“The Prayer For (mayim) Water” Num. 21:16
“And from there they went to Beer that is the well whereof the LORD spoke to Moses; “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” Num. 21:16
Remember, back in v.5 they were complaining against Moses and God, because their soul loathed the light bread (manna) and because there was NO water, NO (mayim). So God said, “Gather the people and I will give them water.” Now, where are they? Somewhere in the desert wilderness below the Dead Sea, below the borders of Moab and the Arnon River, wandering, fighting serpents, which are nocturnal by the way and picking up (manna) on their knees in the dark before the sun comes up so they can eat, one quart for every member of their families. They complained to God, so He decided to send some poisonous snakes along to make the journey and (manna) picking a little more meaningful for them!
So, now He gives them some water, a lot of water, enough for 2.5 – 3 million people so they decided to sing Him a song instead of complaining, v.17 & 18: Then Israel sang this song- “Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it- the well the leaders sank; Dug by the nation’s nobles; By the lawgiver, with their slaves.” Wow! What a different attitude a few snake bites will give you, Amen? That was weak! From a bunch of grumbling grump-bumps to a praising choir of angels, singing the Hallelujah chorus for a glass of (mayim) water.
Now, where was this well, “whereof the LORD spoke unto Moses?” The word ‘Beer’ only appears twice in the scriptures by itself, here in Numbers 21:16 and also in Judges 9:21 where Jotham fled and hid himself from his brother Abimelech. Both of them are referred to as places or towns, and are capitalized, ‘Beer.’ In my humble but accurate opinion (tongue in cheek) I believe Moses may be referring to the well where he met Reuel’s daughters and protected them from the shepherds. He had run away from Pharaoh after killing an Egyptian for smiting a Hebrew one of his brethren in Exodus 2:11-13. In Exodus 2:15 he is in the land of Midian, Northern Saudi Arabia, “And he sat down by a well.” When the seven daughters of Reuel the priest of Midian came to water their sheep. It sounds very much like Rebekah in Gen. 24 with Eliezer. If this isn’t the occasion or the ‘well’ where the LORD spoke to Moses and they had prayer, then you will be hard pressed to find me another. This well is also west of Hebron just like Judges 9:21 tells us.
Some think it is “Beer-sheba” (The well of the seven fold oath) in Gen. 21:31. Here Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant for a well and Abraham gives him ‘seven ewe lambs,’ seven young female lambs, to seal the covenant, v.30. So, from then on ‘Beer-Sheba’ was known as, “The Well of The Oath.” Then Abraham planted a Tamarisk Tree and called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God, El Olam, the God who watches over everlasting things; So a covenant with God is everlasting! That is why in our marriage covenant we say, “Till death do us part!” At least we used to say it, now they are marriage contracts.
When Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away in Gen. 21:14 they wandered in the wilderness of Bath-Sheba, it was the area. Isaac was three years old when he was weaned and a party was thrown for him, and Ishmael was 17/18 and he was mocking (tsa-khak) laughing, jesting, making sport, v.9, so they were run off. They ran out of food and water in the wilderness and Hagar put Ishmael far away from her, a bow shot away as not to see him die and lifted up her voice and wept or wailed. However, God heard the voice of the lad, who was praying to YeHoVaH. Abraham taught Ishmael how to worship, sacrifice and pray; he taught him about the one true God for 18 years before sending him away and God heard his voice and sent “the angel of God” to Hagar “saying, “what aileth thee Hagar?” “For God has heard the voice of the lad!” And Notice v.19, “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” The well of water was there the whole time, but prayer opened her eyes so she could see it and benefit from it. Just like the ram on Mt. Moriah in Gen. 22, it was already there waiting for Abraham and Isaac, but prayer opens our eyes so we can see God’s provision right in front of us and drink from His cup. Hagar gets Ishmael a wife from Egypt and Ismael becomes a ‘Great Archer’ v.20 (rabah– to grow great; kash-shath, bowman, archer) In fact he became the greatest archer in the Bible as far as I know
The spiritual order here in Numbers 21 is beautiful: You see the atonement in v.8-9 as it is fulfilled in John 3:14-15 in Jesus Christ; Then you see the water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit bestowed on the children of Israel in v.16, fulfilled in John 7:37-39 on ‘Hoshanah Rabbah’ the last day, the great day of the Feast of Tabernacles; a day of Joy in v.17-18, with Israel singing to the LORD, this is seen in Rom. 14:7, “For the kingdom of god is not food and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” And last of all we see power in v.21-24 with Sihon king of the Amorites who refused to let them pass through his land and was wiped out and became a meaningless proverb! After that they took on Og King of Bashan, the remnant of the giants, Dt. 3:11, 2:10-11, 20-21; 3:4: The ‘Bulls of Bashan’ show up in Ps.22 at the Cross on Calvary, huge, demonically possessed spirits. No, I am not going to try and figure all of this out along with Isa. 14:9 and the Rephaim in the Netherland, Prov. 9:18; Job 26:5-6, This is the ‘Nether World’ and its not where Peter Pan lives but its where I prefer not to let my mind wander. I asked a Rabbi friend one day in a Synagogue, “what happens to you when you die?” He said, “we go to the Netherland, the under world with the Rephaim.” That sent chills up my spine. But here is Moses fighting Og the king of Bashan, and the bulls of Bashan the last of these half man, half demon beings.. or are they the last? Till next time, I’ll see you, “…Between The Lines…”
“The Prayer for (mayim) Water” Num. 21:16 – 8/3/16