Day 19: Tears and Beginnings

Day 19: Tears and Beginnings

I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant. Exodus 6:5

Next in the Seder order of events is the dipping of a green vegetable in salt water. The vegetable is often parsley or celery, and it is meant to represent either the hyssop that was used to paint the blood on the posts and lintel, and/or to stand for new life, such as the Israelites experienced when they went from slavery to freedom. The Lord had also instructed his people that this Feast was to mark the beginning of their New Year (Exodus 12:2)—truly a fresh start for them as a people—as his people. Hyssop was a bush that had cleansing properties. So there can be connotations drawn of how the tears and suffering were cleansing, or that they were healed from the wounds of their suffering.

The salt water represents the tears and sweat of the Israelites when they were slaves to the Egyptians. A rarer interpretation is that the salt water represented the Red Sea they passed through. Rabbinic tradition says that this part of the ceremony is to cause us to examine the tears and the trials of our lives. I don’t know about you, but the tears and trials in my life have taught me more about God’s ways and love than any time of joy and ease has ever done. We learn about our weakness and his strength, our short-sightedness and his infinite wisdom, our limitations and his all-sufficient provisions, and of his unfailing love for us. It is good for us to look back on our tears and trials to see the fingerprints of God.

• Think about some of the significant trials in your life (your list may be long or short). What were the particular things you learned about God in each of them?
• Have those lessons taken root in you?
• What were some of the times of renewal or healing you may have experienced?
• How did these manifest in your life, and how do they impact you today

Lord, how you suffered! Hebrews tells me that you learned obedience through your suffering, so teach me those lessons when you call me to places of suffering. And how you suffered because of sin-not-your-own! Those “loud cries and tears” were because of the sin of those you love. May I learn as much from observing your suffering as I do from experiencing my own.

by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries