The Bitter Waters

The Bitter Waters

By Rob Kainz

What two things did God’s people do to reject Him? (hint: the root word for cisterns is rAa;Db ba}ar, baw-ar´; Strongs 874, which means “to explain” and water is words)

“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

(Jeremiah 2:11–13 KJV)

How did God’s people forsake Him?

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”

(1 Samuel 8:4–9 KJV)

How did this happen? Whose fault is this? What ways are the people following now if they are not walking in God’s ways? What words are they drinking?

Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?”

(Jeremiah 2:17–18 KJV)

To what is the wine compared to that those who follow after the wicked nations drink of?

“For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.

(Deuteronomy 32:28–33 KJV)

Will God correct His people?

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”

(Jeremiah 2:19 KJV)

So, is the scripture saying that because His people have forsaken His law and have walked after the manner of Egypt instead that they will be drinking poisonous venom and bitter herbs instead?

“And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

(Jeremiah 9:12–15 KJV)

Once again, what bitter herb and poison does God feed those who teach that the law is done away with?

I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.”

(Jeremiah 23:14–16 KJV)

Will the rebellious people who do not keep God’s words continue to produce fruit?

I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.”

(Jeremiah 8:13 KJV)

Why again has God given His people the water of gall (poison of serpents) to drink?

“Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.”

(Jeremiah 8:14–17 KJV)

Does it hurt the Lord to see His people in pain because they have broken His laws and have chosen strange ways rather than the way of the Lord? 

When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”

(Jeremiah 8:18–22 KJV)

In which trumpet blast does God allow the bitter wormwood to pollute the drinking waters (words, teachings) of His backsliding people knowing that the full strength of the bitter ways of Egypt (nations that no not God) will hurt them, sealing them in their minds that they must die to themselves and return to His ways?

“And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.”

(Revelation 8:10–11 KJV)

What punishment awaits those who bear bitter waters among God’s peoples?

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

(Deuteronomy 29:18–20 KJV)

When the thirsty literal Israelites in the time of Moses came upon bitter waters that they could not drink, what did Moses cast into the waters to make them safe to drink so that the people would live? What was God’s prescription for curing them of all of the diseases of the Egyptians?

“And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”

(Exodus 15:23–27 KJV)

What is this tree that can transform bitter words / teachings into living words / teachings?

“And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

(Genesis 2:9 KJV)

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”

(Proverbs 3:13–18 KJV)

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”

(Proverbs 15:4 KJV)

Do those in rebellion have access to the way of the tree of life?

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

(Genesis 3:24 KJV)

What is the fiery sword that keeps the way of the tree of life?

“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”

(Revelation 2:16 KJV)

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

(Jeremiah 23:29 KJV)

What must we do to eat of the tree of life?

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

(Revelation 2:7 KJV)

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

(Revelation 22:14 KJV)

Who is the Way, the source of the tree of life?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

(John 14:6 KJV)

Rob’s Commentary: The Bitter Waters

In contrast to living waters, bitter waters are words or teachings that have their origin in the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than the tree of life. Those who drink of bitter waters (learn and accept false teachings) will be discomfited and cursed with the diseases of the Egyptians, those who know not God. Bitter waters are hurtful and potentially deadly (both spiritually and physically) not only to those who drink of them but to those they may pass them onto. We must become aware and conscious of what waters we are drinking of and ensure that we do not pass on bitter waters to others that would do them harm. False doctrine cannot survive in the light of the truth. When the Tree of Life, the Way and the Truth is cast into the midst of the bitter waters (the nations of the world that knew Him not), the misunderstandings of the peoples will cease to exist given time and those bitter waters will be transformed into living waters that are fit to quench all the spiritually thirsty.

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