Twistwater: Beating Water Out of Rocks

"Twistwater" is the name of the place where Moses performed one of his miracles.  After eighty years of roaming through the desert, his people started to complain once again about the hardships of the journey. Just before the promised land they were losing their faith in God and their motivation to go any further. To satisfy their thirst in the dryness of the desert, Moses beat water out of a rock. Unfortunately for Moses he did not make clear that it was not he, but God who made the miracle happen. For this, he was punished by being denied to lead his people into the promised land. From the place he had beaten the rock, he had to watch his people entering the promised land without him.

 

The role of Moses as mediator (1)

The story pictures him as a mediator through which miracles happen. When he forgets to attribute his miracle to God, and presents himself as the originator, he gets punished. He does not let the miracle happen, but performs it.

 

The idea of religious conviction (2) 

His people do not trust in the journey they have to follow, even before reaching the promised land they need magical rituals to strengthen their faith. With this they prefer the physical over the immaterial. They give in to their earthly needs and worship only what they witness with their eyes.  

 

The (shifting) meaning of the word twistwater (3)

The word twistwater is a Dutch word that is used as a translation of  the word “Meribah”. When this word is taken as an English word its meaning changes. In Dutch one of the meanings of 'twist' is dispute or contention, but in English it is more closely related to spinning, or turning.

 

1 A role model for artists

2 Transcending the physical

3 Looking at things from a different side