The Waters Parted

This is the story of one of the greatest miracles in the Bible. I hope you enjoy it though the eyes of a child.


The Waters Parted

I remember the howl of the wind outside my home that dark night. No moon shown across the dry land. Mama held me in her arms and sang in her smooth, low voice. She sang songs of deliverance. Songs of Hashem. Abba hummed harmony as he ran his rough hands over Eliam’s wooly hair. The shanty door creaked eerily. We waited and waited. Abba had told me that an angel was coming that night, an angel of death. My father had swiped the scarlet blood over the doorframe of our home just as Moses had ordered. The blood would be a sign to the angel that no firstborn would be taken from this home. All of neighbors had done as we had, with hope rising in our hearts. Would this be the end? How many horrible plagues must Hashem send before Pharaoh would let us go?

I closed my eyes when suddenly I heard it. The cry of the Egyptians is a sound I will never forget. The pitch sent a chill down my back. Mama jumped up as Abba scurried to the door. The anguished, deep groan of a mother after losing her child filled the night air. Mama squeezed me tightly as a tear ran down my face. The angel had taken what was his.

“It has passed,” Abba muttered. He turned to Mama and said with a slight smile etching his shadowed face, “Let us praise Hashem.”

A few hours later as the sky turned from deepest black to pale purple, the cry of the Egyptians still carried through the land. We heard a loud knock. Abba’s friend, Josiah, smiled at me as I led him inside. He seemed rushed and frantically looked for Abba.

“Jael, where’s your father? I must speak…Ah, there you are Caleb!”

Abba immerged from behind me putting a hand on my shoulder. “What is it?”

“Pharaoh has… well, he is setting us free! Oh, can you believe it, Jael?” He smiled into my shocked face.

“What? It is over?” Mama asked in disbelief as she walked in with Eliam on her hip.

“Yes!” Josiah nearly shouted out. “Pharaoh lost his firstborn son and can take no more. He called for Moses just a few hours ago. Moses has ordered that we must leave now. Gather what you need and prepare to leave immediately.” He grasped Abba’s hand and disappeared into the early morning.

I had never heard anything as joyful as the sound of the Israelites that dawn. The shouts of joy and anticipated gathering of belongings. My heart beat wildly as I helped Mama lift the last of our few possessions on the back of our donkey. I glanced at our poor abode for the last time. I couldn’t help the little twinge of sadness I felt. I knew our new home would be better, and belong to us. There would be no overseers lashing Abba’s back for not working as hard as they desired, and there wouldn’t be a lack of food. We would make no more bricks. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. All I had seen for the nine years of my life was the straw, mud and bricks and felt the oppression of the hot sun beating down upon my tired back, but there would be no more. After four-hundred years, Hashem had saved us.

“Jael, come now.” Mama pulled my hand, leading me away from the house.

The slave streets were packed. To the streaked horizon there was nothing but Israelites, thousands upon thousands of us. A lady beside me began singing in an elated voice and I joined in with her, letting my heart rise with the sweet words. My throat stung with tears as I rejoiced. Suddenly we had passed the slave quarters and were walking by the Egyptian homes. I gripped Mama’s arm and anxiously asked her if we should be there.

Mama’s thin face melted into a pearly smile. “Jael, we are free! We can go where we please! Isn’t it wonderful?”

It still seemed a little scary to me, so I hung onto her hand. As I watched the ornate homes, Egyptians opened their doors and watched us. Some of their faces were angry and others cried. The women began tossing gold and jewels into the street. Others around me fell to the ground gathering the jewelry. Mama and Abba didn’t gather any and walked on in silence.

“Mama, why don’t you want the any of the gold or jewels?” I asked as a lady offered her a handful of sparkling riches.

“I don’t need gold to bring me joy. Hashem has set us free and that is all I need,” she said.

We journeyed through the desert. Herds, flocks and humans followed the faint image of Moses and Aaron. The darkest cloud was leading Moses and guiding our path. After arriving at Succoth we went south. Far south. At night a glowing flame led us. It licked at the starry sky as Egypt and bondage disappeared behind us. We walked on and on. Finally, we ceased our travels to rest. I slipped off my sandals and massaged my weary feet as Mama served us the unleavened bread we had brought. It soothed my stomach and I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamed of a land flowing with milk and honey, the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

A day later, we were near the Red Sea. We had walked all day to see nothing but the yellow desert. We had stopped as the sun was making its descent and I was completing a few jobs for Mama. I began to feel the odd sensation of the ground shaking beneath my feet.

“What’s that sound, Mama?” I asked, beating the stubborn dust from a blanket.

Mama walked over to me as Abba stood from cleaning the donkey’s hooves. “I don’t know. It’ll be fine. Abba will find out.”

Those around us quickly heard and stopped their work, frantically asking what was happening. A few moments later, Abba and a few other men sprinted back from wherever they had been. As Abba’s tall frame approached, I could see his face was damp and his eyes fearful.

“They’re coming back. Pharaoh is leading an army of Egyptians to take us,” he heaved, shaking his head in disbelief.

Mama’s face broke my heart. I felt disappointment squeeze my throat. Tears immediately welled in my eyes, making her face a blur.

“Why, Caleb?” Mama breathed. Her hands balled into fists. “How could this happen? What has Moses said?”

“I don’t know. We are surrounded by the sea. We have nowhere to go…”

Abba’s deep voice broke. I put my arm around him, trying to give him any measure of peace I could. Mama covered her face. I looked around to see thousands of distraught and panicked people. As I looked beyond the mess, I saw the shimmering Red Sea. The sparkling waters seemed to laugh at us. Yet, I knew deep down in the depths of my heart that Hashem was in control, even if Pharaoh had never intended to set us free. Yahweh hadn’t led us out of slavery to bring us back there. He would provide a way.

We gathered together our things and stood wondering what to do. Eliam and the younger children played gaily, not realizing or understanding what was happening. Mama sang under her breath. Abba talked with a few other men in fervent tones. The sun left beautiful colors across the desert sky. As the light dwindled, so did our hope. Suddenly, the cloud before us turned into a fiery flame. It lit up the sky, reminding us that Hashem was still there. I wished that we could have taken off and soared away like birds, but there was nothing we could do.

“Look there!” Abba suddenly pointed off into the distance. What I saw made my blood boil. “Dust. It is certainly the Egyptians with their horses and chariots.”

“Abba, Hashem isn’t going to let them take us, is He?” I had asked, with my eyes set on the growing cloud.

“He has a plan. We will trust in Him.”

Thousands of us stood there waiting, dreading, and hoping. Parents held their children. We squinted our eyes as the first glimpse of the Egyptians were seen. I looked down for a moment, ringing my hands. I was trying to believe it wasn’t happening. I must have been looking down in a deep stupor for longer than a moment, because when I glanced up, the Egyptians were much closer, so close, I could almost see their furious faces.

Suddenly, a young man nearby shouted out with vigor. Anxious conversation rippled throughout the mass of people. I looked up to see the two barely visible men standing on a hill over the sea. I turned to the sound of Egyptians; their brash voices finally coming to our ears. The hundreds of chariots roared like thunder. Children began to cry, mothers were shaking with grief, but the father’s faces were the worst. So many Abba’s with clenched jaws and tears in their eyes. The hope that we were just growing accustomed to was being ripped from our hands.

The glowing flame before us swirled mightily. It left its place and danced over our heads. At first I thought it was leaving us; that Hashem was deserting us. It stopped in front of the Egyptians and lowered as a wall in front of them. Terror covered their faces and they halted to an abrupt stop. I had never felt such relief or been in such awe. We turned to see Moses lifting high his staff. What happened next still leaves me speechless. Wind whooshed around us. My hair swept onto my face. I could feel the spray of sea mist.  The shining sea was no longer calm but in a furry of waves. The water rocked and to my utter amazement, began to pull apart from where Moses stood. It seemed as though the very hand of Hashem was sweeping back the dark waters. I could begin to catch a glimpse of the sea floor. The water groaned and heaved as it stacked into two overwhelmingly massive walls. My heart pumped against my chest. I dared not take my eyes off of the wonder.

The sea had at last split, leaving a path. The people began to move toward the waters as Moses strode down the hill and between the walls. There were gasps and shouts of joy, but above it all were the shouts of the Egyptians behind us as they looked though their barrier in utter shock. We quickly grabbed our things without thought and followed into the waters. The murky walls raised so highly that my stomach rolled. We walked on all night as if in a dream. We couldn’t help but turn to see if the wall of fire still remained, and it did.

Daylight was welcomed as the last of the people came out of the other side of the sea. We climbed onto the shore and turned to look over the waters. The barrier of fire suddenly disappeared into a haze of smoke. Fear gripped my mind. Wouldn’t Hashem close the waters before they came? But the walls remained after the last of the Israelites had trudged up the sandy hill. The Egyptians rose dust along with the smoke as they stormed toward the sea. I squeezed Abba’s hand harder as at last the entire Egyptian army was in the midst of the dark waters. I remember thinking it seemed as though they were between the palms of Hashem. I let out a gasp as the waters suddenly made a churning sound. The walls suddenly collapsed on the army like bricks that had been stacked too high. It was as though Hashem had squashed them between his mighty hands. The sea groaned and swirled. The screams of the army were hardly audible. Shouts rose up from the people. Tears streamed down the faces of children and the old alike. I turned to Abba. I felt my face pull into a wide grin. Abba’s eyes pierced mine. I’ll never forget the words he spoke as he cupped my face with his hand.

“You have witnessed a miracle, child, a miracle of Hashem that will be told until the end of time. Yahweh has saved us.”

I turned from the sea. The cloud ahead seemed to be beckoning us to follow. Moses lifted high his staff. We were going home, home to the Promised Land.


*Hashem: the Hebrew word for The Name, since the Israelites would say Yahweh, rarely or not at all.

Comments

  1. Oh I love that Katy!!!! It's a perspective (sp?) I have never thought of! =D Thanks for posting it!
    ~J

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  2. Thanks! I'm glad you like it! Thanks for taking the time to read it! :)

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  3. Wow Katy, I loved this! You are such a gifted writer! Just curious, are you learning Hebrew? Thank you for sharing this story! =)

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  4. Thank you Taylor! No, I'm not learning Hebrew. I wish! I've picked up a few words from books I've read. I am hopefully going to start learning some Greek though! :) How about you? Are you learning Hebrew?

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  5. Oh wow, Greek? That's neat! I'd like to learn that language sometime, if I ever get the chance. =)

    Yes, I am learning Hebrew, I started around November or December. I'm not very far in it, but I'm making progress. It's very fun and challenging!

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