In Exodus 17 the Israelites again ran out of water and are ready to stone Moses if he didn’t give them water right away, and again God gives them water miraculously, but again the location gets a telling name, it was called “test” and “arguing”. I really wonder what the names of some of the locations in our lives would be called? Would your living room be named “disobedient”, or would your kitchen be named “hateful”? Would your office be named “gossip”? Would our churches be called “whitewashed tombs” if God was in charge of putting the letters in the sign on the road? The way that we treat others can be a test, and every time we fail those tests, or do not trust in God, or grumble and complain about things it puts up big red signs all over the place and those outside of the church can see them.
Luckily in Mark 5 we have examples of extraordinary faith and the blessings that followed.
25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
31 His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”
I am sure many of you are familiar with my Mom, Beth Mattison, and her battle with cancer from 2016 to 2020. She had faith in God completely and we all prayed hard for her, and I firmly believe that God answered our prayers and helped reduce her cancer in 2016 when things did not look good, and he gave us four extra years with her and let her meet her children’s spouses and see her first grandchild. God honors faith in this life, and ultimately he will reward our faith in him during his Kingdom.
Later we see several examples of people not seeing God at work around them, with Jesus’ neighbors not believing in him because they knew his family. We then have another incident on water.
47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning[i] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here![j]” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
During my Mom’s fight with cancer it would have been very easy for us to grumble or complain, or not see God at work, but it is important to soften our hearts and trust in God and see him at work around us.