We have a song of praise and celebration after the Lord delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians. It is led by Moses and the entire congregation of Israel sang this song to the Lord according to vs.1. It is a song of triumph and a song of celebration which recognized the feat done by the Lord to overcome the powerful nation of Israel.
Starting at vs.20 we see Miriam is attributed as the one who led the people with tambourine and dance. You did get that, right? Miriam led the people of Israel in a dance with the tambourine and the people joined in. It was the first example of contemporary worship that we have in Scripture. That is a bit of a joke, but we definitely do not see the people of Israel seated in their pews as Miriam is dancing while celebrating his conquest. I can see the entire nation up and moving about grateful for what God had done for them.
Then just as quickly as they are celebrating, we find them complaining because there is no water. There was water but it was Marah. Remember reading Ruth and when Naomi returned with her daughter in law she said do not call me anything but Marah, for she was bitter for all that she had lost. Here Moses is able to use a piece of wood to make the water potable. It is a miracle and not something that I am going to try to explain away. Some people like to spend a lot of time explaining exactly what it was that turned the water sweet. I’m content to say that it was the Lord.
As the Lord leads the people of Israel he promises them that they shall not suffer any of the plagues that the people of Egypt had suffered. It is a similar promise that is made after the flood to Noah and his family. I will not cause this to happen again. God is gracious and kind and abounding in steadfast love.