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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Chukat 39-2

The statute of

Numbers 19:18 20:6

In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!"

Num. 20:1-5 NIV

What do you do when you have no water?

When Miryam died, the water spring that had been with the sons and daughters of Israel for so long stopped pouring. However, it isn't written that the people were suffering from thirst, like the time before that when they didn't have water (17:3). In Isaiah 48:21 it's written: "They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out." (NIV)

So they didn't suffer from thirst, but after realising that they didn't have any more water, before being thirsty, they gathered against Moshe and Aharon. The Hebrew text reads again that they gathered over Moshe and Aharon. In their hearts they rose against their authority questioning their legitimacy and behaviour. Instead of seeing the Invisible One who led them out of Egypt, they fought the visible leader who was an instrument of the Invisible One to act in this visible world.

These rebels couldn't see the reality of the spiritual world; they only looked as far as their eyes could reach. They couldn't understand that without the Eternal Moshe couldn't have done any of the things he did. None of those great miracles came from Moshe; they came from the Invisible One. They blamed the visible man for the Invisible One's deeds and rose above him speaking words of death.

They wouldn't understand that the Invisible One is good, because they only looked downwards, focusing on the rocks, scorpions, snakes, dust and the lack of vegetation. They didn't appreciate and gave thanks for the daily manna, the miraculously given water they had up to that day, the cloud that gave them shade by day and warmth by night, the angel that went before them to guide them, the fact that they were chosen to be a sacred people, the written and oral Torah giving them life, for Moshe who was ever faithful, for Aharon who atoned for their sins, for the care and love they received every time from their heavenly Father. They didn't see any of that, only the negative side. And now, they didn't have water. They couldn't believe that the Eternal was able to make yet another miracle to supply for their needs. They got stuck in their negativity and blamed the visible man for not fulfilling his promises.

A person with such attitude is not able to conquer a land of giants. The one who is unable to see beyond the horizon won't reach the final goal. The one who climbs above his authorities criticising them for what he considers mistakes, is not able to inherit the promises.

The Invisible One took them to that situation. He had a plan when He stopped the waters from pouring from the spring. He wanted to teach the people what walking by faith was and to see the unseen things instead of the visible ones. He wanted to teach them to ask for miracles when they needed them. But the people wouldn't learn but instead rebelled against the visible instrument of the Eternal. Sadly, that people died in the desert and never reached the final goal.

Dear chosen one from among the nations: Don't despair when you see no water. When the source of your blessing ceases, it's not the moment to rebel against the leaders for taking you on the wrong path. It's the moment to raise your eyes to the Invisible One and believe that He is good and powerful to do all He's promised.

Those able to see beyond the stars and believe that the Invisible One is able, wants and will do the impossible; those are the true sons and daughters of Avraham and they will be counted as his everlasting offspring.

May the Eternal, who is good, help us not to be blocked by whatever lies before our feet, and by whatever we are missing, but to believe in what comes down from above so that we can reach the final line with our souls full of faith and trust.

Kol tuv


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