By Rev. John Wilbur Chapman

Chapter 5

From Marah to Elim

"And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim."

That was a change for Israel as delightful as the change from bondage to freedom, from darkness to light, from unrest to rest. It was almost like passing from earth to heaven. It was certainly a delightful experience. Marah's waters were bitter, but Elim had twelve wells of water, and they were all sweet, and the twelve wells were surrounded by seventy palm trees.

It is a most significant thing to me that in every type of the Old Testament and in every story of the New Testament, whenever anything is presented that may hint at the Christian's rightful experience, that life is presented as something glorious and wonderful; if any one is having a hard time in his Christian life, it is simply because he has not brought up his experience so that it may correspond to his standing in Christ.

There were twelve wells of water at Elim — that would signify a well for every month of the year for the Christian. A well means both refreshment and rest. And there were seventy palm trees about these wells. The number is suggestive, to say the least. A man's life according to the Psalmist is three score years and ten, that is, seventy, so there would be a palm tree for every year of his life.

Some one has said that this tree may be used for three hundred and sixty-five different purposes. So there is a well for every month, a palm tree for every year, and some part of the tree for every day of the life of a child of God.

But delightful as was the change from Marah to Elim, it is not for a moment to be compared with the experience which comes to the Christian, when he has gone beyond the cross of Christ, passed through the Red Sea of His death, and stands on Resurrection ground. Paul writes of the cross to the Corinthians because they had backslidden, but to the Ephesians he speaks repeatedly of the heavenly places. To the Colossians he says, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." It is a sad thing that so many Christians are having a lean experience and hungry souls, when God has prepared such abundant blessings for us all in the storehouse of His grace, and offers them to us all without money and without price.

I've found a joy in sorrow,
A secret balm for pain,
A beautiful to-morrow
Of sunshine after rain.
I've found a branch of healing
Near every bitter spring
A whispered promise stealing
O'er every broken string.

I've found a glad hosanna
For every woe and wail;
A handful of sweet manna

When grapes of Eschol fail.
I've found a Rock of Ages
When desert wells are dry;
And after weary stages,
I've found an Elim nigh—

An Elim with its coolness
Its fountain and its shade;
A blessing in its fullness,
When buds of promise fade.
O'er tears of soft contrition
I've seen a rainbow light;
A glory and fruition,
So near!—yet out of sight.

My Savior, Thee possessing,
I have the joy, the balm,
The healing, and the blessing.
The sunshine, and the psalm,
The promise for the fearful,
The Elim for the faint,
The rainbow for the tearful,
The glory for the saint!

—Mrs. Jane Crewdson.