1. IN THE WILDERNESS OF SHUR
a. How many days did the Israelites travel in the wilderness without finding water? Exodus 15:22.
b. What was the name of the place where they found water, and what was the water like? Exodus 15:23. What does “Marah” mean? (Same verse, margin.) (Compare with Ruth 1:20.)
“For three days, as they journeyed, they could find no water. The supply which they had taken with them was exhausted. There was nothing to quench their burning thirst as they dragged wearily over the sun-burnt plains. Moses, who was familiar with this region, knew what the others did not, that at Marah, the nearest station where springs were to be found, the water was unfit for use. With intense anxiety he watched the guiding cloud. With a sinking heart he heard the glad shout. ‘Water! water!’ echoed along the line. Men, women, and children in joyous haste crowded to the fountain, when, lo, a cry of anguish burst forth from the host—the water was bitter.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 291.
2. FORGETTING THE BLESSINGS
a. What did the people do when they began to suffer from thirst? Exodus 15:24; Psalm 106:13.
“In their horror and despair they reproached Moses for having led them in such a way, not remembering that the divine presence in that mysterious cloud had been leading him as well as them. In his grief at their distress Moses did what they had forgotten to do; he cried earnestly to God for help.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 291.
b. What does Christ say to those who are forgetful of past blessings in their anxiety for their future needs? Luke 12:29, 30.
“Christians should not allow themselves to be troubled with anxious care as to the necessities of life. If men love and obey God, and do their part, God will provide for all their wants. Although your living may have to be obtained by the sweat of your brow, you are not to distrust God; for in the great plan of His providence, He will supply your need from day to day.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 227.
c. What shows that God will never forget us? Isaiah 44:21; 49:15, 16.
“The love of Jesus is something expressed, more tender than even the love of a mother for her child. The most tender love we know is that of a mother for her child, but the love of Jesus exceeds this. She may change in her affection. Mothers may become unkind, but Jesus never, never will become unmindful or unkind, or cruel to His children.
“Then never, never will we show distrust and want of faith. So strong is His love that it controls all the affections of His nature, and [He] employs all His vast resources to do His people good. His love is durable, without variableness or shadow of turning. Never let us dishonor God by trying so hard to keep ourselves, fixing our eyes upon ourselves, and keeping ourselves constantly in view.”—The Upward Look, p. 180.
“Oh, how easy for us to forget God, while He never forgets us; He visits us with His mercies every hour.”—Our High Calling, p. 314.
3. THE BITTER MADE SWEET
a. How did the waters at Marah become sweet? Exodus 15:25. What practical lessons can we learn from this?
“For every trial, God has provided help. When Israel in the desert came to the bitter waters of Marah, Moses cried unto the Lord. The Lord did not provide some new remedy; He called attention to that which was at hand. A shrub which He had created was to be cast into the fountain to make the water pure and sweet. When this was done, the people drank of the water and were refreshed. In every trial, if we seek Him, Christ will give us help. Our eyes will be opened to discern the healing promises recorded in His word. The Holy Spirit will teach us how to appropriate every blessing that will be an antidote to grief. For every bitter draft that is placed to our lips, we shall find a branch of healing.
“We are not to let the future, with its hard problems, its unsatisfying prospects, make our hearts faint, our knees tremble, our hands hang down. ‘Let him take hold of My strength,’ says the Mighty One, ‘that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. Those who surrender their lives to His guidance and to His service will never be placed in a position for which He has not made provision. Whatever our situation, if we are doers of His word, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexity, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend.” —The Ministry of Healing, pp. 248, 249.
b. Where and on what other occasion did a similar problem exist, and how was it solved? 2 Kings 2:19–22.
“The healing of the waters of Jericho was accomplished, not by any wisdom of man, but by the miraculous interposition of God. . . .
“In casting salt into the bitter spring, Elisha taught the same spiritual lesson imparted centuries later by the Saviour to His disciples when He declared, ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.’ Matthew 5:13. The salt mingling with the polluted spring purified its waters and brought life and blessing where before had been blighting and death. When God compares His children to salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 231.
4. PROMISES TO THE OBEDIENT
a. What did the Lord promise to do for His people, and what were the conditions? Exodus 15:26. Are there similar conditions today?
“There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul.
“And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 824.
b. What assurance is given to those who are sick? Psalm 103:2–5; James 5:15, 16.
“The paralytic found in Christ healing for both the soul and the body. He needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. Before the physical malady could be healed, Christ must bring relief to the mind, and cleanse the soul from sin. This lesson should not be overlooked. There are today thousands suffering from physical disease who, like the paralytic, are longing for the message, ‘Thy sins are forgiven.’ The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies. They can find no relief until they come to the Healer of the soul. The peace which He alone can impart would restore vigor to the mind and health to the body.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 77.
c. Why should we be particular in how we care for our bodies? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31.
“The sacred temple of the body must be kept pure and uncontaminated, that God’s Holy Spirit may dwell therein. We need to guard faithfully the Lord’s property, for any abuse of our powers shortens the time that our lives could be used for the glory of God. . . . By properly using our powers to their fullest extent in the most useful employment, by keeping every organ in health, by so preserving every organ that mind, sinew, and muscle shall work harmoniously, we may do the most precious service for God.”—My Life Today, p. 134.
5. THE WELLS AT ELIM
a. After the Israelites had left Marah, where did they next camp? Describe the oasis that they found there. Exodus 15:27.
b. Just as God provided food and water for the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, how does He promise to provide for the needs of His people just before their entrance into the heavenly Canaan? Isaiah 33:16; Psalm 37:19.
“The Lord has shown me repeatedly that it is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.”—Early Writings, p. 56.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why was the place where the children of Israel found water called Marah?
2. How did they react to God’s providence in bringing them to this place? How are we sometimes the same? What should we do instead?
3. God has promised that we will never find ourselves in a situation where He has not provided for our needs. Under what conditions is this true?
4. Why is it so important to keep God’s health laws today?
5. What has God promised to provide for His people just before their entrance into the heavenly Canaan?