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COAST OF THE RED SEA NEAR REPHIDIM.
BY THE REV. J. P. DURBIN, D. D.
The forced march of the Israelites from naturally tending to sweeten the waters; and Egypt, and the exciting passage of the Red thus suggesting to man, that the remedies for Sea, had quite exhausted their strength. Safe all his natural ills and the supply of all his now from apprehension, they spread their natural wants are to be found in the kingdom tents along the eastern coast of the sea, and of nature, in which he is Lord. I found the gave themselves up to rest; and probably, to fountain of Hawarah to be a large pit or shalreciting in a solemn and religious manner the low well, scooped out on the top of a broad flat triumphal song of Moses, as a part of their mound, formed by a whitish substance depomorning and evening worship. Ain Mousa, or sited from the water through a lapse of many the well of Moses, the name of the only foun- centuries. It is probable, that when the tain of note in the neighbourhood, is a striking Israelites arrived here the hill had scarcely memorial of their sojourn here.
begun to form, and of course the waters were About ten miles distant from the coast, and at a much lower level, and were evidently nearly parallel with it, is the gloomy and for- abundant. For there is no complaint of the bidding mountain range of Rehah. Between quantity of water, but only of its quality. At this range and the coast is a rough desert this station the people halted some days, as it district, intersected by the gravelly beds of said, “there the Lord made for them a stawinter torrents, which in the rainy season flow tute and an ordinance, and there he proved to the sea. These are called Wadys, i. e. them.” valleys; and one of the principal is still called The host continued to advance southward, Wady Sudr, which marks the “wilderness of and made their next station at Elim, about six Shur,” of the Bible. From Ain Mousa the host miles from Marah. They halted here because of Israel advanced southward three days' jour- of the abundance and excellence of the water ney in the stony and sterile district of Shur, and and pasturage, as is evident from the brief recame to Marah, or the bitter wells. The valley cord in the Bible that they found “twelve wells Amarah, in which the modern traveller finds the of water and seventy palm trees.” Notwithfountain Hawarah, still attests this biblical standing the increasing drought and sterility station. It is about thirty-six miles from the of the country, during a period of thirty-five fountain of Moses, a distance well correspond-centuries, the distinguishing characteristics of ing with a march of three days by such a host this region, compared with other portions of as Moses led, composed in great part of women the country, are still remarkable. Upon enand children, and accompanied by vast flocks tering Wady Ghurundel, it seemed to us like and herds. The waters of the fountain at the green pastures, compared with the sterile and present time answer well to he ancient quali- de ate ts over which we had travelled ties ascribed to them in the Bible. When I since we left the Nile. It was full of large tasted them in 1843, I thought them a villan- shrubs, and there were some small trees, among ous compound of Epsom salts and sulphur; which were palms. As we passed down it, our and I could not but think it was very natural hungry camels devoured the thorny bushes, that the people “ murmured against Moses, particularly the luxuriant thistle, with great saying, what shall we drink?" It would be zest. Turning out of Wady Ghurundel, into a amusing, were it not so serious a subject, to side valley (Wady Usait) on the left, we halted; read the accounts of the anxious inquiries and here, amid some young palm trees, our travellers make of the Arabs, for the tree Arabs with their hands scooped out the sand which the Lord showed to Moses, and which two or three feet deep in different places, and he commanded him to throw into the waters, found plenty of sweet water. Here then, filled and they became sweet. These inquirers for- up by drifting sands, were the wells of Elim; get, that the tree was the symbol of the divine and I doubt not, that an abundance of good power that rectified the fountain: to some extent water could be obtained here by sinking wells, it was a natural symbol containing a principle and protecting them from the drifting sand.