Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Have you ever gone through a period in your life where everything just seems to go wrong? Like life is against you, and God has abandoned you? Although we know this is not true and He never abandons us, we sometimes feel this way. Even the things that used to make you happy don’t seem to have quite the same effect anymore. We just feel miserable and like life is one big struggle.
This happens when the waters inside of us turn bitter, and bitter waters are a result of trauma. As a trauma counsellor, I know that we have all gone through some form of trauma in our lives, whether it is something low on the trauma scale, or high on the trauma scale. We all suffer disappointments, betrayals, hurt, fear, etc.
Let’s delve a little deeper into what the Word of God says about trauma, and how it effects our perception of life. To do that, I want us to go back to the account of the Israelites at Mara. Keep in mind that they just came through generations of abuse, where they were slaves in Egypt. Not only years of oppression and slavery, but also the systematic killing of their baby boys. I think it would be hard to really imagine the kind of trauma and generational trauma that they experienced by this time when they reached the waters of Mara.
23 Then they came to Marah, but they could not drink its waters because they were [a]bitter; therefore it was named Marah (bitter).
Rabbi Fohrman from Aleph Beta does an excellent teaching on this! And he asks a very valid question: have you ever read this passage and considered how unkind of God it was to bring these thirsty people to water that He surely must have known were bitter?
The answer is simple, even in the Hebrew text it reads: “but they could not drink its waters because they were bitter”. It was not the water that was bitter, it was the people! But because of their bitterness, they could only taste bitterness when they drank the water.
We have already mentioned that bitterness is a by-product of trauma, so we can hardly blame them for being bitter. But the LORD allowed them to confront their own state of bitterness early in the wilderness journey, because He needed them to deal with it before they could move on. That is so true in our own lives as well, if we do not confront our own bitterness, and do not deal with it, we get stuck at Mara.
24 The people [grew discontented and] grumbled at Moses, saying, “What are we going to drink?”
This shows us that not only will the bitterness take away the sweet in our lives, but it will also cause us to turn against God, to become discontent with what we have, and to complain about our circumstances, missing all the blessing and provision we already have in our lives.
Bitterness changes our focus from what we have to be grateful for, to what we perceive to be missing in our lives. And this is a dangerous place to find yourself in. I want you to pause for a second and reflect on where you are grumbling in your own life for what you feel you “deserve” but do not have, instead of thanking the Heavenly Father for all the blessings you do have.
It is a simple matter of changing your focus.
25 Then he cried to the Lord [for help], and the Lord showed him a tree, [a branch of] which he threw into the waters, and the waters became sweet.
So, what do we do about our state of bitterness, about our trauma and hurt that brought about the bitterness? There is only one answer. The world may turn to things that bring short-lived relief, but the long term, permanent remedy is the Cross. The tree we see in Exodus 15:25 is a prophetic picture of the cross that our Messiah died on. He already paid the full price, but it is our choice if we will nurture our bitterness and allow it to grow to full fruition, or if we will submit it to the cross, and allow Him to heal us.
Only once we submit our hurt to the cross, and we decide to forgive, as we ourselves were forgiven, can He turn the bitter waters inside of us into Living Waters that become sweet.
He can restore any trauma so that we are not stuck in the past but can move on to taste the sweetness and goodness of life.
There the Lord made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there [b]He tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen and pay attention to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and listen to His commandments, and keep [foremost in your thoughts and actively obey] all His precepts and statutes, then I will not put on you any of the diseases which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am the [c]Lord who heals you.”
We know that there are different references in Scripture that tell us that we live in a broken world, but that God also allows trials and tribulations to come, because it is His way of testing us.
It is during the trials and tribulations of our lives that we build character, and Godly fruit. It is often also the difficult times that cause us to turn back to Him with repentance and return to the way He commands us to live. These tuff times cultivate a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father, if we allow it.
This is also the first time that God reveals Himself as YHWH Rapha, God our Healer. He draws our attention to the direct link between bitterness (trauma) and disease. We see this every day with clients that come for Quantum Sessions. As soon as we deal with the trauma in the body, the physical symptoms and ailments go away, because physical symptoms are just a way for the body to communicate that there is trauma that needs healing. Or repentance that is outstanding.
I want to encourage you to ask the LORD to reveal to you if there is any bitterness in your life that you need to deal with. Because our bitterness can infect others.
Complete Jewish Bible
14 Keep pursuing shalom with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses out on God’s grace, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and thus contaminates many,
There are many Bible verses about bitterness and the root of bitterness. But as we see here in Hebrews, just like with the Israelites in Exodus, bitterness can contaminate others. The only antidote is to apply the blood of the Lamb. By forgiving others, and letting go of offenses, by allowing Yeshua to touch the deepest wounds of pain and offence, He can bring healing and turn the bitter waters inside us to sweet water again.
Common Signs of Bitterness:
· You have imaginary conversations with the people that hurt you where you tell them exactly what you think / feel
· You replay a conversation or experience over and over in your mind
· You feel the need to tell someone what he/she did (gossip)
· You are easily offended
· You can remember details of what he/she did from months or years ago
· You are keeping a list of offenses / holding a grudge
· Recurring negative feelings toward people or situations that hurt you
· Feelings of regret or remorse
· Fear or avoidance
· To generalize
· Struggling to accept advice
Now let’s look at the Living Waters. Because we know that in John 7:37-38 Yeshua says: ““If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to Me and drinking! Whoever puts his trust in Me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being!”
From this scripture we can see that inside of each one of us there are waters, spiritual waters and interestingly enough, physically we are also made up of mostly water!
“Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.”
When we deal with trauma in the body, we often ask the LORD to release the trauma from the cellular memory in the body, and I would like to propose that much of our trauma is actually stuck in the water molecules that make up our physical bodies.
What is Living Water? Living Water is a term that we find in both the Old and New Testament, in Jeremiah 17:13 the Word says, “because they have abandoned ADONAI, the source of Living Water”.
Part of our inheritance in Yeshua is to drink from Him, and to be filled with Living Waters.
Complete Jewish Bible
3 Then you will joyfully draw water from the springs of salvation.
Remember that in Hebrew the word for Salvation is Yeshua!
Yeshua Himself alluded to this in John 7.
May He touch the deepest wounds and trauma in you, so that you may truly experience Him as YHWH Rapha, your healer. And may He turn the bitter waters in your body, soul and spirit, into springs of sweet living waters!
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Who is The Coach accountable to?
We have had this question more often in the recent months and decided to provide our statement on covering and accountability.
1) Our first form of accountability and our ultimate spiritual authority is under YHWH Elohim, we submit under Him and His Word of truth.
Complete Jewish Bible
22 For Adonai is our judge, Adonai is our lawgiver, Adonai is our king. He will save us.
2) Secondly, we submit under our husbands, as the LORD says in:
Complete Jewish Bible
22 Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord;
3) It is very important for any ministry to allow counsel as well as accountability. This if formed through trust, and one would usually submit under someone who takes on the role of a shepherd, who guides with their wisdom and is older and more mature in the LORD.
Complete Jewish Bible
17 He who observes discipline is on the way to life; but he who ignores correction is making a mistake.
Our Spiritual Shepherds are El Roi Ministries, who consist of Christo and Leonie Bester (Cape Town) and Herman and Elna Kleynhans (Pretoria).