Sunday, May 20, 2018

Royal Wedding


This week the world tuned in to watch a modern fairytale come to life.  All eyes were on Harry and Meghan as they held a royal wedding at Windsor Castle.  In the aftermath, and even before the day was over, every petty and sarcastic comment to express how much ‘no one cares’ was made.  What is it about us that we cannot celebrate with anyone who doesn’t walk in the same social sphere as we do?


This article will not bash the royal family, Harry and Meghan, or the spectacular wedding day they enjoyed.  In point of fact, I shared their happiness as did a huge number of British citizens who camped out for days to get a glimpse of the royal pageantry.

You can pat yourself on the back at how much you don’t care and make disparaging remarks over any number of things about it.  But, who are you to rain on their wedding day?

Can we not see this as a delightful metaphor for all of us?  What value may we place on a fairytale?  Just as Yeshua (Jesus) taught in parables, might we try and see beyond the envy and holier-than-thou attitudes that animate the snarky and disparaging comments leveled at the entire event?  Can we see this as a parable, a metaphor, for what we all carry in our hearts?  Can we not believe they are entering a marriage based on love? 

Just because their wedding was beyond what we common folk have, does that mean it was trivial to them?  They are just human beings like ourselves. So-what that they happen to have an enormous wealth and privilege that we, in America, find hard to grasp!  Can we really justify our disdain because we can’t relate to it?

Or can we?

How many people flooded Chicago when the Cubs won the pennant?  Did people gather to celebrate the inauguration of a President?  Do people tune in to the Academy Awards, or get excited for the premier of the next Star Wars movie or the like?  How about American Idol?  The Super Bowl? Miss America? Pick your event that touches your heart.  You know you have your favorites, so why lift your nose that the ‘Royals’ are unworthy of your interest?

What satisfies your personal fairytale?  Is it the rags to riches, pauper to king theme that beckons to your spirit?  Is it overcoming life-threatening events?  Or are only Royal Weddings relegated to ‘fairytales?’

Speaking of fairytales, what is it about a fairytale that resonates with us?  I know, our current culture vilifies the stories like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.  God forbid we should tell our daughters and sons that there is such a thing as true love, or happy-ever-after!  Maybe we should just crush their dreams of an ideal because it doesn’t reflect real life. 

I have news for you.  The princess thing is not going away.  Just look at how Disney has capitalized on this.  How many little girls are fascinated with being a princess?  I dare say it would take a conscious decision on the part of the parents to discourage this fantasy.  And why should we, really?

What does the fairytale tell us?  A person who is enslaved (Cinderella), hated without cause or due to envy (Sleeping Beauty) or dead (Snow White), can be rescued by ‘true love.’  We all bought into that phrase when we fell in love with the Princess Bride…why do we begrudge anyone from that in real life?

Most fairytales tell us that the noble and selfless Prince falls in love with the young maiden that will become his bride.  He will rescue her and carry her off on his white stallion to live forever in his kingdom.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?  Is it simply a fairytale, or is it telling the story that resonates within all of us?

Those of us who are seeking the Kingdom of God view the whole thing in a similar, if not identical, fashion. 

We who are lost, broken, dead in our sins, asleep, or slaves to sin, yearn for the perfect Prince (of Peace) to rescue us from our circumstances.  We even picture him on a white steed (see Revelation), coming in power to vanquish the enemies of life eternal; to remove the forces of darkness that prevent us from living in and with Him!  His perfect love will give us the happily-ever-after of eternal life in His Kingdom.  Who doesn’t long for that, ye that call yourselves ‘believers?’

So many of the events that occupy our attention fall in one or more facets of the perfect fairytale.  You can figure it out.  What was the 108 year drought before the Cubs won the pennant?  (Sounds like echoes of Rip Van Winkle to me.)  How about American Idol? The Prince and the Pauper? Rags to Riches?  A nobody becomes famous!  A commoner joins the royal family.

So many parallels that you really must suppress the ideal from your lexicon to call it a fairytale.  And how many of the things Americans are consumed with focus on love and marriage?

It used to be that little girls sought a man that would fulfill her desire to be loved and cared for.  It used to be that love was the goal instead of hooking up until the next new thing comes along. 

It used to be that we were happy for people who were in love and  marry each other in front of God and everybody.  Why should we NOT be excited for the institution of marriage, even if it is done in a lavish fashion few of us can hope to enjoy?

I don’t know if Harry and Meghan will live happily ever after, but I sure hope they do!  And I tuned in for their wedding!  It was a lovely affair that expressed love, culture, tradition and celebration.  It was fun to see marriage treated with respect and elevated as an event worthy of interest. 

When is it horrible when people come together to share and celebrate with two people who are in love and choose to vow a covenant between them until death? 

As the minister that spoke at their wedding said, “Two people fell in love, and we all showed up.”  I prefer to show up for love and commitment, regardless of the magnitude of the event.

Congratulations and best wishes, Harry and Meghan.




Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas? Bah Humbug!

I find myself in agreement with Scrooge!  You all know the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  It is a classic that has been made into innumerable plays, staged readings, movies and cartoons to retell the wonderful story of how an old miser like Scrooge could find generosity and forgiveness by embracing the Christmas spirit.  Before his conversion his curmudgeonly retort to all who espoused Merry Christmas was, “Bah! Humbug!”

After some study, I now think that Scrooge was on to something!  He certainly needed a change of heart, but he was right about Christmas being a humbug!  Why do I say I agree with Scrooge?



I looked up the definition of Humbug. 

Here it is from the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary:

humbug

noun hum·bug  : language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people : someone or something that is not honest or true : a hard peppermint candy

Full Definition of HUMBUG

1 a :  something designed to deceive and mislead

b :  a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person

2 :  an attitude or spirit of pretense and deception

3 :  Nonsense, drivel

Hmmmm.  Am I saying that everyone who celebrates Christmas is ‘willfully false, deceptive and insincere?’  Not exactly.  I believe that the majority of Christians are sincere in their wish to ‘keep Christ in Christmas,’ and have no intention to deceive or pretend the holiday is anything other than a celebration of the birth of our Savior.  They would be, and are, offended to have their celebration characterized as nonsense or drivel.

But, and this is the hard part for almost everyone to swallow: What if the concept of Christmas is offensive to the Father?  What if Christmas itself is humbug?

If you are still reading this, I guess you are willing to explore the possibility that Christmas might not be based in Biblical instructions.  I am hoping you are looking for me to explain what I mean so that you can make an assessment of whether I am sincere, or a humbug.

Everyone can point to the lovely Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon where Linus reads the recounting of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke.  “That is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown;” and, for many, that is enough.  It is a justification for all that Christmas has become.  The fact of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds abiding in the fields by night, and the singing of the heavenly hosts is familiar, inspiring and gives us all that warm fuzzy feeling.  Christmas is the memorial of this event that brought Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men, isn’t it?

We are all drawn in by our memories of movies and Christmas stories.  Films like It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas and many others are perennial favorites that show the spirit of Christmas as a generous and loving heart for our fellow man.  But, no story other than A Christmas Carol concentrates on the Spirits that animate our love-affair with all things Christmas.

So why did Scrooge call Christmas a humbug?

Scrooge was a bitter and disillusioned man.  His spirit was so darkened that he couldn’t accept that people might actually have love and goodwill in their heart, and certainly that these feelings were not the result of Christmastime.  Until he was visited by four spirits (Marley, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future) he was unable to recognize that his misery was the result of his own heart and behavior.  He became a miser that worshipped money and it cost him the love of his life.  To him, all of the good cheer and love others portrayed was a deception.  It was, indeed, a humbug.  A spirit of deception, insincerity and dishonesty.

Let’s look again at the definition of Humbug.  It is “language or behavior that is false or meant to deceive people, someone or something that is not honest or true, or a hard peppermint candy.”

Now, let’s look at the other definitions.  “Someone or something that is not honest or true.”  Christmas celebrations probably fall into this category.  If we are honest, we must conclude that Christmas and its attendant trappings of trees, holly, mistletoe, Santa and reindeer etc., are all based on myths or ancient pagan practices.  A quick search on the internet yields an abundance of evidence that places all of these things we associate with Christmas as pagan symbols and celebratory customs that we have ‘Christianized.”  They are found nowhere in the Scriptures.  The reason all of these pagan practices were adopted by the Christian church may sound okay to you, but it flies directly in the face of what the Father asked of us.

He said, “Do not learn the ways of the heathens and say you do them unto me, it is an abomination!” (Deu 18:9, Jer 10:2)

You will not find in the Bible, including the New Testament, an instruction to celebrate the birth of our Messiah.  None of the apostles observed Christmas, and for centuries it wasn’t even on the radar screen!  In fact, it was well into the 1800’s before it was even legal for Americans to erect a Christmas Tree because our founding fathers (you know, those folks who fled England because of religious persecution) understood that it was a pagan practice!

So, aside from the traditions that have been co-opted from pagan celebrations (which surely we could conclude fits the definition of a deception), the dark under-belly of Christmas is also a deception.

Why do I say that?

Sadly, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ is not for many people. It is well-reported that there is a spike in suicides during the Christmas season.  The expectation and hype associated with this holiday results in further alienating those who are alone, mentally unstable, or are experiencing a down-turn in their lives. When the magic of Christmas fails to materialize, many cannot cope with the disappointment.

Another deception is our ability to ‘rational-lies’ to our children.  We tell them fantastic tales of flying reindeer, Santa and elves that bring good girls and boys the desires of their heart, and elves on shelves that watch everything they do and say in the run up to Christmas morning.  We think we are creating a spirit of ‘magic’ when in fact we are just lying to our children and setting them up for disappointment and disillusionment when the truth comes out.                                                                                          
                                                
                                          Deception! 

On every level!  We all want to embrace the thought of ‘good will and peace on earth.’   And many actually attain a level of that, until the post-Christmas crash and bills for how much we over-spent in the ‘spirit’ of generosity arrive in the mail.  We have substituted honest emotions of love and goodwill for Black Friday fist-fights over material goods.  We feel pressured to purchase gifts for everyone we see lest we fail to embody the Christmas spirit.  We strive for and expect the ‘Christmas spirit’ during December, and fall back into our everyday mode the rest of the year!  If it is from the heart, it should be apparent all year round, don’t you think?

If you really examine the theme of It’s a Wonderful Life, it really isn’t about Christmas at all.  Although it is a holiday classic and the climax occurs on Christmas Eve, the real story is the culmination of a life well-lived.  George Bailey is a man of integrity.  He honors his father and mother by giving up his dream to leave Bedford Falls in order to handle his father’s business.  He lives his life with a heart to help others, and because of that, this honest, hard-working man is rescued by his community in his hour of need.  Incidentally, his rescue from his own suicide was the result of a prayer for help, but it is easy to gloss over that and hang the entire ending on the ‘Christmas Spirit.’  It makes for a nice setting, but the story could have been told without Christmas in the picture and the result would have been the same.

Now I guess I have ruined your favorite Christmas movie.  It shouldn’t have.  It is still one of my favorite ones too, but I can see it as a reward of a life well-lived and an answer to prayer.  The setting is irrelevant although the snow is nice, and the winter-time ties it all up in a neat bow.  It wasn’t Christmas that caused the happy ending, it was love.

       SHAMELESS PLUG: for more on It's a Wonderful Life go here

So, now that Christmas can be properly characterized as humbug (deception), what should we do with that information?

What if we love the Father enough to search out the truth?  What if we discover that He instituted Feasts that He does want us to observe?  What if we understand that Leviticus 23 is for all mankind, and not just for the ‘Jews?’  What if we realize that celebrating Christmas that began as a pagan festival is no different than the Israelites who built the golden calf and declared it a feast to YHVH?

What if we rightly call Christmas a Humbug?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

RULE OF LAW



We are a nation of Laws. Here are some facts/figures.  I didn’t do an exhaustive search, but probably these are fairly accurate; just open up the yellow pages in any town in America, if you can still find a phone book! 

According to the American Bar Association there are currently 1,116,967 lawyers practicing in the United States. That is approximately one for every 300 people, or approximately 0.36% of the total population. These statistics relate only to those currently practicing and maintaining their licenses. There are far more with inactive or retired status.

We, as Americans, are in love with the Law.  We are a ‘nation of Laws.’  America has more lawyers and legislators who are lawyers than can be construed as random chance.  And a large percentage of them make their home in the halls of Congress!

According to the Congressional Research Service 170 members of the House and 60 Senators are lawyers. Out of a total of 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 Senators (535 total in Congress), lawyers comprise the biggest voting block of one type, making up 43% of Congress. Sixty percent of the U.S. Senate is lawyers and 37.2% of the House of Representatives are lawyers.

So, what can we conclude about all this in the wake of yet another horrific terrorist attack? I don’t care if he is home-grown or not…he was a terrorist. Shall we seek our lawyers to draft another law to keep us safe?  Shall we ponder if the 2nd Amendment is necessary?

Gun-grabbers say yes.  Average Americans say no.

All of this is just too ironic for words!  In a post-Christian America we idolize the rule of law.  Sorry folks, that’s the way I see it based on our culture and what we enact as lawful (abortion comes to mind).  We want the rule of law!  More laws will make us safe!  More laws make us free!  Really?

Now, that the knee-jerk emotional response is past let’s look at this from another perspective.  All of you will not like it, but it is the way I see it.

Thirty-five hundred years ago, give or take a few years, the Creator gave his prophet, Moses, a list of laws.  The concise list was only TEN.  Ten Laws that support the remaining detailed instruction for man to live peaceably with each other and with our Creator Himself.
TEN.  Not 100, Not 1,000, not 40,000 (which is just a rough estimate of the laws Obama signed into effect just days after his 2012 election).  Forty thousand on top of the uncountable numbers of laws, statutes and ordinances we are living beneath in America today.  And that is just the Federal government!

Yet, as soon as some lunatic decides to put ‘I hate everyone, including God’ at the top of his list, the first response is: “There ought to be a law against it.”

Well, duh.  How many laws did the shooter in Vegas break?  Did it prevent him from carrying out his sick plan?  No.

I highly doubt another law is going to make a difference.  Do you?

But the real irony is this: YHVH (God/Creator) gave us a pretty concise, pared-down-to-basics list of do’s and don’ts.  But, today, many believe those laws have no force and can be ignored.  The Christian Church claims that we are no longer ‘under’ the Law of Moses (even though, if you would study it, you’d see that Yeshua (Jesus) never said any such thing).

We find it impossible to ‘keep’ simple instructions like: Do not murder.  But we are more than willing to enumerate some secular laws to make all modes of murder illegal.  Do you see the problem yet?

It is not our laws (nor even YHVH’s Laws) that make us safe.  It is our heart.  If we really and truly loved, feared and revered YHVH and each other, we could live very happily under His instruction.  Adding to his basics hasn’t gotten us anywhere, has it?

Someone posed the question (as they always do): If there is a God, why didn’t he stop the shooting? End the hunger? House the homeless?

Why? 

It is a good question.  If you believe that we are free and have rights, what does that mean?  Are you responsible for yourself?  Your family?  Your community?  Is it your job or is it the job of some bureaucrat?  You want it to be the government that stops evil, but you don’t trust the Creator.  What is the difference?

YHVH gave us a list of instruction whereby we could live together in peace.  He also gave us freedom.  Freedom to choose to follow Him, or do our own thing. 

I ask you: Has ‘doing our own thing’ made us safer, happier, cured hunger, violence or greed? 

You say a law to limit guns will keep us safe?  How are we doing so far?

I think we have placed our faith in the wrong entity.  The government will not keep us safe.   The government has no moral authority.  It sticks its proverbial finger in the air and tests to see which way the wind blows before enacting another ‘rule of law’ for us to follow.

We rail against God, but we won’t take Him at his word which says he will bless us if we are obedient to His instruction.  As far as I can see, He is the only One who can intervene.  But, I ask you: would you recognize Him if He did stop the killing?  What would it take for you to place your faith in Him?  The bad stuff that never happens is invisible to us.  Does that mean He never intervenes?  How could we know?


 We expect the ‘government’ to be effective in changing the heart of men, all the while rejecting the Creator who loves us enough to allow us to live in this imperfect nation called America; who allows us the freedom of choice.

Until we get our hearts in order, until we allow someOne with moral authority to give us laws to follow (oh wait!  He already did that!) we are still relying on men to purify their own hearts. 

Who can truly help us?  When is the last time you read some lawyer-inspired legislation that taught you how to love your fellow man?  Give us the Law!  Or give us the Law-giver? 

Mat 19:16  Now behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good shall I do to have eternal life?”

Mat 19:17  “Why do you ask Me about what is good?” Yeshua said to him. “There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”






Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Lessons from IRMA


This is not going to be a lengthy post.  Just some observations in the wake of riding through Hurricane Irma on the east coast of Central Florida.

First thing: I am so grateful for good friends!  Being by myself while the hub is working in Colorado made for exciting preparations!  I confess to grumbling over having to accomplish it all myself! But, it was manageable!

We bought our house nine years ago.  One of the big selling features were the accordion shutters on all the windows, and three big roll-down Rolladens on our back lanai to button up for storms. 

Being on the north fork of the St. Lucie River (a peninsula at that!) gives us wonderful views of the river.  We hardly know we have neighbors; although we do.  Several houses on our lane lead up from our house to the top of the ‘hill’ - if there is such a thing in Florida.

So, after buttoning up the house (which makes my bright and open home feel like a cave! YUCK), I learned they wished those of us in the flood zones to evacuate. 

Fortunately for me, a couple who are among our Shabbat Family live west of town and were going to stay instead of evacuating.  They have a solid home, hurricane impact windows, and an automatic generator should the power go out.  They invited me to stay since I was alone. 

I took them up on it!

It was not terrible at all!  Gusty winds, lots of rain, but I felt snug, and my friends were great company for me. 

The Second Thing: In the sunny and cool aftermath of the storm, aside from standing water and downed limbs and a couple of trees, when Monday came it was as if the storm had never even happened!  What amazed me…orchids were still blooming, birds were chirping, and most amazing of all, butterflies…a LOT of butterflies, were floating around in the clean air! 

It occurred to me: why should we be afraid?  Our Father protects them during the raging storm!  I don’t understand how, but it is all part of His great design.  It was evidence of Him.  His care for All his creatures.  Everything else is just stuff.

Blessed that our home was spared major damage.  A missing downspout, a broken dock, a little water in our garage (the neighbors said there were waves in our driveway!), and a lot of yard debris…that’s it!  Our neighbors at the top of the hill were not so lucky.  A huge tree landed on their home.  I don’t think it penetrated the house, but I hear them clearing it away this morning.  Chainsaws.

Those who know me (and think I am nuts) know that I love the sound of chainsaws.  Why?  My dad was a tree surgeon.  The sound always makes me think of him.  He would have had lots of work to do here in our small town. 

I am Blessed beyond measure to have avoided major damage and flooding.  Thank You, Abba!  My Father who watches over the butterflies.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Water and Faith




I have been trying to get a handle on the symbolic meaning of water in the Bible.  It is a huge topic.  I have only begun to scratch the surface, but here is one insight that I have gleaned.

Listening to a teaching on Aleph Beta.org called Miriam and the Waters of Strife really spoke to me.  If you are premium members of this wonderful site for Hebrew teaching, look it up.  I will summarize some of the points that came together for me.

It seems that Miriam (sister of Aaron and Moses) was a model for faith.  She is called a prophetess!  Why?  Apparently, she had prophesied that her brother would save the Hebrew people!  When he was cast adrift by his mother on the river Nile, who remained nearby to watch?  Miriam!

Why is this significant?

Would you have been able to watch the demise of your 3 month old brother?  It seemed inevitable he would die.  He’d either perish by accident in the Nile, or the army of Pharaoh’s men would find him and deliberately toss him into the Nile with the same result: death by drowning. But Miriam was convinced her prophesy was correct, and although she couldn’t foresee how it would all come about, she had to watch to see what would happen next!

It had been commanded by Pharaoh that all male infants (even Egyptian ones! see footnote) should be drowned in the Nile to avoid the fulfillment of a prophesy that said an infant, born around the same time as Moses, would grow up to end Pharaoh’s reign.  The astrologers who made this prediction did not know if the child would be an Egyptian or Hebrew, so all male infants were condemned. [This is a familiar story that is echoed by Herod, but I digress]

We all know the ‘rest of the story,’ but as it happens, no one when these events transpired did.

That Pharaoh’s daughter would rescue and adopt the Hebrew child was a miracle!  It seems unlikely that the daughter of the King would risk his wrath by countermanding his express decree!  But, she did.  And because Miriam stood and watched, she was there to offer to find a suitable wet-nurse (conveniently his own mother!) to care for the child for Pharaoh’s daughter!

So, maybe the astrologers were onto something.  When they could not predict if the man who would kill Pharaoh was a Hebrew or an Egyptian, they were correct!  Moses grew up in the palace of the Pharaoh while his birth made him a Hebrew!  Wild, isn’t it?
Ok.  So what has all this to do with water?

The first connection is Miriam is there to watch the miracle of Moses being ‘drawn from the water’ (the meaning of his name) and rescue him by helping Pharaoh’s daughter.

Later on, after the exciting saga of the 10 plagues and the Hebrews spared from the death of the first born of man and animals by performing the first Passover sacrifice, they fled into the desert, loaded down with Egyptian treasure as if they had won a great victory!

Of course, this should have been the end and they lived happily ever after, right?  It so happens that Pharaoh changes his mind about letting them go and pursues them with all the chariots and men of war!

The Israelites were funneled into a dry river bed (identified in recent years as the Wadi Watir) and were unable to turn back (because the Egyptian army was there) and could not climb to the right or left because it was steep impassable terrain.  They had no choice but to forge ahead until they arrived on the bank of the Reed Sea (Gulf of Aqaba), usually translated as the Red Sea. 

Again, because we know the end of the story, some of the suspense is missing from the narrative.  Everyone has seen Cecil B. DeMille’s astonishing story of the Ten Commandments and the special effects that part the ‘Red Sea’ so the Israelites could cross to the other side.   We see the horrible aftermath (for the Egyptians) when they were drowned by that same sea when it returns to its normal condition.  Enemies vanquished, Israel saved, just in the nick of time! 

The significant thing to this event is how Moses dealt with the people before YHVH split the sea. 

The Hebrews were in a panic!  The situation is futile!  All is lost!  What choices are left?  They could die, be killed, surrender or cry out to YHVH…but Moses tells them to cease every one of those pursuits! 

He tells them, “Stand and Watch what YHVH will do.”   It’s an echo of Miriam!  It demonstrated faith that Father would indeed do something beyond what they could see themselves.  Something none of them could have even imagined!

Ironic, isn’t it?  Pharaoh condemned all the male children to death by drowning, and YHVH saved the Hebrews and drowned Pharaoh and his army instead.  The little child who was drawn out of the reeds of the Nile actually did fulfill the prediction of the Egyptian astrologers!  He grew up and Pharaoh, in fact, did die!  It was full-circle.  The child drawn from the reeds of the Nile led  his entire nation out of the Reed Sea!

When the Hebrews reached the other side and their enemies were vanquished, they sang loud songs of praise to YHVH!  But WAIT!  Miriam did something extraordinary!  She sang her own song of thanksgiving, the song of the sea!  She proclaimed that her faith in YHVH was justified! 

Once they reach the desert though, things start to get difficult!  Just one day later they are relieved to find an oasis of water…but it is BITTER!  Moses seeks advice from Father, and is instructed to throw a branch into the water and it became sweet!  Hurrah!  They are saved from thirst.

Then, there is another water crisis!  Most people will die of thirst after 3 days without water, so that was the situation.  It had been three days, and the people thirsted and sought Moses’ help.  He was instructed to strike a rock with his staff and water poured out.  Enough for several million: people and their flocks!

Oddly enough, we don’t hear that there is a water problem in the desert for the next forty years!  YHVH provided the Israelites with water and food (manna)!

Now comes the puzzle.  The topic sentence for the final water crisis is that Miriam died!  No mention is made that there was any mourning for her, but this report of her death immediately proceeds another water crisis!  This is the third time they have had an issue with needing water!

[According to ancient sages, the perpetual well that provided water for the Israelites in the desert was called Miriam’s Well.  Just let that sink in a minute.  Why would it be called Miriam’s Well?  Is that because it dried up when she died?  Although I don’t think it is called Miriam’s well in the Torah itself, I have no reason to doubt this account.  The Aleph Beta teaching (Miriam and the Waters of Strife) explains this in amazing terms that I will not repeat here.  Suffice to say that the Hebrew language provides ample proof!]

Now the event that is astonishing!  Moses again seeks advice from YHVH and is instructed to take his staff and ‘Speak to the Rock.’  Instead of asking politely, Moses has a bit of a melt-down.  Was he angry?  Overwhelmed?  Grief-stricken over Miriam’s death?  The text doesn’t really tell us why he loses his cool, but he makes this astonishing statement, “Hear now, you Rebels, shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”  Then, instead of speaking to the rock, he struck it!  Twice!

What’s the big deal about that?  It worked last time!  Water flowed, everyone was happy! 

Everyone except YHVH!

It so happens that Moses really blew it when he didn’t speak to the rock.  Father was so put out with him that he told him he would not be able to enter the promised land with the rest of the Hebrews. 

That just seems harsh!  Not only has his ticket to the Promised Land just been rescinded, Father won’t even let him discuss it!

 [Num 20:12 ] And Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, Because you did not believe in Me, to sanctify Me before the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring in this congregation to the land which I have given to them.

Well, I am glad He cleared that up!

Wait, what?  Not speaking to the rock didn’t demonstrate faith in YHVH?  It didn’t sanctify Him before the sons of Israel?  That’s why Moses couldn’t go into the land? 

Not only was he disappointed not to do the one thing he really wanted and expected, he couldn’t even petition for a hearing!  After everything he did in the past!  Didn’t he challenge Pharaoh?  Didn’t he lead everyone in the desert?  Didn’t he spend several trips up and down Mt. Sinai without food or water, just to deliver the Words to the Hebrews?  Didn’t he offer to die in their place when they sinned with the Golden Calf?  What?  Hitting the Rock was the worst thing!? I thought he was YHVH’s ‘favorite’ guy!?

I will leave you to ponder why this was the fate of Moses and direct you instead to the nugget of truth we see when we connect these events with Miriam.  Miriam had faith.  She had so much faith that she believed YHVH would do something beyond what she could see or imagine.  Moses demonstrated that faith when he told the Hebrews to stand and watch.  [Big Surprise!  The Sea parted and the Israelites crossed on dry land!  Who could have ever imagined that?]

Is that the clue?  By striking the rock, Moses forgot to just stand and watch.  He did not allow the Father to demonstrate that everything we have, including water in the desert, comes from Him. 

He is the Doer of the impossible.  When we look with our own eyes, we cannot see the miracle that He can perform.  We limit Him and we don’t fully trust Him!  When we rely on our eyes or our actions instead of trusting, we demonstrate a lack of faith.  Faith that was a type and shadow of Miriam.

Now for a real-life current example of faith in the face of ‘certain’ death.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with what was (according to the doctor’s and catastrophic test markers) certainly cancer.  We were all concerned for her.  We all prayed for her.  And through it all she smiled.  She was absolutely at peace with the situation.  We all thought the worst!  The doctor’s and tests proclaimed the worst!  But she remained calm and even stated that she looked forward to seeing what GOD was going to do!  She was ‘excited for the journey ahead.’

And guess what?  Surgery found no cancer.  Her test numbers went from catastrophic to normal.  Her doctors were thunderstruck! 

Was it a miracle?  I believe so.  But, the thing that is amazing is that my friend believed that Father would do something beyond what any of us could have imagined or thought! 

She is my real-life example of Miriam.  She stood and watched.



Footnote: From transcript of Miriam and the Waters of Strife (Fohrman)
"Another interesting Midrash about Pharaoh at the time; if you look carefully it says that Pharaoh's initial plan is to have the midwives surreptitiously kill the baby boys when they're born. When that doesn't work he says; Vayetzav Paraoh l'kol amo leimor kol ha'ben hayilod ha'yeorah tashlichuhu - ALL baby children from Jews shall you throw in the water and the daughters you should allow to live. The Midrash says; Kol - and by the way, it doesn't mention here Jews, it says; Kol ha'ben hayilod - any male child, period, you shall throw in the water. The Midrash says that on that day Pharaoh had decreed that all male children - Egyptian or Jewish - be thrown into the Nile. Why? Because his astrologers once again, the Sages say, had told him that the day had come when the child that was going to save the Jews would be born, but we cannot tell you whether he is an Egyptian or a Jew. We don't know. "

Exo 1:22  And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.