Tuesday, October 16, 2007

40 days without water

Ever gone a long time without water?

I haven't. Virtually free, abundant water is one of the blessings of modern civilization that most of us take for granted. If we could bring someone to 2007 from, say, 1300, I suspect that would be one of the things such a one would be most astonished by. But the Israelites knew about the need for water. There's an interesting water parallel to consider.

In Deuteronomy 9, Moses recounts to the people of Israel his (and God's) dealings with them. Twice, Moses mentions that he went 40 days without water (vss. 9 and 18).

Such an event is truly miraculous. Without divine intervention, no one can survive more than a few days without water. It's simply impossible: God has made us as bodies that consist mostly of water, and we will die quickly without it.

Food is another story. That Moses went 40 days without bread would be quite uncomfortable, but do-able. We have examples contemporary to our time of those who have fasted that long. They end up pretty skinny, and ravenous with hunger, but alive.

The parallel to Jesus' time in the wilderness is interesting. Matthew 4.2 recounts that Jesus fasted 40 days, and afterwards was hungry. The first temptation is a food temptation. And while most of us -- who have trouble going for more than a few hours without food -- think that hunger would be the most appealing temptation, if Jesus had been without water, liquid would be vastly more interesting, by comparison.

The 2 events are clearly parallels. What intrigues me is that there is no mention of Jesus going without water. Any argument that he did so is an argument from silence. Luke 4.2 specifically says "in those days he did eat nothing," but fails to mention water.

Given the silence here, I have to assume that Jesus drank water during His fast. But I wonder what's the significance of Moses going without it.

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