In the book of Exodus chapter fifteen we encounter The revelation of God at Marah. It has only been a short while after their exodus from Egypt. It’s in this simple narrative that God reveals Himself as a healer.
22Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the Shur Desert. They traveled in this desert for three days without water. 23When they came to Marah, they finally found water. But the people couldn’t drink it because it was bitter. (That is why the place was called Marah, which means “bitter.”) 24Then the people turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25So Moses cried out to the LORD for help, and the LORD showed him a branch. Moses took the branch and threw it into the water. This made the water good to drink. It was there at Marah that the LORD laid before them the following conditions to test their faithfulness to him: 26″If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and laws, then I will not make you suffer the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.” (Exodus 15:22-26)
This is where God showed Himself to both a deliverer and a physical healer. The revelation at Marah came to give substance and promise to the Israelites experience in coming out of Egypt. If you recall in the ten plagues of Egypt demonstrated God’s power and supremacy over the gods of the Egyptians. Here in the wilderness He was showing His nature, character, strength, and power! They were developing a history in God for themselves. They were moving from only believing the stories of encounter from the generations before—Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham to experiencing their own encounters with Yaweh.
In the Exodus God manifested Himself in Power and at Marah He revealed a facet of His eternal nature to His children. In giving the name of Jehovah “Rapha” Israel realized God was covenanting Himself to them forever.
The tree is a picture of the cross, theologically known as a “type and shadow.” Many references in the New Testament refer to the cross as a tree. This picture reveals the source of Healing Power—The Atonement of the Lamb of God! It is clearly a type of the Cross of Christ. (See Acts 5:30, Acts 10:39, Galatians 3:13) Another type and shadow in the Old Testament pointing towards Christ and the Cross is found in Numbers 21, the story of the fiery serpents.
The tree being cast into the bitter waters and making the waters sweet (potable) is a picture of the Cross being cast into the bitterness of man’s sinful existence. Moses throws the tree in the waters and the waters were healed. In a moment we see God declaring His eternal name—Jehovah Rapha and shows how His provision is made possible through the precious blood of the Lamb, the atoning death of His Son.
Beloved, are there bitter waters in your life? The bitterness of poverty? The bitterness of physical weakness? The bitterness of abuse and wounding of the heart? The bitterness of accidents and tragedy? The bitterness of betrayal and abandonment in relationships? There is no bitterness that Jesus can not heal! There is no loss, pain, or suffering that He can’t redeem in your life. He heals broken hearts as easily as He heals broken bodies.
Immediately after this revelation, God leads them to “Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.” God doesn’t simply long to heal your wounds He longs to lead you to fullness and find yourself at rest in the Oasis of His presence.