Posts Tagged With: Bride

Chodesh Elul 2018

This post is a little early for the upcoming month of Elul, but I have already transitioned my notes into an article. I look forward to hearing what Abba is telling you this year!

  • Month 6 (12thor last month on civil calendar)
  • Tribe: Gad, meaning “an invading troop”
  • Mazel: Betulah or Woman, the Virgin or Virgo
  • Sense: Action To act requires both thought and deed. It connects the head (thought/speech) to the arm/hand (fruit/deeds) and the feet (one’s walk).

Questions to ponder from last month, Av:

  1. Did you fight major spiritual warfare from Tammuz 17th– Av 9th?
  2. Were these battles particularly to prevent some type of destruction in a family, assembly, physical body, or physical house (all types of the Temple)?
  3. Did you experience a shift or release after the 9thof Av (Tisha B’Av)?
  4. Have you experienced some comfort from the Father (doesn’t mean that the test or trial is over) on or after the 15thof Av (Tu B’Av)?
  5. Were you tested in “hearing”? (See this post for clarity.)

Chodesh Elul

As the sixth month, expect to see parallels to day six of creation, and other implications of six. See my post on numbers, for more themes that relate to the number six.

Just as Friday, the sixth day, is the preparation day for the coming seventh day Shabbat, Elul, the sixth month, is the preparation for the seventh month, Tishrei. Not surprisingly, the sense for the month of Elul is action. One needs to act. And, one acts out what they really believe. Preparation certainly requires action in thought, word, and deed.

This is the month to prepare for the upcoming High Holy Days and Sukkot. While it is necessary to make physical arrangements to celebrate the fall festivals, the primary preparation is inward and spiritual, one of the heart.

The idea of organization and preparation correlates perfectly with the tribe of Elul: Gad. Gad was the seventh son born to Jacob. Seven is the letter zayin, which looks like a plowshare or a sword. Shabbat and other sevens are tools for harvest AND instruments of war. Gad means “an invading troop.” Compare the blessings of Jacob and Moses for this tribe:

Gen. 49:19 (TLV) Gad—attackers will attack him, but he will attack their heels.

Dt. 33:20-21 (TLV) For Gad he said, ‘Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad. Like a lion he crouches, and tears off an arm or even the crown of a head.  21 He chose the best for himself, for there a marked portion was reserved. He came with the heads of the people. He carried out Adonai’s justice and His judgments for Israel.’

Gad is tribe of war. 1 Chronicles 5:18 describes them as “men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and were skillful in battle.” It requires great preparation and organization to amass a troop and train them for combat. Gadites know where to strike, because they have trained well. They attack the heel (lower nature/nephesh/appetites/ego), the arm (deeds/power/strength), and the head (the source, leader, authority). When David fled from King Saul, the mighty men of Gad joined him in the wilderness. 1 Chronicles 12:8 describes them this way:

From the Gadites there came over to David in the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for war, who could handle shield and spear, and whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains. (NASB)

How does the month of teshuvah or repentance relate to this aspect of the tribe of Gad? Each day of this month, leading up to Yom Kippur is a training day. There is a battle, but it is not necessarily with an external enemy. The preparation of Elul is a time to search the depths of one’s heel (nephesh), arm (power- intentions and actions), and head (are you at the helm or is Elohim?).

Such great battle tactics might seem excessive for searching or judging one’s self, but in my experience (both personal and observing others) SELF is the last place most people desire to search, examine, and judge. It’s much easier to point the finger and blame others or one’s circumstances for bad behavior. This is the question that six (especially day six of creation) asks of us. Are you a beast or are you a man/woman made in the image of Elohim? In the sixth month, the same question is posited as one prepares for the High Holy Days.

Symbol of Gad

Last month (Av), we mourned the destruction of the Temple, the House of God. The second Temple was destroyed because of “baseless hatred among brothers.” The political climate in the U.S. is alarming. How people treat others in general is out of control. The golden rule has been left in the dust. It is time to consider what we say (or type) about other people, regardless of their actions or words. This isn’t a call to stick one’s head in the sand or to subvert justice; rather, it is a call to treat other people (even enemies) as those made in the image of Elohim. They are His shadow in the earth, even when they aren’t acting like it. We can speak of and to them with honor and respect, and do so without condoning a wicked behavior.

I’m working on a series about lashon hara, or proper speech. The mouth or tongue is an unruly member that can quickly send one on a spiral of chaos and destruction. With the tongue (or keyboard), we have become murderers, accusers of the brethren. During Elul, we have an opportunity to make amends with those we have offended before we reach the altar on Yom Kippur.

Mat. 5:21-24 (TLV) “You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna. 23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Lamentations says, “Let us examine and test our ways, and let us return to Adonai.” (3:40 TLV) That is the heart of Elul. Self examination, deep introspection, and yes, judging one’s own heart, is the 40 step process during the days of teshuvah. I wonder if we can avoid looking at other’s sins for forty whole days while we clean our own house? This is true preparation for the seventh month, and also the “turn of the year[1]” on the civil calendar. It’s as if one is getting ready to enter a new time, a new realm, a new day… that’s because beginning with Rosh Hashanah (the Hidden Day), the head of the year[2], we are!

The Torah portions that fall during the month of Elul mirror this conclusion. They are Shoftim (Judges), Ki Tetze (When You Go Forth), Ki Tavo (When You Come In), and Nitzavim (Standing). Judges, when you go forth, when you come in, stand. These portions give disciples instruction for the Season of Teshuvah. (Collectively, this is Deuteronomy 16:18 – 30:20) The highlights from each section or portion[3], will inform a careful eye with the themes for the month Elul. These are things that you will battle with and walk through as you prepare for the fall feasts. Here is a sample:

  1. Adonai expects His people to set up righteous judges that will execute righteous judgement. The people are expected to obey their rulings.
  2. A prophet like unto Moses will arise, look for Him, but also beware of false prophets.
  3. Laws for cities of refuge and the accidental man slayer. (More on this below.)
  4. How to deal with false witnesses.
  5. Rules of warfare, mind the fruit trees (people), and respect the female captives.
  6. Laws concerning sexual immorality, and falsely accusing one’s virgin bride.
  7. Laws concerning divorce and levirate marriage.
  8. Offering firstfruits and tithes.
  9. Mount Ebal – curses and blessings.
  10. Covenant renewed at Moab.
  11. Repentance & Forgiveness
  12. Choice of Life or Death.

These portions cover a lot of territory, but if you look closely, they are a microcosm of our journey! The cities of refuge jumped out this year in relation to Elul. Three cities are to be in the Land He is giving them to possess and three more when He expands their territory for a total of six. Elul is the sixth month. In Chassidic teachings, Elul is the city of refuge in the yearly cycle. The thinking behind this is that we are ALL guilty of being a “man-slayer.” (Didn’t Yeshua say as much in Matthew 5:43-48? See also Proverbs 18:21) Whether we realize it or not, we have killed ourselves and others… with words. (Action)

It is in this season, a space in time if you will, that we contemplate past thoughts, words, and deeds, and rectify wrong doing through heartfelt repentance. In this safe place (in time), a city of refuge, one can truly get to know what is in their heart– the good, the bad, and the ugly. In tradition, the King is said to be in the field during Elul. This implies that He is approachable and near, not as a harsh judge on the throne, but as a loving and compassionate Father ready to receive His prodigal child. Thus, Elul is also called the month of mercy and the month of forgiveness.

What to Expect in Elul

There is warfare in Elul, but it should be with your own heart. Outside enemies (spirits) will seek to distract or divert one’s attention away from self-examination. This will be especially true on “social media.” Every year at this season, hot debates pop up with people making strong judgments (shoftim) about the “correct” calendar, the names, proper observance, fasting or not fasting on Yom Kippur, and more. Whether or not the intention is to flare up flesh and emotions, the result is the same. Be a Gadite! Don’t fall for it! The focus of these issues is NOT one’s heart and repentance or making amends between brothers. It is a deception. Reread the highlights of the Torah portions. The chaos will fall into one of those categories, and the portion teaches you how to deal with it.

In reality, the many outside distractions are a flimsy fig leave trying to cover the thing we all hate to deal with – self. The root problem is the same issue the first Adam had: Fear. Hearing the voice of Adonai walking in the garden strikes fear in the heart of those that know they are naked before Him. Don’t listen to the voice of fear.

Is. 54:4-5 (NASB) “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. 5 “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.

It’s the season to exchange the fig leave with a new garment provided by Adonai. Let the Holy Spirit do the work of refining, even with fire.

2 Cor. 5:1-5, 10 (NASB) For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge… 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Who doesn’t want to be washed and renewed to don fine white linen garments, like a virgin bride? Perhaps, this is why Adonai placed the betulah or virgin as the mazel to appear in the heavens at this season. The Bride makes herself ready (preparation) before the coming scales of justice in Tishrei (Libra).

In the Torah portions this month, there is a warning to those that falsely accuse a virgin bride. She has a cloth garment with the evidence of blood that proves she is innocent. Beloved, if you are Messiah’s, so do you. BUT, so is your believing/faithful neighbor, even if you disagree on certain points of halachah. Be careful with your accusations. It is the duty of the Ruach HaKodesh to bring each to the place of groaning as He refines one as heavenly gold. No one gets to escape His process of sanctification, which is the point of the festivals. Have compassion for one another as we travail together.

Virgin daughters of Zion, your King is Coming to you! May your righteous acts, the sense for the month of Elul, be bright and clean fine linen at His return at the fall feasts!

Rev. 19:6-9 (NASB) Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”  8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

For more on Elul:

Elul

The Vinedresser, the True Vine, and the Branches

A Woman Will Encompass (Eclipse) a Man

 


 

[1]How do we know that the turn or change of the year occurs in the fall? Ask Moses. He gives at least five witnesses (see 5thone in footnote 2):

Ex. 23:16 (KJV)  And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

Ex. 34:22 (TLV) “You are to observe the Feast of Shavuot, which is the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, as well as the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

Dt. 14:28 (NASB)  “At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. (Context of previous verses places this in the fall.)

Dt. 31:10-11 (NASB)  Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths,  11  when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing.

[2]For those that take issue with the use of the Rabbinical idea of the Feast of Trumpets being dubbed Rosh Hashanah, please see the above footnote. Two of the quotes are from the book of Exodus, which also tells us:

Ex. 12:1-2 (KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Verse two doesn’t call Nisan or Aviv the “Head of the Year” or “Rosh Hashanah.” Instead, it calls Nisan the “Head of the Months” or “Rosh Chodeshim.” It shall be the first (rishon) month (chodesh) of the year (shana) to you. I know this irks the Greek, western mindset. I know this because it used to irk me too, lol. But Abba has broadened my understanding, especially with seeming paradoxes such as this. Regardless of your stance on this topic, it is perfectly acceptable in Hebraic thought and in Biblical interpretation to believe (like classic Judaism) that Adonai continued to mark the “year’s” turn or change in the fall, as Moses goes on to do in Exodus 23 and 34 and in Deuteronomy 14 and 31. One can believe this and yet still believe that He marked the head or start for the months in the spring. The four verses in footnote 1 and the Yovel (Jubliee –Lev. 25:8-11) beginning on Yom Kippur, all point to the change and renewal of the shanim (years) in the fall, or seventh month. The question isn’t which is it, spring or fall; rather the answer is yes – both! I love Hebrew thought! It’s so freeing! If this is struggle for you, I pray that your heart and mind are enlarged like Gad.

[3]I love the outline that First Fruits of Zion creates for the weekly Torah portions: https://torahportions.ffoz.org/torah-portions/. (If you use their outline, there is a mistake/typo with Nitzavim as of this writing. The outline listed is actually for the following portion, Vayelech.)

 

Categories: Moedim, new moon, Torah Portions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A Woman Will Encompass (Eclipse) a Man

“Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—A woman will encompass a man.” (Jer. 31:21-22 NASB)

 Today, like many other Americans, I watched the moon eclipse the sun in a stunning show of light and darkness. Our special glasses enabled us to watch the sun mimic the moon’s monthly phases in a matter of hours– waxing and waning, or in this case, waning and then waxing.

In the hour leading up to the eclipse as the light decreased upon the land, we all felt strange — like we were in a dream. The air felt different and the temperature began to noticeably drop. There was an otherworldly stillness even in the wind.[1] Since we never experience the sun’s light in this fashion, I can understand why ancient people considered a total solar eclipse to be a bad omen. Creation itself was confused as birds went to roost and crickets began to chirp. Even the fast paced to and fro of traffic stilled as drivers parked to look up.

© Chris Rogers

When the eclipse reached totality, the spectacular imagery felt at once awesome and eerie. There is something at the core of earth beings that senses the “wrongness” of darkness when it should be light. The ethereal beauty that the natural eye absorbs seems contrary to the subliminal implications that this heavenly sign might suggest. The change in the atmosphere occurred on both a physical and spiritual level.

The masses that gathered across the nation to view this stellar event were in one accord – all looking up. I wonder how many heard the wordless speech of the heavens?

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (Ps. 19:1-6 NKJV)

David compares the sun to a bridegroom coming out joyful and strong from his wedding canopy. Nothing is hid from his/its heat. Today, the heat was abated for a short while by the moon. In Joseph’s dream of the sun, moon, and stars, his mother Rachel is figured as the moon.[2] We could say that Rachel eclipsed Jacob or a woman encompassed a man. In this way, the moon is a picture of the bride. In Psalm 19, David continues by comparing the glory of the heavenly bodies to the Torah. Hopefully, we are ones that have His Law written on our hearts.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Ps. 19:7-17 NKJV)

I pray that all the many faces that turned upward to view God’s glorious handiwork will learn to detect their errors and their hidden faults as David mentioned. Only the perfect law of liberty can reveal such things. The eternal Gospel is always being proclaimed.[3] The Torah is a Light.[4] That flaming ball of fire in the sky has a message, perhaps more than one if you’re listening. Today, it’s brightness was decreased enough that one could look up and see what is normally hidden. What did you see?

Was it a warning or a marker? Yes, but I won’t take my speculations past David’s remarks. The heavens declare the glory of God. I certainly saw and felt it today. I even considered that the awesomeness was only an inkling of what was experienced at the Revelation at Mt. Sinai or the darkened sky at Messiah’s last breath or the one accord outpouring of the Ruach Hakodesh in Acts 2 on Shavuot or what will be on the Day of the LORD. There is one thing we can and should all agree on – Abba is always pleading with us to RETURN. Repent. Do the works from the first.

“Set up for yourself roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities. “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth—A woman will encompass a man.” (Jer. 31:21-22 NASB)

The sky today was a road mark and a guidepost for those within its viewing range. Jeremiah 31 is a prophecy about the return of the exiles, the restoration of our captivity. We go back the same way we went out. Return to me says Abba, and He will show you a woman encompassing a man!

The renewed thing (chadash) or a woman encompassing a man is bridal, covenantal language. The woman encircles her groom seven times in the fullness of the Holy Spirit[5] to create a new House and to tear down any walls (like Jericho) that may remain between them. The woman surrounds the man with (spiritual) protection as the gatekeeper of their home.

© Chris Rogers

Like the moon, she is rarely the visible one in their union (echad), but there is one day that she is the star for all to see — her wedding day! Though it’s a modern custom in the U.S., I couldn’t help but to be googly eyed at the grandeur of the “diamond ring” effect of the eclipse as all the figurative meanings of the sun and moon as man and woman played in the back of my mind.

Abba desires a chaste bride, and what an adornment He has for her! So rather than doom and gloom, I’d like you to consider LIFE – abundant LIFE tonight as we embark on the new moon (month) of Elul after a stunning display in the heavens. Ani l’dodi v’dodi li. I am to my beloved and He is to me.[6] The Bridegroom and His bride. That’s what I saw in the sky today.

Though the Season of Teshuvah (repentance, return) starts tonight, it is not all weeping and wailing. YHWH told Rachel in the same Jeremiah passage:

Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy. “There is hope for your future,” declares the LORD, “And your children will return to their own territory. (Jer. 31:16-17)

There is a hope for your future. Though we return weeping, carrying our bag of seed, we WILL shout for joy as we bring in sheaves.[7] Our tears for family, friends, and the nations have a purpose. Like the Shekinah and Rachel, we cry for the destruction of the House and the many many children that Abba longs to come “home.” He’s always waiting, always calling. Not one is beyond His reach. He labors greatly for each and every one of them.

In the eclipse today, I saw wonder, beauty, and a future. At its zenith, I looked at my husband and said, “A woman just encompassed a man and everyone was watching.” The moon is the light in the sky for those in darkness. As she made her way between the sun and earth today, many were confused and bewildered. I saw a glorious union, the House or tent of the two made into one flesh, a glimpse of what is to come. The daughter of Laban (levanah – moon), the moon to Jacob’s sun, was seen and heard today. Can you hear her calling? Do you listen to her cries? She’s pleading for you to come home. The reunion will be glorious. The whole world will stand still and look up. May we eclipse to reveal, not to conceal.

As you blow the shofar throughout Elul, sounding the alarm, remember that even in the midst of judgment the heart of YHWH is always on reconciliation. He is gracious and compassionate. Are we? He is slow to anger. Are you? He abounds in lovingkindness and is relenting of evil. Are His people? (Darkness, gloom, the sun and moon turning to darkness, the Bridegroom and the Bride, blowing the shofar… it’s all in Joel 2. Consider reading it this Elul.)

Don’t proclaim judgment and doom and gloom without also shouting for joy about forgiveness, love, grace, and compassion. The world needs a sign from the moon. As the reflector’s of Abba’s glorious Light and the stars/seeds of Abraham, we are the only light that a dark world can see. Are we occulting His Light or are we inviting them to the feast (wedding supper)?[8] Rachel refuses to be comforted. She pleads for each one. It is the season. Send out the invitations. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”

 


[1] “Solar eclipses don’t just turn the lights out – they also make the wind slow down and change direction.” —  http://earthsky.org/earth/solar-eclipses-have-an-effect-on-wind

[2] You could argue that the moon was Leah since she was alive and Rachel was dead at this point, but later it is Rachel that is portrayed as weeping for her children in Jeremiah 31. Besides, both were brides of Jacob and could signify the same thing in this article.

[3] And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Rev. 14:6-7)

[4] Is. 8:20

[5] The seven Spirits of God (Is. 11:2) are reflected even in the time duration of a total solar eclipse, with the maximum length being 7.5 minutes!  https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/how-long-does-longest-possible-total-solar-eclipse-last

[6] Elul is said to be an acronym of this phrase from Song of Songs 6:3.

[7] Psalm 126

[8] Occult in its verb form means to hide, conceal, cover over. It is synonymous with eclipse. One of the astronomical words for an eclipse is an occultation.

Categories: Biblical Symbols, Moedim, new moon, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Miriam’s Cup Part III

 

For the best context, read Part I and Part II of Miriam’s Cup. This little study on water, the heavens, the Holy Spirit, Miriam, Baptism, and Pesach can only take us to one place: the fountain of Living Waters found in our Messiah! Please join me in drinking deeply from this wonderful well of life.

© Dnally

© Dnally

Before we proceed to the Living Waters and the Messiah, I would like to revisit Baptism or immersing in a Mikvah. While many Christians (falsely) assume that this ritual began in the Brit Chadashah (N.T.), those that have been returning to their Hebraic Roots are fully aware that this custom is far more ancient.

Genesis begins with water and Revelation ends with a river. The Spirit broods over the Creation waters and the angel shows John (Rev. 22: 1-2) a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Notice that it is the Spirit AND the Bride that say, “Come!” They call to the thirsty and freely allow them to partake of the waters of life (Rev. 22:17). This calling action echoes the woman of wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. Later Solomon compares this woman to a precious fountain.[1]

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (Pr. 18:4)

From the beginning, water has been associated with YHWH’s Spirit. What better imagery is there for the Spirit of God than that which causes all plant life to grow, nourishes all livestock, cleanses our bodies and garments, and sustains our overall well-being? Aryeh Kaplan, in his book Waters of Eden, states that, “Water is the primary connection that we have with the Garden of Eden.”[2] We seem to have been given a mystical link to this truth in the Genesis narrative. (Gen. 2) This story is strangely interrupted by an account of a river that is sourced in Eden. It breaks off into 4 tributaries that surround and water the entire garden. There may be a scarlet thread that runs throughout the Bible, but there is also a river of life — for those that look for it.

There is an old Midrash that has fallen Adam repenting by sitting in a river. Whether or not this is true is not the point. The emphasis is on the cleansing power of water, literally and figuratively. The waters of Eden are the waters that flow from the throne of God. Therefore, physical water is both literally and figuratively a cleanser. This is the same imagery used with Baptism’s washing away sins.[3] We repent because we desire to return to a clean state. Ultimately, our hope is resurrection unto eternal life and a permanent residence in the Kingdom from which crystal waters flow.

Water, Water, Everywhere, but Not a Drop to Drink

Have you ever been on a ship in the ocean so far from shore that you can no longer see land? It’s quite an eerie feeling the first time you experience this wonder. There is an overwhelming sense of smallness and vulnerability. The fear of what would happen if you became stranded is daunting. Perhaps you’ve watched movies or read books where this happened to someone. Not long ago, I watched the Life of Pi where an Indian boy is trapped for weeks on a small life boat with a tiger (he had been travelling with zoo animals on a ship that sank). Though he was surrounded by water, there was not a drop to drink. Dependence on condensation and rain water became a very real source of life for the boy and the tiger.

I think we often feel as (spiritually) thirsty as this unlikely pair. We perceive that the waters of salvation are everywhere, yet here we are dying from dehydration. We scramble to suck up the little bit of condensation we find and pray for rain. What we wouldn’t give to have a river of fresh water to quench our insatiable thirst!

Now, you may believe I’ve described an unbeliever or a lost person, but if you’re like me (human), then you too know this “dry soul” feeling even after coming to Messiah. Whether you find yourself in this place because of sin or because of testing, it is a very real campsite for the people of YHWH.[4] But the good news is that it is a temporary stop along the journey. Once we repent or learn the lesson, He refreshes us with the only thing that can really satisfy our souls, which is the Springs of Salvation, the Living Waters.

Is. 12:1-6  Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me.  (2)  “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”  (3)  Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.  (4)  And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”  (5)  Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth.  (6)  Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Women and Wells

We live in a world of chaos. The waters offered by the world and false religion leaves us dry and thirsty. But the Father knew this from the very beginning. His Spirit brings order and Living Waters to our chaos if only we will drink. In Genesis, these waters are brooded over by the “woman” of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we would expect a significant amount of prophetic testimonies to occur at wells (especially with women). Consider the most famous Biblical woman at a well, the Samaritan. Speaking to her, Yeshua says:

John 4:10-14  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  (11)  She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?  (12)  “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  (13)  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  (14)  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.

The Samaritan woman gets all the press as being the “woman at the well” because Yeshua spoke very plainly to her about not only who she was, but who He is! However, that doesn’t mean that her story is the only story of a woman at a well that we should appreciate. In fact, I don’t believe we can fully grasp the Samaritan’s encounter unless we first understand her predecessors. The first century people that heard the testimony of this woman or even those that had just heard a retelling of these events would have had a very specific paradigm in which they would filter this story. That paradigm was the Torah of Moses.

Yeshua’s encounter with this woman is meant to remind you of other stories of women at wells. Have you ever considered that Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all found their WIVES at a WELL of WATER? We’ve already looked at Miriam’s connection to water and wells. I don’t think this repetitive theme is arbitrary. If you are the Bride of Yeshua, He will meet you at a well also. Perhaps this is why so many have a hard time separating Baptism and Salvation.

Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman that He can give her “living water”. What makes water “living”? And why and how does this water become a “well that springs up eternal life” once it is ingested? In order for waters to be considered “living”, they must be moving or flowing. Stagnant or still pools do not have “life” in Hebraic thought. Mayim Chayim (living waters) are characterized by MOVEMENT. Does this remind you of the Spirit of Elohim in Genesis?

We looked at the Song of Songs in the Biblical Role of Women Part III. As we discovered in that post, the imagery in this book is of both a complete and restored MAN and WOMAN. Both are functioning in their purpose and living righteously in the Garden (of Eden). Notice in the verse below that there is yet another association of a woman and life giving water. This is one of the godly functions of the female. A holy and restored woman will reflect the Holy Spirit by giving “water” and nurture to the seed that promotes growth and maturity.[5] Speaking of the woman, the man calls her:

A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. (SOS 4:15)

Since the Song of Songs portrays a redeemed man and woman, we could say that both men and women as Yeshua’s Bride are a well of Living Waters. This is, in fact, exactly what Yeshua tells the Samaritan woman. We are often so focused on receiving Living Waters, that we forget that we are to be Living Waters! We water YHWH’s people just as the matriarchs gave drink to the patriarchs and watered the livestock. You are a Spring of Salvation and a fountain of Living Waters, because you belong to Messiah. We already have everything we need, but we still have a choice to make. Will we live it out, today? The choice is ours.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:38-39) 

This truth is why both blood and water gushed from the “side” of Messiah as He hung on the tree. Like the first Adam, Messiah’s Bride comes forth from His side.

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:34) 

John later describes three things that testify who Messiah is.

It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  (7)  For there are three that testify:  (8)  the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. (1Jn 5:6b-8) 

Since Messiah is returning for a Bride of like kind, we also will have these three witnesses: spirit, water, and blood. He meets us at well. We drink from the fountain. Like the Samaritan woman, we drop our water pots and run and witness to as many as we can about Messiah; thus, we become the springs leading others to Salvation. This theme is repeated again and again. We can see it in the Creation Days. We can see it in the Moedim (Feast Days). We can see it in the movement of the 7 Spirits of Elohim (Is. 11:2). The ancient matriarchs teach us how to be His Majesty’s Bride. We first give water to the patriarchs (minister to YHWH), and then we water the livestock (YHWH’s people). This is the essence of the Cup of Miriam.

Applying the Cup

Miriam’s Cup is filled with WATER, not wine. Wine can represent joy, judgment, or even the blood of Messiah. But there are three that testify. Water symbolizes both mayim and the Holy Spirit. By incorporating the Cup of Miriam into our Seder or even our weekly kiddush, we partake of all three symbols. Since the Cup of Elijah comes near the end of the Seder, we include the Cup of Miriam just after the candle lighting. This way, our four cups of wine will be flanked by the prophetess Miriam and the prophet Elijah. Miriam will represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we are continually watered and washed by the Word as we journey throughout this life, and Elijah will remind us of our coming complete redemption at the Messianic Age.

Hopefully, Miriam’s Cup will be a spring board for you to do more study. I would love to hear your thoughts on this tradition and any “connections” you may find. What does Miriam mean to you? How will can Miriam contribute to your families’ understanding of the Exodus?

Haggadah Ideas

  • After the women (or a woman) lights the Shabbat Candles, Have everyone partake of the WATER of Miriam’s Cup. Explain all the wonderful imagery in the patriarchs meeting their brides at wells.
  • Correlate this with the Holy Spirit, Baptism, the Springs of Salvation, Yeshua’s pierced side, the 3 that testify, and the Living Waters.
  • Relate all of this imagery with Pesach and Sukkot (The beginning and the end).
  • Praise YHWH for the women at your Seder and their contribution in rebelling at Pharaoh’s evil decrees.
  • Praise Yeshua for choosing you to be a spotless Bride.

 

 

 


[1] Proverbs 9:1-6

[2] Kaplan, Aryeh, Waters of Eden, New York (2003) p. 35

[3] ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:16)

[4] Remember the bitter waters at Marah? They were to test the people.

[5] Dr. Skip Moen teaches that the “living waters” provided by the woman are also a picture of her role as the ezer kenegdo: http://skipmoen.com/2009/11/28/connections/

 

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