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Water in the wilderness

From the March 1994 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Have you ever seen pictures of the Sinai Peninsula, where the children of Israel journeyed for forty years? The landscape is often stark: barren, arid, and desolate. Moses had urged the Israelites to leave Egypt and their life of bondage and to follow him to Canaan, to the land that God had promised to Abraham and his descendants forever. God described this land to Moses as one that flowed with milk and honey. The wilderness of Sinai lay between Egypt and their new home.

This journey proved to be a spiritual trek. They were taken from a state of dependency, or enslavement in matter, to a growing recognition of the abundance of Spirit, to the affluence of Life and Love that was theirs as the children of God. Their finite sense of being needed to yield to a recognition of infinity.

While beauty can be discerned in the severe landscape of the Sinai, it was an incredibly bleak place to live. The book of Deuteronomy describes it as a "waste howling wilderness."
 Deut. 32:10. The weaning from matter that the children of Israel went through was not easy. Before the recognition of the absolute dependability of God put down firm roots in their thought, they were challenged by the desolation of the wilderness and their fears of deprivation. At times, fidelity to God appeared to be life-threatening. A return to Egypt was alluring because life's necessities—lodging, food, and drink—however poor and meager, were somewhat dependable. It was in this inhospitable environment, however, that the glory of God was revealed. Here the power and holiness of God became apparent through His law, the Commandments. The sense of matter's necessity was deposed, and the supremacy of Spirit was revealed and proved.

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