Yesterday, I reflected on John 4, where Jesus and a Samaritan woman met at the well. I mentioned that sometimes Jesus meets us within our routines, like the woman at the well, and rattles our perception. Other times, God rattles us completely out of our routines in order to fracture us into wholeness. And that’s where I want to focus today.
As I prepared to speak at a recent women’s event, I felt God pulling me from John 4 way back into Exodus. Both involve water and God’s provision. One interrupts a routine. The other provides outside the comfort of a routine.
The Israelites lived in slavery in Egypt for hundreds of years. They wanted out, and who wouldn’t? God provided a way, but it seemed to involve a lot of false starts. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh with specific instructions and conditions. Pharaoh agreed (sometimes), the Israelites thought they’d be leaving Egypt, then Pharaoh went back on his word, and the Israelites continued to work. (Repeat multiple times.) Until the plague that was the tipping point. The Israelites left.
When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. (Exodus 13:17-18)
And we wonder why we sometimes need to take the long way around? Well, God knows where we need to go and why. Despite God providing the directions every step of the way, the particular path definitely seemed odd when Pharaoh and his army appeared on the horizon. Apparently, life without the slaves (and control) seemed too daunting.
The route led straight to the Red Sea, which is no puny puddle. So, thousands of people trapped between a significant body of water and a large group of people who detested them. It wasn’t the first or the last time the Israelites doubted God’s plan for them.
And that plan involved a stick – well, a staff God had instructed Moses to use multiple times previously – shoved into the water, which immediately separated the sea, while a wind dried the sea floor enough for everyone to get through. Every one.
The army caught up, chased the Israelites onto the sea bed, then God (through Moses’ obedience once again) let the water resume its strong flow.
The Israelites were on dry ground. Their enemies who had dominated and mistreated them for generations were destroyed.
God led them to the water and provided through the water. It’s a completely different situation than Jesus meeting the Samaritan at the well, but there are many similarities, including God’s provision.
He makes a way where there seems to be no way, whether we feel trapped because of our choices, our path, our routines, our reputation, or our background.
Whether God says to come to the water or go to the water, he provides and purposes through it.
Are you listening?
Are you trusting?
Are you moving?