1. Trial – Desert of Bitterness

After the Israelites came out of Egypt and crossed the Red sea, Moses held a powerful praise service where they sang joyfully unto the Lord. The number of Israelites who came out of Egypt is believed to be around 2.4 million. Read Exodus Chapter 14 & 15


Immediately after such a celebration of victory and praise unto the Lord, the Israelites suffered 3 days without water. When they finally come to a place called Marah, they found the water there bitter and they could not drink. And they became bitter themselves.

Exodus 15:22-23 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.


Bitterness leads to hardened heart, rebellion, unbelief (against God’s will), and heart going astray

Psalm 95:6-11 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”  (Also read Hebrews 3:1-15)


Bitter place leads us into bitterness, and bitterness causes trouble and defile many

Hebrews 12:14-15 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Signs of bitterness – 5 Cs

  • Cynical – Lack of trust
  • Critical – Hold grudges, take things personal
  • Comparison – Insecurity, thinking that people are always out to get you
  • Competitive – Leads to Jealousy (difficulty in rejoicing with people)
    • Always feel the need to prove yourself, therefore tries very hard
    • Attention seeking, get upset when someone else got the attention
  • Control – play victim, unreliable


Signs of Sweetness – SEARCH

  • Secure, Empowering, Affirming, Reliable, Compliment, Hopeful


Bitter people can never be happy and can never enter rest. Let us choose to be sweet



  1. Tree – Tree of Sweetness

Exodus 15:24-25 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them

  • The people complained against Moses was as good as complaining against God
  • Moses responded by crying out to God, and God provided in the least expected way
  • God has planted the tree before the people got bitter and angry, but they did not take notice of it
  • When Moses throw the tree (wood in other Bible translation) into the water, the water turned sweet, like how Jesus cleansed our sins


Exodus 15:26, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

  • He introduced Himself as Jehovah-Rapha (Healer) by demonstrating His power over the most common disease from which His children would suffer – bitterness.
  • The first healing is not physical, but is the healing of the heart of bitterness
  • When you experience bitterness, the only way to heal is through God
  • He tells us countless times to come to Him all who are thirsty


When we face difficulties, cry out to God over our situation instead of complaining, for He will provide


  1. Triumph – Triumphant in Jesus

Exodus 15:27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters

  • 12 Springs (Wells of water) corresponding to the 12 Tribes of Israel
  • 70 palm trees corresponding to the 70 Elders
  • The wells of water and palm trees speak of refreshment, an oasis in the desert


God did not ask the people to stay on at Mara where the water has been made sweet

  • God wanted them to move on to a better place, Move on from Mara to Mathaq


John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”


Do not get bitter and remain bitter, move on to Mathaq

  • Don’t stop at Egypt, move on and cross your red sea
  • Don’t stop at the other side of the red sea, move on to Mara
  • Don’t stop at Mara with sweetened water, move on to the 12 wells of water and the 70 Palm trees
  • Don’t stop at 12 wells of water and 70 Palm trees, move on to the place flowing with milk and honey
  • Don’t stop at the place flowing with milk and honey, move on to the glorious Kingdom of Heaven
  • God wants us to have our lives sweetened for His glory


There will be trials in our lives, don’t stop at Mara, Move on to Mathaq, and God will provide