Now we begin to get serious about pushing against the establishment to bring release to the captives.
The Nile River, the lifeblood of Egypt, is turned to blood.
If you can imagine this Bronze Age civilization being reduced to digging for water when they have always had so much at their disposal. What would it have been like for the common Egyptian?
No one in that time period would have considered slavery to be unethical. Certainly no one wanted to be a slave but the common citizen didn't speculate on the fact that they enjoyed luxuries at the expense of others.
Furthermore, this display of power would have caused them to doubt their own deities. In Egypt, Hapi was the god of the Nile who was sometimes referred to as the "Lord of the fishes and birds of the marshes." When Exodus mentions the fact that "the fish in the river died" in verse 21, this is not only an economic hardship but a crisis of faith.
Moses is showing Pharaoh that God is greater than Hapi.
|The disruption of fresh water still effects livelihoods today.|
When the Egyptian magicians perform the same feat of turning the water into blood, I can't help but imagine Pharaoh thinking, "It's already bloody water. Can't you turn it back?"
Just as the people of Egypt took their water source for granted, it makes me wonder how many of the basic necessities I take for granted today? Let us be in prayer for those who do not have fresh water to drink and for all regions looking for an end to their drought.
Photo by Marcello Casal Jr/Agência Brasil [CC BY 3.0 br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons