So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
Our home in Pueblo was a ticking time bomb. Built in the early 1950’s each year something new would “go off”. If our plumbing wasn’t going out then our electrical issues were going off. I remember Jenna was taking a shower one day and a window literally fell out of the window frame and shattered down our stairs for no reason other than it was its turn to break. It was never an issue of if but when. Maybe you have a home like this? If so, I’m right there with you…
One day our washing machine drain was backing up. I simply had to change the line leading into the main sewer stack. Easy enough, in 99% of houses. Just have to cut a piece of PVC, use a few fittings and pipe dope, and boom! Our sewer stack however, where the drain was to go into, was only about 4-6 inches from a vertical post supporting the floor above. I couldn’t unscrew the existing drain because there wasn’t enough room. I worked on this for hours, a bunch of trips to the hardware store and no luck- I was as frustrated as a human being could be. Finally, I cried out to God (not literally but I think God heard my grumblings and “frustrated language”) and God revealed to me the missing piece. The piece of the puzzle that lay beside me the entire time. The piece I kept pushing away out of frustration because I kept kneeling on it… yeah…I had it fixed in just a few moments after that.
I admire Moses. He was called to lead the people out of captivity and he did just that.
The people fought Moses the entire way but he did it.
In our scripture reading today they are of course grumbling. They are thirsty. Like the famous Snickers commercials, they’ve turned into “Betty White.” They are hungry, tired, and most of all thirsty.
I imagine Moses thinking to himself “What do you want me to do? Huh? Magically make drinkable water for you all? If I could, I would, TRUST ME!” Instead, scripture tells us, he cries out to God because he knows God can take it - the people in their current condition certainly cannot.
God reveals to him a log that probably everyone had been stepping over, tripping over, or perhaps even resting on.
A simple piece of wood and God says toss it in and you will have drinkable water.
Moses had to be confused. A stick? But he did it and the water was turned potable.
The people were happy again, for a while. Moses was the hero again, for a while.
God does that, though doesn’t he?
God uses people and things in our lives to speak truth and provide solutions when we need it most-sometimes even the most unorthodox folks and things. Sometimes God uses the most mundane “things” in our lives, like the log by the water, to transform us and speak new life into our faith. Perhaps a song we’ve heard a thousand times speaks to us in a new way or scripture we reread for the umpteenth time takes on new life and speaks to us in a new way. We call that an “Ah-ha!” moment.
God’s grace is full of surprises. God is constantly working in our lives all the time.
What ways has God used a “log” to transform your desperate situation, your hopelessness, your frustrations, your uncertainties?
I pray you see the certainty this week of God at work in your life. I pray that you feel the ever-loving presence of God in your life and in the lives of those around you. Be open to new ways of being this week, like Moses being asked to throw a stick into the bitter water to get good water. A log? Seriously? God can use many different types of people, things, ideas, and experiences to solve our struggles but we first need to be willing to listen. If we are going to cry out, we most certainly need to be willing to hear the solution.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
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