Mara was the place the Israelites arrived at, thirsty after deliverance and a long walk to freedom and when they drink the water it is bitter. God takes them on a long journey into the wilderness where He would teach them about their identity and His provision. Naomi is simply recalling the same taste that the Israelites had in their mouth when they had been delivered only to experience dissapointment. They were thirsty but could not drink. That feeling of Mara…that if you were dehydrated, hot, weary, extremely thirsty and your mouth of water tastes revolting and you can’t drink it and you have nothing to take the taste out of your mouth. This same taste is what we taste when we taste disappointment. We lose perspective and our perception of reality clouds what God is up to and being able to see His hand at work.
Naomi has returned to the house of bread in a time of plenty, she has a committed and loyal daughter in law who would link her to the Christmas story and the promised Messiah yet she could not see it or feel it or hear it or taste it but all she could taste was disappointment and emptiness. We don’t hear from these other women until later in the story.
Naomi and her husband make the choice to leave Bethlehem but when grief and loss hit and bitterness sets in…it is God’s fault. This is so me except I would be too proud to actually say it and articulate it so clearly. I don’t want to be someone that doesn’t realise I am struggling with disappointment and have allowed bitterness to take root in my heart and let it grow. I want a strategy for dealing with disappointment and bitterness so that it doesn’t destroy my heart and the lives of those around me.