WEEK 1 - Christianity, sacredness and water scarcity

Bible reflection on Exodus 15:22-27 - Seven Weeks for Water 2017

Rev. B. F. Fubara-Manuel, Ph.D.


Many people today think that some sufferings are meaningless because in their eyes they cannot justify why such woes should occur. While these concerns are important, we are reminded that we can come to find as very significant some occurrences in our lives that we once interpreted as meaningless.  Perhaps this is how we should understand the sufferings of the Israelites in the wilderness of Shur. They travelled for days without water and, finally, when they found water, it was bitter! Little did they know that Elim, a place with good water, was only 7 miles (11 kilometres) away. Why did God watch them endure this apparently meaningless suffering? Our pilgrimage with the Israelites in this Lenten season from Exod. 15:22-27 will show us how we in the Christian Church can learn about sacredness and scarcity of water under God’s providence.

Reflection on the Marah story

Under Joseph, the children of Israel were to live in Goshen [a very fertile area  called “the best of the land” (Gen. 47:6)], and, therefore, probably a very well-watered part  of Egypt. But in spite of their good settlement, they had found it hard to be a people under the hand of taskmasters who did not know Joseph.  Moses was raised by God to get them out of Egypt after over 400 years. And out they came. As they approached the Red Sea, the Egyptians pursued, but God gave them victory by carving a way through the sea for them to cross over to dry ground. When the Egyptians pursued, God fought for the Israelites and killed the attacking Egyptians in the Sea. And they made it to the other side of the Sea.

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Discussion questions

  1. What do you consider the importance of the story of Marah?
  2. What are some of the experiences of life today that hide from us the reality of the Marah around us, especially the Marah of non-potable water and a lack of adequate sanitation?
  3. What starting points would you suggest for your context in the efforts to overcome the Marahs of life?
  4. What religious, practical, scientific, technological discipline would you suggest for your context of Marah?
  5. How may the church engage the larger community in ensuring that the sacredness of all lands is affirmed, even when water may not be available, or sufficient, or clean?

Photo Credit : Women fetching water in Bedeno, Ethiopia. © Håvard Bjelland/Kirkens Nødhjelp/ACT