Miriam’s Well: Water of Life


In our parsha, the Israelites mourn the loss of leaders Aaron and Miriam. The Talmud teaches that Aaron, Miriam and Moses each were responsible for bringing a unique miracle to B’nai Yisrael in the wilderness. Moses brought the manna that sustained them. On account of Aaron, clouds of glory protected the people from heat and from battle. Finally, through the merit of Miriam, the people had water to drink. Upon her death, the people cannot find a source of water and they cry out in their thirst and grief. Moses strikes a rock and water gushes forth. However, as a consequence of this forceful gesture, God tells the surviving sibling that he will not be permitted to enter the land of Canaan. Later on in the parsha, the people try another tactic for drawing water. They pour out their voices in song, in praise and petition, with gratitude for the gift of water. As the summer sun grows stronger, we are reminded of the way our lives depend on water. May we follow Miriam’s legacy and be granted the ability to attune ourselves to the songs of the natural world. May we do all that is within our power to guard and sustain the precious resource of water.