“So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable. The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there.”
Exodus 15:25 CSB
Through the Bible: Exodus 13-15
In Exodus 15, the Israelites came to a spring in the desert. They had gone three days without water, so I imagine they all rushed to the spring to drink deeply. Yet when they bent to drink, the water was bitter. So God showed Moses a tree. He threw the tree in the spring, the water became sweet, and the people were saved.
The easiest prescriptions are sometimes the hardest ones to trust. “Throw a log in the water? That’s like saying ‘take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Naaaah— there has to be more to it than that!”
Actually, there is more to this healing. A LOT more. God did not say, “This is the tree, your healer.” He said, “I am the Lord, your healer” (v 26). In Hebrew, this is Yahweh Rapha—the God Who Heals.
It wasn’t the tree that healed. And not just any tree would do. It could only have been the tree God showed Moses.
Think of a flu shot. It is not the act of simply sticking a needle in your arm that will protect you from anything. It’s the medicine in the needle. That’s where the efficacy is. The needle is merely the delivery system for the power of the medicine.
When we Christians talk about the power of the cross, we know what we mean. But let’s make sure nonbelievers and new Christians understand that the “wondrous cross” is only the delivery system for our salvation. I love to sing how I will cling to the old rugged cross, as long as people understand what that means. We cling to Jesus. The One on the cross.
Centuries later, the apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians,
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—”Galatians 3:13
In the desert, there was a spring of cursed water. God showed Moses a tree that could remove the curse and make the water sweet.
We know about a Tree like that, too. A Tree that removed a curse. A Tree that provides us fountains of living water. Not just any tree will do. The only Tree that can redeem the curse is the one on which the prince of glory died.
God, thank You for showing me the tree. Use me to show it to others.