The people of Israel journeyed from Beeroth Bene-jaakan to Moserah. There Aaron died, and there he was buried. And his son Eleazar ministered as priest in his place. From there they journeyed to Gudgodah, and from Gudgodah to Jotbathah, a land with brooks of water. At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord to stand before the Lord to minister to him and to bless in his name, to this day. Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers. The Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him. “I myself stayed on the mountain, as at the first time, forty days and forty nights, and the Lord listened to me that time also. The Lord was unwilling to destroy you. And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go on your journey at the head of the people, so that they may go in and possess the land, which I swore to their fathers to give them.’ – Deuteronomy 10:6-11
The Israelites have gone from the desert wilderness of Hagar’s hidden wells to the land of brooks of water in this passage. This is a metaphor for the relationship transformation between God and the Israelites. They went from relying on God for everything including food (manna) and water (from rock) to a land where water flowed constantly — there was no longer a need to rely daily on God if one is living in land of “brooks of water”.
The preceding passages described the reestablishing of the ten commandments to replace the ones that were broken when Moses descended from the mountain to find the Israelites worshipping an idol. God is interested in reestablishing a covenant, while the Israelites seem to be content to access the brooks of water rather than the living water offered by God.
Why is the provision of hidden wells and water from rock less palatable to the Israelites than “brooks of water”? Why do we prefer the equivalent of “brooks of water” — a regular paycheck and security over the dynamic adventure to which God invites us when he asks us to follow Him?
From a scientific point of view the wells are a better source of water than the brooks of water that are preferred by the Israelites. The very ease of access of the brooks makes them prone to contamination from other animals and people using the water.
It seems there is a life lesson here. Things that are easy and regular are sometimes deadly for our souls. For example, regular forms of worship and traditions can become comfortable coffins for our souls if they replace a dynamic and vibrant relationship with God. A relationship based on total dependence on God rather than dependence on “brooks of water”.
Prayer: God help us to rely on your provision for our lives and welcome the adventure and dynamic relationship that You want for us.