When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah. -Exodus 15:23
Dear members and friends,
After their glorious celebration of crossing the Red Sea, Moses and the Israelites marched on their journey probably hoping and expecting their path to be paved by divine protection and blessing. However, they soon encountered something unexpected in Marah where they could not drink the water because it was bitter. They complained to Moses who then cried out to God. Thus, God made the bitter water sweet.
Swedenborg explains that the bitterness of the water at Marah symbolizes the bitterness of truth when we first encounter it. The irony is that people desire and seek truth, but when they find it, they are often hesitant to embrace it. According to Swedenborg, this is because truth illuminates a dark spot within ourselves. The purpose of truth, Swedenborg explains, is to illuminate this dark spot and lead us toward needed change and growth. The problem is that we have been living with the dark spot for a long time – just as the Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years – and thus life as we know it is familiar and favorable, while change might feel uncertain and risky. Consequently, reforming the dark spot is not just about changing a small little thing in our life, but often changing our way of life, especially how we find pleasures in life.
Jesus Christ taught the truth that the kingdom of heaven and its joy is real. And Swedenborg affirms and confirms that message through his mystical visions and experiences of the spiritual realm. The most crucial aspect of Swedenborg’s sharing is that heaven is not a place to enter, but a state of being that should be formed within ourselves through our journey through life on earth.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee