The name Jehovah-Rophe is found more than sixty times in the Old Testament, but it is first found in Exodus 15. A good principle in Bible study is to look at the first place a word is mentioned if you want to find its purest teaching. Rophe means to heal and restore. God made us body, soul, and spirit. He is the only one who can make us whole/complete.
In Exodus 15:22 we read, “Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water.” God led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. He redeemed them and set them free. God parted the waters. They rejoiced! Now, they found themselves in the wilderness with nothing to drink. Just because a person has been redeemed and set free does not mean that they will be exempt from the burdens of life. But, God does not set you free to abandon you. Charles Spurgeon, called the Prince of Preachers, pastored the largest protestant church of his day. He also suffered from deep wounds and struggled with emotional and physical illnesses. He said, “There is no University for a Christian like that of sorrow and trial.” Sickness and suffering are no respecters of persons and life is filled with battles and burdens, but God is with us, and He does not waste any of our pain.
When the Israelites came to Marah, they could not drink the water because it was bitter (v. 23). Just imagine three days without water. They finally see water and quickly went from gulping to gagging! There are many bitter experiences and disappointments in life. Sometimes you are sick and other times you are sick and tired. Complaining does not solve one thing. Are you bitter? Does life not taste good to you anymore? Verse 25 says, “So [Moses] cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable.” Certainly, this was not the normal way to purify water! It was supernatural. It was a miracle, and it would later point to a greater meaning. On the cross Jesus willingly took the bitter cup. The cross makes what is bitter, sweet. He works all things together for good. The tree at Marah had been there the whole time, but Moses did not see it until he prayed. When you are hurting do you run to the phone or to the throne? When you go through trials and tests, don’t throw in the towel, throw in the Tree! There is no hurt, no pain, no situation, no suffering, no sorrow that Jesus did not die for. No matter what you are going through, the cross says, “This is how much God loves you!
“The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there. He said, ‘If you will carefully obey the LORD your God, do what is right in his sight, pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you’” (v.25-26). God is not the one being tested, we are. He already knew what was in their hearts, but He wanted them to see what was in their hearts. Difficulties never test the faithfulness of God, but they test the faith of God’s people. James 1:2 says, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” Both the Old and New Testaments give stories of God’s power to heal, but even if God heals in this life, we will all still grow old and die one day. Some people advocate a health and wealth gospel that if you trust Jesus, you will never get sick, but that is not the true gospel. Some of the greatest saints who ever lived suffered from physical and emotional sickness. Paul’s friend Trophimus remained sick. His friend Epaphroditus became sick and almost died. Paul himself had a physical illness that God chose not to heal. Paul healed others but could not heal himself. The bottom line is all healing is from God. We should visit the doctor, take the medicine, and then trust God with the outcome. Praise God if He chooses to heal you and praise Him if He chooses not to heal you. The greatest healing is spiritual, because spiritual healing is not temporary but eternal!
The story in Exodus 15 started with a water problem. God parted the waters at the Red Sea. God purified the waters Marah. God provided all the water they needed and more at Elim. Verse 27 says He provided 12 springs and 70 shade trees. The Red Sea comes before Marah, and Marah comes before Elim. You will have physical tests and reoccurring problems over and over again in life, but Jehovah-Rophe can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all you ask or expect! Jehovah-Rophe is the Great Physician. He can heal your bitterness, your burdens, your body, your brokenness, and make you whole. God can provide healing today for your past, pain, and problems. Do you need soundness, wellness, in your life? Ask God to restore you and refresh you today.