#blogexodus : cleansing (waters of miriam's well)

the cleansing waters of miriam’s well

What follows is the ritual I have used at my seder since the mid 1990s.

Before the Seder begins I fill the bot­tom quar­ter of a large pitch­er with slices of orange (and often sprigs of mint) then fill the remain­der with ice cubes. Once you can no longer put in any more ice, fill the pitch­er with cold water. I even place a label on the pitch­er: “Miriam’s Well” so par­tic­i­pants know not to drink from it until it is time (the very end of the Seder). Emp­ty what­ev­er wine remains in the wine glass­es into the emp­ty bowls then pour some water from the pitch­er into everyone’s wine glass.

We have escaped bondage and crossed the sea. We enter the arid land before us, made hes­i­tant by gen­er­a­tions of servitude—mixed with our recent strug­gle, and yet heady in our new free­dom.

We have thirst­ed for free­dom, but now we thirst for water. As with so many peo­ple in the world who do not have water, we face bit­ter­ness [Exo­dus 15:23] and quar­rel­ing [Exo­dus 17:6–7, Num­bers 20:11]. Our ancient texts tell us that Moses was able to turn the bit­ter into sweet­ness and bring forth water. But many dis­putes over water remain.

Fur­ther, we are told that Miri­am, the mid­wife of our lib­er­a­tion has stood ready, wait­ing to sus­tain us in the time ahead as we come to grips with our tasks and respon­si­bil­i­ties.

Our Sages spoke of Miriam’s Well, cre­at­ed in the twi­light of creation’s week. It now lies hid­den in the sea of Galilee for Eli­jah to restore to us. Ish­mael received water from it as “the well of liv­ing and see­ing”; Rebec­ca drew from it when she greet­ed Eliez­er; the well first appeared to our peo­ple when Moses struck the rock on Miriam’s account at the place of bit­ter­ness in Sinai—and it trav­elled with us through­out the desert years. Its waters, we are told, taste of old wine and new wine, of milk and of hon­ey.

This is the well of the Ances­tors of the world:
Abra­ham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebec­ca, Jacob & Leah and Rachel dug it;
the lead­ers of old­en times have searched for it;
the heads of the peo­ple, the law­givers of Israel, Moses, Aaron and Miri­am, have caused it to flow with their staves.
In the desert we received it as a gift and there­after it fol­lowed us on all our wan­der­ings: to lofty moun­tains and deep val­leys.
Not until we came to the bound­ary of Moab did it dis­ap­pear because we squan­dered our free­dom by not ful­fill­ing our respon­si­bil­i­ties.
Now, as we begin a new sea­son of renew­al, may these cleans­ing, refresh­ing waters, rem­i­nis­cent of Miriam’s well, recall for us a time of puri­ty of pur­pose and help us focus on the tasks ahead.

All drink the water from Miriam’s well.

How do you cleanse your soul?

what is “#blogexodus”?

My friend and col­league Phyl­lis Som­mers has thought of yet a new cre­ative way to pre­pare for Peasach. You can learn more here.

#blogexodus schedule

blog­ging the exo­dus

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