Exodus 15:22 – 27

God tests by laying down a conditional clause:  If you … then I …  We have the luxury of looking back through history.  We know that these deals that God offers his people are rarely kept by them.  God so often tests in the Old testament and shows us the frail, fickle nature of human kind.  While they are panting for water, God promises to keep them from disease if they follow him.  I presume that they thought that was a deal.  However, we know they were unfaithful.  It is after God has their complete attention through thirst that he brings them to refreshing waters.

Exodus 15: 22-27

 22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. [a] ) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

 25 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 sweet.
      There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.


  1. Where did Moses lead the people after the Red Sea?
  2. What is wrong with the water of Marah?
  3. What is good about the waters of Elim?
  4. How does physical thirst focus the spirit?
  5. How have you been made thirsty for God?  What did God teach you in those times?

Going Deeper


  • How long did the people go without water in the desert of Shur?
  • When the people grumbled what did they say?
  • What did the LORD show Moses?
  • What verbs describe what the people must do for God?
  • How is Elim’s bounty described?


  • Where is Shur?
  • Where is Marah?
  • Where is Elim?
  • Is it wrong to complain after becoming thirsty?
  • What are the diseases that God brought on the Egyptians?


  • When have you been in a real desert?  How did you feel?
  • When have you been in a figurative desert?  What came to mind?
  • Why are people taken through wilderness experiences?
  • What conditional clauses does God give us?
  • What refreshes your soul?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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