himself as the “living water” when he encountered the Samaritan woman. He said to her in John 4:13& 14 (NIV), “13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Could that piece of wood thrown into that bitter water possibly be the picture of Jesus? Jesus, the living water was hung on a piece of wood to redeem mankind so that we all could have the opportunity to drink from this well. For a moment there Jesus became all sin and bitterness for us. Just as he said in verse 14, if we drink from the water he gives, we will never thirst and that water will well up inside of us and will give us eternal life. The conclusion I have come to is, that piece of wood where the “Living Water” hung made salvation sweet for all of us.