Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Life Sustaining Water in the Desert

In today’s article, I would like to make the connection between few of the passages from the Hebrew Old Testament, Gospel of John and St. Paul’s letter where the subject of water in the desert are told and establish the common thread of spiritual implication underlying these verses.

In Exodus 17: 1-17 the incidence of Moses leading the people of Israel from the wilderness of Sin into the place called ‘Rephidim’ (which name comes from the noun root ‘repida’ and which means ‘rest’). It should be noted that any action involving rest is for the purpose of rejuvenation. But there is no water and people start to become rebellious. Moses appeals to God and he is instructed to take a few elders and go to a place called Horeb and strike a rock, which the Lord will show, with the rod that he used for turning the Nile red and we are told that water rushed forth for the people to drink. Moses called this place ‘Massah’ which in Hebrew means ‘testing’ and ‘Meribah’ which means ‘quarrelling’.
It would be beneficial to note that it is the rod of deliverance out of Egypt that is again used to deliver the people of Israel from thirst

In Numbers 20:1–14 the incidence of water scarcity at the near end of the forty years of wandering and how again Moses is instructed to strike the rock to bring forth water is explained. At this time it is not only the people of Israel but also Moses doubts the Divine instruction and Moses and Aaron are not allowed into the Promised Land. Because the Israelis argued with the Lord and he was set apart among them, this place was called the Meribah Springs.

St. Paul writing to the Corinthians says:
“… For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” ……1 Corinthians 10:4

There is an intimate connection between all these verses.
The journey of the chosen people of God is the metaphor for the individual life journey of every human being. This journey is sustained through Divine nourishment.

This is more evident from the first-century C.E. source called Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities which says:
“But as for his own people, he led them forth into the wilderness: Forty years did he rain bread from heaven for them, and he brought them quails from the sea, and a well of water following them” ……..Chapter 10. Verse 7.

When we are born, we begin our journey at the very bottom rung of the tree of life, the realm called ‘Malchut’ It is associated with the realm of matter/earth and relates to the physical world, This is the journey out of the wilderness of Sin referred to in the book of Exodus. As the Divine nourishment of Manna and the waters of Meribah spring provided sustenance for the people of Israel so also each one of us requires Divine nourishment to elevate out consciousness from the level of the ‘Malchut’ to the highest level of the Promised Land namely ‘Keter’ which means ‘Crown’. The name of God associated with Keter is ‘Ehyeh Asher’
Ehyeh is the name through which God revealed himself to Moses from the burning bush. "It is from the name Ehyeh that all kinds of sustenance emanate, coming from the source, which is the infinite"

The significance of forty years in the desert is a period of preparation, It would also be interesting to note that it was at Horeb that Elijah went forty days without food or water and Jesus fasted for forty days before his ministry.
Hence our life on Earth is a preparation for the promised Land of elevated spiritual consciousness

As St. Paul says In the New covenant, the life sustenance comes through Christ consciousness. When Jesus says to the Samaritan woman at the well:
“………….. But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never become thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become a well of water for him, springing up to eternal life.” …………John 4:14

It is therefore those who have this well of spiritual nourishment as their constant inner source who will continue their life journey into the Promised Land and become one with the Divine Kingdom.

Love to you all

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