The ambiguity of water (Wis 11:5-11:8)

“Through the very things

By which their enemies were punished,

They received benefit in their need.

Instead of the fountain

Of an ever-flowing river

Stirred up with blood,

Defiled with blood,

You gave them abundant water unexpectedly.

Instead of a rebuke for the decree

To kill the infants,

You gave them abundant water unexpectedly.

They showed by their thirst at that time

How you punished their enemies.”

We have here a reflection on the role of water. Just as water punished the Egyptians, it saved the Israelites in the wilderness. Water destroyed the Egyptians as they crossed the Red Sea that was stirred up and defiled with blood. Their infants were killed. However, the Israelites received water (ὕδωρ) unexpectedly. In their thirst, they saw how their enemies had been punished.