SCRIPTURE: Psalm 114
God’s Wonders at the Exodus
1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.
Kimberly Bracken Long writes that, “In recalling the exodus story and the parting of the sea, this psalm reminds us of how the power and mercy of God are reflected in the reality of water. The waters of the sea pulled back to allow safe passage for God’s people, then brought death to the enemy. Water has the power to kill and destroy; yet it is necessary for life. As Jean Danielou once said, ‘water is, on the one hand, the principle of destruction, the instrument of judgment destroying the sinful world; and on the other hand, it is the principle of creation, the life-giving element in which a new creature is born.'”
As pointed out above, water plays many roles throughout Scripture. Water is destructive in the flood narrative with Noah, but then life-giving to the Israelites as they travel through the wilderness for forty years. Water still plays these same roles in our world today. We have seen the destructive power of water in storms and tsunamis, but we have also seen the life-saving power of water when droughts end or dangerous fires are quenched. As Christians, we also recognize the symbolic power of water through the sacrament of baptism. Water, in a way, is like humanity’s free will in that it can cause harm and pain, but it can also do some amazing things.
What are your first thoughts when you think about water? What has been your relationship with water? Has it been a more destructive force in your life or a more life-giving force?
Creating God, your Spirit moved over the waters as you formed this world and brought forth life. Help us to remember that the water that we should pursue is that which Jesus gives that when we drink from it, we will never thirst again. Strengthen us to be like life-giving water through our love for you and our neighbors. Amen.