Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron. And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord!” (Numbers 20:2-3)
Immediately after the death of Miriam, the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron, this time complaining about the lack of water. There are rabbinical sources that argue Miriam’s death had something to do with the lack of water, in fact, that it ceased immediately upon her death. Actually, these sources take it a step further saying, as long as Miriam was alive, a well of water followed them through the wilderness. Some traditions make this “well” to be a “rock” from which issued water to quench their thirst. That is a very interesting tradition and especially when one considers that her name is related to a word that means “bitterness” and even “rebellion.”
However, in spite of her shortcomings at times, Miriam played an integral part in the story of Passover, starting when she oversaw the safety of her infant brother, Moses. In a manner of speaking, were it not for her merit, the story of Israel’s redemption may not have occurred which, in turn, lends to the tradition that links her to the water in the wilderness. In other words, in some sense, she was a conduit though which God supplied water to those who thirsted. I find this interesting is because, centuries later, another meritorious young lady named Miriam (Mary) played an integral role in the redemption of mankind. It was through this other young woman that the Messiah, the Living Water, came into this world.
Coming full circle now, let’s consider something that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Speaking of those who left Egypt in the Exodus He said, “They all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Messiah.” Interesting don’t you think? But the main point is this — in spite of our tendency to be rebellious and bitter, He provides all that we need and more. He is more vital to our existence than temporal bread or water — He is our source for everything.
Moreover, when we have been born again and filled with His Spirit, this Living Water issues forth from us that others may benefit. So with that in mind, let’s live in a way whereby we can be used by God to be a source of blessing to others. And may it be that we never disregard the source by which we live and prosper. With that in mind, I’ll close with this passage from Isaiah: “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation [yeshua]” (Isaiah 12:3).
Blessings and Shalom,